Carbonate reservoir with low permeability is developed using fracturing technology to effectively stimulate the reservoir for a higher productivity. However, as the carbonate reservoir features extreme heterogeneity, not every fracture is created equally as is obtainable through acidizing fracturing or using proppant. The objective of this study is to help make the decision among acid fracturing or proppant fracturing, to achieve an economically and operationally feasible treatment through extensive research of field cases on critical factors and numerical simulation.

An ideal fracturing method of a carbonate reservoir should yield a high conductive fracture with a potential for long production duration under depletion scenario within an economic limit. We first review real field cases to identify critical parameters affecting fracture geometry and productivity; then we validate and quantify their individual effectiveness using 3D synthetic models with numerical simulation. In the simulation work, both treatments are evaluated by simulating the production of the reservoir for 1,500 days post treatment. Results are compared for different reservoir parameter variations including porosity, permeability, temperature, depth and young's modulus. Simulation of the field is continued for 1,500 days after the treatment to see the effect of the production enhancement for both types of treatment. This is also done to include long term loss of fracture conductivity and its effect on the overall production. Fracture geometry from each case is also analyzed and compared to the base case scenario.

Even though hydraulic fracturing and acidizing technologies have been the dominant stimulation methods in unconventional resources and many variants have been developed, there is still no well-defined guideline which can help an operator to select the stimulation techniques suitable for their particular fields. This paper focuses on factors influencing decision making on the stimulation of carbonate reservoirs based on reservoir characterization. The advantages and limitations of proppant fracturing and acid fracturing are compared based on field applications, which can enable an operator to make quick and informed decision on which stimulation should be used. Numerical effort confirmed and quantified our observations. Comparisons have been drawn on different types of proppant and acid treatments and their effectiveness on the target reservoir. The study eventually comes up with identifying main factors of reservoir for treatment selection and recommendations are presented from these findings that which type of reservoir is best suited for which type of treatment.

The novelty of the study is summary of previous field cases with a clear guideline on making decision in carbonate reservoir stimulation. As a further extension to this study, PVT data can also be included to see the extent of reservoir fluid change effect on the outcome of the treatment.

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