A Geoengineering Long March to Success: An Overview of the Development of Keshen Gas Field in Kucha Foreland Basin

Jiang, Tongwen (PetroChina) | Xian, Chenggang (China Petroleum University) | Yang, Xiangtong (PetroChina) | Huang, Yongjie (Schlumberger) | Zhang, Yang (PetroChina) | Pan, Yuanwei (Schlumberger)



Significant challenges meeting together make Keshen gas field in Kucha foreland basin become unique from geosciences, engineering and economics points of view. These challenges generally link to harsh geography, super deep (>6500m TVD), thick conglomerates (up to 3000m), heterogeneous salt-gypsum laminations (up to 2000m), complex thrust-nappe structure, HTHP, and ultra-tight (matrix permeability < 0.1 md). This paper gives a comprehensive review how the geoengineering Long March assists to successfully develop this field.

A geoengineering team was established to persistently attack on this world-class championship with high-level planning since 2012. Specific research and development of engineering technologies and solutions for data acquisition, drilling, completion, stimulation, testing and production and studies were taking place in parallel. To ensure seamless integration from geosciences and engineering to operation, a five-year geoengineering study was proactively and progressively executed which includes four major steps with respective objectives including 1) understanding fluid distribution and producibility, 2) well production breakthrough and enhancement, 3) optimization of well stimulation and economics, and 4) optimization of field management including surprising sanding problem.

It was recognized three elements and their interactions are critical for production enhancement which are natural fracture (NF) characteristics, production controlling mechanism, and stimulation optimization under super deep, HPHT and extremely high stress conditions. The bottleneck for study was poor seismic quality due to super depth, pre-salt, and complex thrust-nappe structures. Hence the team established comprehensive methodologies with iterative improvements to overcome this bottleneck. Using regional structural geology, outcrops, cores, images and logs as inputs, structure restoration and geomechanics simulators were combined to perform structure restoration, paleo-stresses, and in-situ stresses and eventually 3D NF prediction. To understand production mechanism, analysis of geological and geomechanical factors, NF and stress relationships, single parameter and multiple variables, and transient and production performance were integrated. Big core studies were conducted to understand fracability, NF and hydraulic fracture (HF) interactions, and selections of HF fluids. Based upon, a stimulation optimization approach was implemented which included engineered completion designs, HF modeling and parametric studies, post-frac analysis and optimization, and time effects through high-resolution coupled geomechanics and reservoir simulation. All efforts with evolving knowledge were eventually developed as an interactive expert system to guide systematic stimulation optimization, sanding management and development optimization.

With increasing understanding of reservoir, and implementing innovative solutions, it was enabled to drill wells at optimal locations with less time, simplified well configuration, and less constraints on stimulation and production operations. By 2017, well construction time was reduced by half, natural productivity of wells was doubled, productivity after stimulation was tripled, and overall cost of wells was largely reduced. The success achieved would boost confidence and lighten on development of other challenging fields.