First Successful Proppant Fracturing Treatment in Cretaceous Carbonate formation in Kuwait

Nagarkoti, Malvika (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Pooniwala, Shahvir (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Alam, Anwar (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Anthony, Elred (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-Othman, Mohammad (Kuwait Oil Company) | Aloun, Samir (Kuwait Oil Company) | Buhamad, Ali (Kuwait Oil Company) | Ashkanani, Meshari (Kuwait Oil Company)



Proppant fracturing treatments in sandstone formations are routinely executed in Kuwait, however when carbonate formations are the target, acid fracturing is the preferred treatment method. It has been observed that acid fracturing delivers a high initial production however maintaining a sustainable production rate is a challenge in the tight cretaceous carbonate formations in Kuwait. A production enhancement technique needed to be identified in order to deliver more sustainable production and maximize recovery from these carbonate formations.

Based on global experience it was proposed that proppant fracturing can deliver more sustainable production rate as compared to acid fracturing.

Proppant fracturing had been previously attempted on two occasions in Kuwait, however both the attempts were evaluated as not being operationally successful. Hence prior to executing the first successful proppant fracturing treatment in carbonates in Kuwait a thorough study was undertaken to identify and mitigate the possible risks.

The cretaceous carbonate formations in North Kuwait are relatively shallow and are known to be tight and highly ductile. Due to the ductility of these formations, proppant placement and reduction of the fracture conductivity due proppant embedment were thought to be significant risks. During the course of the project, detailed core analysis and testing was conducted using formation core samples to ascertain the severity of this risk.

Successful execution of this hydraulic fracturing treatment was pivotal in order to plan the future production strategies from these formations. A cautious approach needed to be followed as proppant placement was of paramount importance. Different strategies were incorporated in the fracturing workflow to ensure the success of the treatment and to maximize data collection in order to optimize future treatments and well placement. Multiple mini-fracs, temperature logs and pumping of novel non-radioactive tracer proppant were some of the techniques utilized.

During execution various decisions were taken real-time to ensure success of the treatment. It was observed that all parameters were consistent with the results of the core and laboratory testing conducted during the initial phase of the project which lead to optimizing the proppant placement.

The success of this treatment has been a game changer resulting in more wells being identified as candidates for proppant fracturing in this field.

Now that proppant placement has been established the objective of future treatments is to optimize fracture designs, fluids and treatment schedules which will help the future production enhancement strategy for this field.

Lessons learnt from this first successful well will be applied to future wells planned in carbonate reservoirs in Kuwait, in order to maximize recovery.