Non-Radioactive Detectable Proppant First Applications in Algeria for Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments Optimization
Bir Rebaa Nord (BRN) and Bir Sif Fatima (BSF) fields, operated by Groupement Sonatrach-Agip (GSA, a JV between ENI and Sonatrach), are located in the Berkine basin in north-eastern Algeria. These fields are characterized by oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs with low to medium petro-physical properties. During the development phase, to counteract the effect of pressure depletion, water and gas injection was implemented for reservoir pressure maintenance. In addition, due to the increasing water cut, artificial lift systems were employed to effectively produce these fields.
Hydraulic fracturing has been implemented in GSA since year 2000 to improve well performance, both in terms of productivity and injectivity for oil producers and water injectors respectively. The fracturing process has been improved over the years regarding operational procedures, enhanced reservoir knowledge and implementation of new technologies towards resolving the many uncovered challenges. Changes to the perforation strategy, fracturing fluids formulation, rock mechanics studies and design of proppant schedules are examples of enhancement to the fracturing practice that have been implemented in the recent years.
One of the uncharted matters in GSA, coming out from the post-job data re-processing, was the necessity of a precise characterization of the hydraulic fractures vertical coverage. The presence of several sandstone layers with different properties brought questions if the fracture had grown into an unwanted zone or may had not properly covered the entire target formation. Moreover, fracture height is an essential parameter for frac models calibration. Its accurate determination drastically reduces the margin of error in treatment net pressure matching, helping to more precisely established fracture half-length and width, stress profile and, last but not least, achieving a calibrated model for future operations in the same area.
This paper describes the successful implementation on two water injector wells of a novel non-radioactive detectable proppant for the first time in Algeria. The taggant material within the proppant has been located by comparing the pulsed neutron capture cased-hole logging passes registered before and after the hydraulic fracturing treatments. The detectable compound does not affect proppant properties and, in addition, its non-radioactive nature reduces the timing for materials delivery and eliminates the HSE risks linked to other tracing methods.
The pulsed neutron measurements evaluation provided valuable information regarding fractures confinement, avoidance of contact with undesired layers and possible presence of cement channeling. Furthermore, combined with sonic logs and cores data, it helped refining the geo-mechanical model for future interventions design in the same reservoirs.