The Kenshen tight gas field, located on the northern margin of the Tarim basin, western China, has extreme reservoir conditions of an ultra_depth reservoir (6500 to 8000 m) with low porosity (2 to7%), low matrix permeability (0.001 to 0.5 md), high temperature (170 to 190°C), and high pore pressure (110-120 MPa). Those conditions result in high completion costs and a significant difference in individual well production rates; with only one-third of wells drilled meets expectations. Previous studies focused on natural fracture(NF) and attempted to classify reservoir qualities based on the density of NF. Unfortunately, some NFs were closed or cemented by clay or calcite, and it is hard to distinguish open NF from closed NFs using well images in oil-based mud, which is widely used in this tight gas field for reservoir protection. Thereby, no positive correlation between NFs density and productions has been identified, even with the same stimulation treatment.
In this study, a comprehensive geological study was conducted to find a new way of characterizing the effectiveness of NF. First, the initial and development stages of NFs were recontructed through a tectonic activity study. Two stages were detected and showed different strikes. Second, petroleum system modeling technology was applied to simulate source rock maturation and gas migration, which revealed that gas generated in the Jurassic source rock migrated to the Cretaceous reservoir formation through faults activated in the same period as the late stage of NFs development. NFs developed earlier were closed or cemented by calcite of later deposition; those at late stage were open and effective for gas charge. Also in this study, Advanced analyses of borehole images indicated an alternative way to delineate NFs developed at different stages using geometry (i.e, crossed NFs shall include those ones developed at later stage). Parallel NFs with its development unidentified can be classified through the intersection angle of fracture strike and maximum stress direction. The smaller the intersection angle is, the easier it is for stimulation and alos the higher for the well production. Based on this study, we have divided reservoirs in the study area into three classes: class 1, reservoir with crossed NFs; class 2, reservoir with fractures of small intersection angle; class 3, reservoir with fractures of large intersection angle. This innovative reservoir classification through NF geometry is currently used in the field to determine formation stimulation method. Class 1 reservoir can benefit from acidizing alone with low completion cost. Class 2 reservoir of should be hydraulically fractured with acid. Class 3 reservoir of should be fractured with sand and proppant sand to achieve economical production.
Reservoir classification with NFs geometry had been applied successfully to guide stimulation design in the Keshen tight gas reservoirs. It is a practical and feasible way to choose the most appropriate stimulation treatment method to optimize well performance and avoid restimulation to reduce costs for this extreme type of tight gas field in western China.