Tight gas reservoirs in the Middle East are renowned for their extremely low porosity and low permeability along with their high heterogeneity. Over the past few decades, hydraulic fracturing has gained significant attention, particularly to stimulate such formations which were previously considered uneconomical and inefficient.
Even though over a million hydraulic fracturing operations were conducted across the globe, they are still associated with a considerable amount of risk. Studies have shown that an effective, efficient and economical approach coupled with tailored water management strategies are critical for their successful development, especially in arid regions such as the Middle East.
In this research, a realistic field model was constructed and advanced to analyze hydraulic fracture propagation in the presence of natural fractures for a candidate Middle Eastern tight gas reservoir. This flexible simulation model allowed to investigate, identify and characterize the key fracture design parameters that influenced fracture geometry for the candidate field. This further allowed to categorize and propose a unique tailored workflow to highlight the governing parameters for efficient water management strategies for arid regions such as the Middle East. In addition, the results have been extended to current field practices and cases.
The constructed model can greatly assist in streamlining hydraulic fracturing operations and water management strategies in regions such as the Middle East, where resources such as water and proppants can be considered as constraints. In addition, the investigation further highlights the strong need and potential opportunities for the key players in the region to leverage their technology for an efficient water management value chain. The variables and the workflow presented in this study further demonstrates how there is no bespoke solution to a ‘best approach’ in such regions. However, a workflow identifying the key dominant categories, such as a tailored one proposed in this study, may assist in the creation of more efficient and practical strategies while contributing to the overall process chain.