With the increase in demand for energy, natural gas from tight reservoirs is being targeted abundantly around the globe by different operators using hydraulic fracture technology. Reducing the environmental footprint associated with hydraulic fracturing is a priority in optimizing this technology. An environment friendly, polymer-free fracturing fluid has shown remarkably consistent results, following multiple deployments in Saudi Arabian tight gas formations.

Alongside laboratory tests, field studies such as fracture geometry and conductivity, ecological impact and well productivity were investigated over several wells targeting the same formation. The main objective was to test the field performance consistency of the fluid. Also, integrated post treatment results were collected as case histories for comparison to offset wells.

Flowback data indicated significant reduction in fracture cleanup time with 95% retrieved fluids compared to 40-60% in polymer-based fluid. Therefore, improvement in early production response was noticed due to higher retained permeability and proppant pack was left damage-free due to minimal residue left inside the formation. The post treatment reports indicated improved fracture conductivity and geometry containment in the pay zone compared to offset wells that used conventional polymer-based fluids. Additionally, because of its enhanced viscoelastic nature, the fluid system exhibited excellent proppant transport capacity at low viscosity without compromising fracture half length.

The environmentally friendly surfactant-based fracturing fluid demonstrated superior performance in tight sand formations of Saudi Arabia, especially while stimulating zones in close proximity to water zones where contamination must be prevented. This paper will also discuss the potential of further development to this fluid such as improving its overall efficiency that could mark future technological advances in the petroleum industry.

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