An increasing percentage of worldwide hydrocarbon production is being achieved from mature fields, as new discoveries prove elusive and technically challenging to bring to market. In this environment, robust and efficient enhanced recovery from these mature assets will play an increasingly important role in production operations. Often used as an initial completion approach or selective remedial stimulation method, hydraulic fracturing is increasingly applied as the method of choice to bolster and improve such declining fields to restore and maintain higher production levels.

Hydraulic fracturing is finding increasing application as a widespread approach to mature field redevelopment. This paper will explore the various factors that should be considered when proposing hydraulic fracturing for this purpose, given the very specific nature and condition of mature fields.

Techniques that can be applied to determine various aspects of mature field fracturing operations will be discussed, together with approaches related to all areas of fracturing implementation; this will provide the reader with an ability to perform a first-pass assessment of the pros and cons of various approaches. In addition, there will be significant discussion related to the potential pitfalls associated with ill-prepared and inappropriate campaigns.

Case histories will provided examples of mature field redevelopment utilising hydraulic fracturing as the principal approach. Candidate selection and pre- and post-frac production behaviour will be discussed, together with the lessons learned and improvements realised during the execution of these programmes.

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