The Abrar field in the Egyptian Western Desert produces mainly from the Abu Roash formation that is characterized as a complex, thin-bedded sequence with heterogeneous laminated siltstones. Hydraulic fracturing has traditionally been employed to produce hydrocarbons from these marginal reservoirs. This paper describes the application for the first time of a novel channel fracturing technique combined with rod-shaped proppant in selected production targets in the Abrar field. The channel fracturing technique introduces channels within the proppant pack that increase conductivity and effective half-length leading to increased productivity. Rod-shaped proppant when used as tail-in in fracturing treatments increases near-wellbore fracture conductivity and prevents proppant flowback due to its particular geometry.
Many sedimentary features of hydrocarbons in the Western Desert in Egypt are characterized as multi-layered, deltaic, thinly and tight laminated sandstones and siltstones consisting of sands with limited lateral and vertical extension with an average permeability of 1-3 mD and Young's modulus in the order of 2.5 – 3.0 million psi.
The channel fracturing technique was first introduced in the Egyptian Western Desert in late 2011. Since then several wells have been fractured using this technique and the production evaluation of these wells has been compared to offset wells fractured with conventional hydraulic fracturing techniques. Further, the application of rod-shaped proppant has provided excellent proppant flowback control as demonstrated by zero proppant flowback. Initial and long-term normalized production of the wells fractured with this technique increased significantly over offsets fractured conventionally. The positive results from implementation of this combined stimulation technique have led to a vigorous expansion of its utilization throughout Egypt's Western Desert area.