Abstract

This work builds on Bonapace et al. (2015), specifically discussing shale reservoir information related to several tight reservoirs in Argentina.

Hydraulic fracturing has been ongoing in Argentina since the 1960s. The first treatments were performed using oil-based fluids. Throughout the years, new water-based fluids were introduced, as well as alcohol-water mixture fluids to foams, based on the reservoir requirements, economics, and safety and environmental issues. Currently, more than 95% of hydraulic fractures performed in the country are performed using aqueous-based fluids.

In the last 10 years, exploration and development has begun for tight gas reservoirs and more recently several shale plays. To achieve commercial production, this type of reservoir requires extensive hydraulic fracturing applications which use large volumes of water. From 2004 to present, various exploration techniques have been performed in different reservoirs, such as tight formations at Lajas, Punta Rosada, Mulichinco (Neuquén Basin); Potrerillos (Cuyo Basin); D-129 (Golfo San Jorge Basin) and shale plays at Los Molles, Vaca Muerta, Agrio (Neuquén Basin), Cacheuta (Cuyo Basin), and D-129 (Golfo San Jorge Basin).

This paper discusses aspects of water logistics necessary during the well completion phase, fracture treatment designs applied within these various unconventional reservoirs, and laboratory studies performed on flowback and produced waters to help evaluate their potential for use and/or reuse. The primary focus here will be related to various parts of the water cycle for these projects.

  • Stimulation and water sources are presented as detailed information concerning the type of stimulation performed in these reservoirs, volume of water, treatment types, fracturing fluids, additives used, and physical-chemical characteristics of various freshwater sources used.

  • Logistics are discussed for water storage and transport for single and multiple well pads.

  • Reuse of flowback and formation water addresses laboratory testing of various flowback and formation water and/or blends (freshwater and flowback water), treated and untreated including:

    • Physico-chemical characteristics of water (flowback and produced) from various wells.

    • Formation sensibility testing with flowback water from various tight and shale formations and usage possibilities.

    • Impact on proppant packs of floculants generated in nontraditional waters at various pH values.

    • A new low-residue CMHPG-metal crosslinked fracturing fluid formulated using no traditional water, i.e., untreated with high total dissolved solids (TDS).

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