Paving the road for hydraulic fracturing in Paleozoic tight gas reservoirs in Abu Dhabi

  • Asim Alzarouni

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This study contributes to the ongoing efforts of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to improve gas production and supply in view of increasing demand and diminishing conventional gas reservoirs in the region. The conditions of most gas reservoirs with potentially economical volumes of gas in Abu Dhabi are tight abrasive deep sand reservoirs at high temperature and pressures. Thus it inevitably tests the limit of both conventional thinking and technology. Accurate prediction of well performance is a major challenge that arises during planning phase. The primary aim is to determine technical feasibility for the implementation of the hydraulic fracture technology in a new area. The ultimate goal is to make economical production curves possible and pave the road to tap new resource of clean hydrocarbon energy source. The formation targeted in this study is characterized by quartzitic sandstone layers and variably colored shale and siltstones with thin layers of anhydrites. It dates back from late Permian to Carboniferous age. It forms rocks at the lower reservoir permeability ranging from 0.2 to less than 1 millidarcy (mD). When fractured, the expected well flow in Abu Dhabi offshore deep gas wells will be close to similar tight gas reservoir in the region. In other words, gas production can be described as transient initially with high rates and rapidly declining towards a pseudo-steady sustainable flow. The study results estimated fracturing gradient range from 0.85 psi/ft to 0.91 psi/ft. In other words, the technology can be implemented successfully to the expected rating without highly weighted brine. Hence, it would be a remarkable step to conduct the first hydraulic fracturing successfully in Abu Dhabi which can pave the road to tapping on a clean energy resource. The models predicted a remarkable conductivity enhancement and an increase of production between 3 to 4 times after fracturing. Moreover, a sustainable rate above 25 MMSCFD between 6 to 10 years is predicted based on a single well model. The forecasts also show that most of the contribution will come from one zone and therefore optimized operational cost can be achieved in future. Once pressures during a diagnostic injection test are known prior to the main hydraulic fracturing treatment, precise calibration will enable accurate design of fracture geometry and containment for full field development. The feasibility of hydraulic fracture is based on available offset well data. The biggest two challenges in Abu-Dhabi at this stage are high depths and high temperatures as well as offshore conditions. For this reason, a higher well pressure envelop and fracturing string installation is envisaged as a necessity in a future well where unknown tectonic stress could result in higher fracturing load. Finally the study recommends drilling a candidate well designed for the implementation of hydraulic fracturing. This well should consider required pressure rating for the fracturing string. Thermal design considerations will also play a role during production due to high temperature. A dipole or multi pole sonic log from the same well is essential to confirm in situ stresses. The planned well will be in the crest at close proximity to studied offset wells to minimize uncertainty where tested wells produced dry gas and to avoid drilling to watered zones down the flank of the reservoir.
    Date of AwardDec 2012
    Original languageAmerican English
    SupervisorShawket G. Ghedan (Supervisor)


    • Applied sciences
    • Abu Dhabi
    • Gas reservoirs
    • United Arab Emirates
    • Petroleum engineering
    • Energy
    • 0765:Petroleum engineering
    • 0791:Energy

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