The Barik formation is a low-permeability conventional tight-gas reservoir, in Block 61 in the Sultanate of Oman, comprised of a series of interbedded sandstone and mudstone (shale) layers. To achieve the most efficient and economic development of this formation sequence, the wells require the application of massive hydraulic fracturing. Such an approach was developed and deployed during the Appraisal stage of the programme and a considerable effort was placed in ensuring that the fracture height was contiguous, resulting in an effective drainage across all layers of the Barik formation. This approach was then encapsulated in the Full Field Development (FFD) planning Basis of Design (BoD) and was established as the approach to be taken throughout FFD.

Until the field development was well underway, a single fracture treatment had proven sufficient to stimulate the entire Barik reservoir. However, as the development moved into the Southern area of the field, a substantial thickening of the Barik sequence was encountered and with this change successful complete vertical propped fracture coverage became much more challenging to achieve in an effective and repeatable manner. This paper demonstrates the approaches that were subsequently taken with the fracture design, the fracturing fluid selection and the fracture perforation strategy to address this issue and restore the achievement of complete fracture/formation coverage.

Throughout the paper a number of examples will be presented that demonstrate the issues and effects that arose with the thickening of the Barik formation. The paper will then go on to examine how these effects were identified, what surveillance was used and the various characteristics that were displayed and how they were inferred. It will examine how the various issues were addressed, what changes were made to the fracturing strategy and demonstrate, through direct results, the outcomes that were subsequently achieved.

This paper will focus on some of the principal issues that can arise when moving a developing fracture BoD in a laminated sequence into a more thickly developed environment with more extensive height and bulkier sands. The paper will provide a number of detailed examples of the issues themselves, and describe the detrimental and impactful effects that they may have on fracture coverage and hence well productivity and EUR. Additionally, the paper will describe the approaches that can be used in order to successfully address these effects. The paper will clearly demonstrate that when such considerations are taken into account that a successful suite of outcomes can be achieved.

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