Post-production performance after hydraulic fracturing has been studied for decades. Most of the issues that arise are related to drainage area and low pore pressure after the fracture is created. The goal of hydraulic fracturing is to always try to maintain the original reservoir pressure while still providing the best geometry possible. Treatment options vary, depending on the pressure and capacity of the formation to return fluids pumped to minimize face damage.

Some tight-gas wells respond very well to new, improved fracturing techniques, and proppant-carrying fluids have been continuously modified to reduce damage in the formation. But, for some wells, such as the gas fields in the Burgos basin in North Mexico—located in the North-East area of the country and bordered with South Texas in the USA—problems still persist.

This is especially problematic in unconventional gas reservoirs, such as ultralow-permeability or tight-gas sands. When fracturing, the damage mechanism must be mitigated to help prevent fracture face damage. By reducing fracture face damage caused by the use of conventional surfactants, which absorb rapidly within the first few inches and result in fluid phase trapping, relative permeability, and wettability issues, substantially increased regained permeability can be achieved in unconventional reservoirs, with the primary purpose using surfactant-reducing surface and capillary tension.

This study discusses revised operations where a novel microemulsion (ME) surfactant was used, the fluid recovery that occurred during the cleanout process, and the hydrocarbons production a few months after the stimulation. Also, these wells were compared, as much as possible, to those that received a conventional treatment. Results demonstrate exceptional water recoveries compared with conventional ME surfactant treatments.

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