The Bahariya formation of the Western Desert is characterized as dirty sandstone with high clay content. It is highly laminated (streaks of 20 to 50 ft spread over a 200-to 300-ft column), has poor permeability in most cases, and has low to normal reservoir pressure variance. Many of the wells are shutin because of very poor productivity, and those that do produce with artificial lift do so with very little recovery. In general terms, these are considered to be marginal wells and not worthy of particular attention.
A careful review of the field suggested a possible benefit from implementing hydraulic fracturing treatments. It was, however, not a simple case of just applying hydraulic fracturing treatment to every well, but required proper well screening, thorough log analysis, calculating and validating mechanical rock properties, and enhanced 3D fracture modeling for a successful campaign. Maintaining sustained production was equally essential to the project because damage to fracture conductivity and proppant flowback after a fracturing treatment can easily erode the financial benefits. One of the enhancements implemented was a proprietary liquid resin coating (LRC) of the proppants to control proppant flowback and to act as a fracture conductivity endurance agent.
This paper discusses such treatments and the methodology applied on a recent 14-well fracturing campaign. The production results have been impressive and will serve as good guidelines for other operators who may be facing similar challenges in the North Africa region and elsewhere.