Augmented by recent activities in the oil and gas industry, it can be seen that an economical and efficient hydraulic fracturing job has become critical for the successful development of unconventional reservoirs. However, exploitation of unconventional reservoirs is heavily water-intensive as compared to conventional reservoirs. Given this concern, it is essential to reform how water is managed within the industry, especially in water scarce regions such as the Middle East.
In this study, a comprehensive investigation that deals with the quantification of changes with respect to variation in prime contributors within a traditional fracture design process is presented. This can assist to determine the distinct contributions of an element within fracture design parameters, as they are imperative to evaluate the nature of fracture propagation. After an extensive assessment, a set of natural fractures were introduced to the system and the system behavior was further investigated to identify their behavior and optimize resource management. Based on an iterative process, the results of the constructed simulation models were analyzed in depth and validated with field data.
Overall, the results indicate that for the given field conditions, fluid and proppant optimization are critical to achieve maximum recovery. The dominance of parameters such as fracture width, fracture length, proppant placement and Young’s Modulus are also illustrated in depth. To examine the associated response on long-term productivity, the results have been extended to current field practices and cases. A rough analysis was conducted in-house, on geological data from a candidate field in the Middle East. Findings shows the potential to optimize and reduce the required water for an operation by 1.3 million gallons. This further highlights the need to optimize and tailor an adaptable workflow, which is proposed in this study, for water scarce regions such as the Middle East.
In addition to ultimately assisting in verification of modern best practices, this investigative approach will create a paradigm for future studies within the Middle Eastern region to assist in a simplistic prediction of fracture propagation behavior and its associated response to optimize water usage. The results have also been extended along with comparisons to current field practices.