Parametric study of fracture treatment parameters for ultra-tight gas reservoirs

Kelvin Abaa, John Yilin Wang, Mku Thaddeus Ityokumbul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Tight gas reservoirs are expected to contribute significantly to the gas and energy supply all over the world. However, the productivity of tight gas wells, especially in the ultra-tight formations, is often lower than expected. One of the needed improvements in reservoir stimulation technology is in the advancement of fracturing fluids and techniques that can help create long and highly conductive fractures and reduce phase trapping at the face of the fracture. Introduction of aqueous-based fluids in ultralow permeability sands during hydraulic fracturing decreases the effective gas permeability and ultimate gas recovery. Unfortunately most fracture fluids currently deployed are aqueous based owing to their ease of preparation and low cost. This article aims to investigate the effect of different fracture fluid systems and fracture treatment parameters and then determine the one that achieves a balance of minimal fluid retention, optimal fracture geometry and low cost for ultra-tight gas reservoirs. In this article, a dataset of reservoir properties, petrophysical properties, and fracture treatment parameters has been developed based on a complete review of published geological and engineering data of ultra-tight gas reservoir. Then based on numerical parametric studies, the effect of pertinent design factors on hydraulic fracture propagation and geometry is quantified with a fracture simulator. The factors investigated include volumetric injection rate, gel loading and proppant size. Parametric variations of seven different injection rates, seven different fracture fluids, and three different proppants were studied. A final fracture treatment that achieves maximum fracture length, fracture width and proppant conductivity is determined to be optimal. Results of simulations show that optimal fracture geometry and fracture conductivity based on pumping limitations are obtained at an injection rate of 100 barrels per minute, a gel loading of 50 pounds per thousand gallons of linear gel and a proppant size of 20/40 mesh sand. This article brings new understanding of fracture behavior in ultra-tight gas reservoirs and serves as a guide for improved hydraulic fracturing practices in ultra-tight gas basins throughout the USA. The new knowledge obtained will help engineers design better fracture treatments and production strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Parametric study of fracture treatment parameters for ultra-tight gas reservoirs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this