Integrated Reservoir Delineation and Development of Deep, Tight Carbonates: Kuwait Case Study

Al-anzi, Ealian H.D. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Rao, Narhari Srinivasa (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-Ashwak, Samar (Kuwait Oil Company) | Kidambi, Vijay Kumar (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-ajmi, Neema Hussain (Kuwait Oil Company) | Rao, Jonna Dayakar (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-ateeqi, Khalid Abdullatif (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-Mayyas, Rawan (KOC) | Olderman, Allan Stefanic (Kuwait Oil Company) | Acharya, Mihira Narayan (Kuwait Oil Company) | Chakravorty, Sandeep (Schlumberger) | De Keyser, Thomas Lee


Deep, tight carbonate reservoirs of Pliensbachian, Sinemurian, and Hettangian Stages of the mid-Mesozoic Era are becoming very important in the continued pursuit of hydrocarbon prospects in North Kuwait. At present, a total of 21 wells have penetrated the targeted reservoir zones. Of these, 12 have been tested for hydrocarbon production covering a large area of about 1700 sq km. Further, six wells have produced oil and gas, with two deemed commercially successful.
The entire workflow to characterize these reservoirs is focused on delineating faults and associated fractures in individual wells. Detailed seismic study and volume curvature maps, revealed the existing fault and fracture corridors. Sub-seismic faults and subtle reverse faults with fractures were detected by log correlations and borehole image. Due to paucity of cores in these zones, descriptions of cuttings samples were used to identify faults and fracture zones, based on the presence of large euhedral crystals in the midst of cryptocrystalline dolomite, suggesting the percolation of hydrothermal fluids through fractures.
Many of the wells were drilled with an overbalanced mud system, leading to near-borehole porosity and permeability damage to the rock matrix and to the fracture system. Damage to natural fractures intersecting the well can prevent their detection, leading to missed potentially productive intervals. Mobility of hydrocarbons in these tight, fractured carbonate reservoirs depends upon (i) wells intersecting a natural fracture system that is sufficiently permeable and connected to a large volume of reservoir rock and (ii) the near-borehole area not having suffered irreversible damage due to overbalanced drilling. In summary, the proposed reservoirs are very tight carbonates (average 3 pu porosities) and a fracture play is considered to be the key factor in production. Acid stimulation produced multifold increases in productivity. Most of the wells were drilled overbalanced, which has negative impact on the producibility due to formation damage.