Proppant Fracture for Unconventional Carbonate Source Rock in Saudi Arabia

Topics: Carbonates
Fig. 1—Main stimulation chart, Tuwaiq Mountain formation.

A type of unconventional play currently being evaluated is a carbonate source rock with nanodarcy permeability and very low porosity. This paper will discuss the hydraulic-fracturing-stimulation design, execution, and evaluation for the first successful proppant-fracturing treatment in an unconventional carbonate source rock in Saudi Arabia. The successful two-stage treatment proved that proppant-fracturing techniques could be used to stimulate carbonate formations after modifying the stimulation design (specifically, the perforation strategy, fracturing fluids, and proppant type).


The operator has embarked on an -exploration-and-appraisal project to assess unconventional-resource potential in three geographic areas: northwest, South Ghawar, and East Ghawar. Hydraulic-fracturing techniques will be used to enhance production by connecting natural fissures and creating high-connectivity pathways through which gas can flow into the well. The initial focus is in the northwest and in the area of Ghawar. Initial knowledge building from similar plays in North America is being supplemented with internal technical studies and research programs to help solve geological and engineering challenges unique to Saudi Arabia and to locate specific wells planned for 2014.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 17765, “First Successful Proppant Fracture for Unconventional Carbonate Source Rock in Saudi Arabia,” by Nayef Ibrahim Al-Mulhim, SPE, Ali Hussein Al-Saihati, SPE, Ahmed M. Hakami, SPE, Moataz Al-Harbi, SPE, andKhalid Saeed Asiri, SPE, Saudi Aramco, prepared for the 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 10–12 December. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Proppant Fracture for Unconventional Carbonate Source Rock in Saudi Arabia

01 July 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 7


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