Hydraulic fracturing technology is widely used to facilitate and enhance the gas recovery process from conventional and tight gas resources. Tight gas or unconventional reservoirs, that include very low permeability sandstones, carbonates, or shales, cannot be economically produced without hydraulic fracturing. Recently, much progress has taken place in the overall hydraulic fracturing procedures and the field implementations of advanced stimulation technology have produced good results. The proper selection of well trajectory, gel concentration, polymer loading, proppant type/size and concentration, perforation methods, locations for packer and frac port placement in a multistage fracturing assembly, number of fracture stages to cover the net pay, etc., have all contributed to successful stimulation and improved gas recovery. Even though stimulating gas reservoirs has become a routine application and much experience has been gained in this area, not all treatments are straightforward without problems and challenges. Unless a stimulation treatment is carefully designed and implemented, the post-stimulation results in moderate to tight reservoirs may not be encouraging, and can easily fall below expectation.
The most essential step to close the gap between expected results and actual well performance is to understand reservoir characteristics and its potential to produce at a sustained rate after a successful fracturing treatment. Overestimation of reservoir flow capacity and achieved fracture geometry will also over-predict well performance. This paper addresses the importance and impact of detailed reservoir characterization and superior stimulation processes on final well performance. Several field examples from Saudi Arabia’s gas reservoirs are presented in the paper showing the value of effective well planning, reservoir characterization, application of hydraulic fracturing, and proper cleanup.
The paper also illustrates the impact of drilling trajectory and wellbore reservoir connectivity on the proper placement of desired hydraulic fracture treatments and sustained gas production.