The success of organic shale development in
North America has brought a great interest in organic shale exploitation
internationally. The employed drilling and completion practices are based on
the techniques that have been successful in organic shale developments in US,
and hydraulic fracturing treatments are primarily dominated by slickwater owing
to its low cost and benefit in maximizing the stimulated reservoir volume
(SRV). However, the international shale plays are usually in high tectonic
stress environment, complex geological structures, and frequently contain natural
fractures, which are quite different from most of the plays in US with
relatively simple structure and more relaxed stress environment. These
complexities have resulted in additional challenges in both reservoir
understanding and completions, and ultimately production performance. Proppant
placement issues and casing deformation are commonly experienced in slickwater
treatments in these tectonically active plays, and production results were
below expectations in the early phase of the appraisal and development.
Numerous studies have been performed and revealed the stress sensitivity in all
the wells in which the fracture system starts to deteriorate when the effective
stress reaches the critical value, resulting in many perforation clusters not
contributing to production due to the loss of connectivity to the wellbore.
This leads to an important conclusion that fracture conductivity is equally
important as the SRV for high stress organic shale plays, and the treatment
strategy shall be recalibrated from current slickwater treatments that do not
provide sufficient fracture conductivity due to low proppant concentration as
well as challenges of proppant placement. The presentation provides an overview
of challenges in these organic shale plays with high tectonic stresses, and
highlights a few important findings and practices that would address the
problem and improve production performance.
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