The operator in West Africa embarked upon the "N" field offshore development in 2016 with 13 multi-stage horizontal wells being fracture-stimulated in Phase-I, with further wells being planned in next development phases. Due to the complex nature of the reservoir, which is a multilayered sandstone characterized by high heterogeneity and low permeability, wellbore connections are often located in structurally altered areas with high presence of faults. The unpredictable local re-orientation of the stresses has resulted in complications for the fracturing operations with multiple fractures being induced. This paper presents the challenges and solutions implemented for delivering more consistent fracturing execution and well productivity improvements.
The horizontal wells in the "N" field were hydraulically fractured using the "plug-and-perf" method with up to four fractured intervals. The quality of the near-wellbore connection and the observations of complex near-wellbore fracture geometries have hindered far-field proppant distribution and limited maximum proppant concentration inside the fracture. When fracturing this tight formation, controlling the opening of the pressure-dependent multiple fractures was identified as a critical issue. An engineering breakdown process and adapted frac strategy was implemented to minimize the multiple fractures generated at the formation.
For the early hydraulic fracture treatments performed, conservative treatment designs were applied in order to avoid premature screenout with the consequence of increasing operative time. Implemented solutions have shown to improve the near-wellbore connections and increase well productivity. The successful outcomes are attributed to the implementation of improved perforating strategies, the optimization of fracturing fluid performance, an engineered fracturing breakdown process, and the development of a frac decision tree for improved decision making. The hydraulic frac strategy has been tailored well-by-well depending on the reservoir conditions (e.g. faults, permeability thickness, contacts), and on the operational conditions interpreted from the diagnostic injection tests (e.g. near wellbore tortuosity, net pressure). The holistic implementation of these new concepts for hydraulic fracturing and field development have delivered positive production results beyond initial expectations.
For the horizontal wells intersecting the deep low permeability "D" reservoir, the risk of multiple fractures and influence of tortuosity have been diminished through corrective techniques and unique solutions applied for each fracturing stage.