Saudi Arabia has embarked on an exploration journey for its unconventional gas resources by recently targeting three different areas across the Kingdom. The targeted formations include tight sandstone, shale and tight carbonate with a permeability range of 200 nano-darcy to 0.1 MD. Extensive exploratory work has been performed in each of the areas through drilling vertical wells to identify and characterize potential targets through coring and open-hole logging along with flow potential testing of those targets after placing vertical fractures, which is beyond the scope of this paper. This paper highlights the progress of the unconventional program through drilling horizontal mono-bore wells and stimulating them with multistage fracturing using Plug-N-Perf technique. Three case studies, one from each targeted formations, are presented in this paper. The subjects addressed are:

  • Well completion including the selection of tubing and liner sizes, metallurgy and grades along with performing stress and thermal analysis simulating the expected loads during proppant fracturing to determine the maximum safe loads at each stage.

  • Proppant fracturing design including the number of stages and clusters, the spacing of stages, proppant type, size and volume, and fracturing fluid systems. The design is based upon the geomechanical and petrophysical interpretations of the openhole logs together with onsite calibrations and measurements.

  • Plug-N-Perf and fracture stimulation operations and execution

  • Fracture fluid clean up and flow testing

The paper summarizes the workflow adopted, the lessons learned and challenges overcome after drilling, completing, fracturing and flow testing of several unconventional gas wells in Saudi Arabia.

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