The Arta field in the Egyptian eastern desert produces mainly from the Nukhul formation that is characterized as a complex, thin-bedded sequence with heterogeneous laminated siltstone. Typical reservoirs show low-to-average permeability, low temperatures and moderately heavy oil in the 17-24 degree API range. Hydraulic fracturing is the technique traditionally employed to produce hydrocarbons from these marginal reservoirs. However, proppant flowback following the fracturing treatment is a major concern because of the relatively low formation stresses and high viscosity fluids, that results in damaged completions and impaired proppant pack permeability. Proppant flowback control therefore, became an essential requirement to maintain economical production rates from the field.

The rod-shaped proppant product was introduced in the Egyptian western desert in 2009. Published results illustrated excellent proppant flowback control as demonstrated by zero proppant flowback.1  Prior to this, several conventional proppant flowback techniques and products had been tested but they had limited application due to low reservoir temperatures. The rod-shaped proppants are inert and have no limitations on application from the reservoir or pumping equipment standpoint. Since introduction, more than 100 wells have been hydraulically fractured using this rod-shaped proppant product.

This paper describes the application of the rod-shaped proppant in the Arta field to control proppant flowback and enhance near-wellbore conductivity. The details of the evolution of rod-shaped proppant applications are presented for more than 20 wells in the Arta field, including the effects on the fractured well performance and production, as well as proppant flowback control. Results continue to demonstrate excellent proppant flowback control. In addition, cost savings result from reduced workovers, rig time savings and reduced damage to completion equipment and surface facilities.

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