Hydraulic fracturing is used to produce economic quantities of hydrocarbons from lower permeability or “tight” reservoirs. Hydraulic fracturing enhances permeability networks within the rock, enabling hydrocarbons to flow more freely into the wellbore.
Athabasca has rapidly advanced its knowledge in the Alberta Deep Basin, with respect to understanding the fracture characteristics of these unconventional reservoirs. An evolution of the Company’s application of hydraulic fracturing techniques has yielded strong production results.
Fracture networks are created by pumping fluids under pressure into these unconventional oil and gas reservoirs. The type of fracture fluid used is dependent upon the reservoir’s geological characteristics. ‘Frac’ fluid is generally water-based, and is often pumped into the reservoir along with a gas (nitrogen or carbon dioxide), gels, foams and other additives.
Sand is also pumped into the formation during the hydraulic fracturing process. Sand or “proppant” is injected after the initial volume of fluid, and works to prop open the fracture networks created during the hydraulic fracturing process. Fracture stages are placed along the horizontal wellbore at regular intervals, stimulating the reservoir multiple times along the well’s trajectory and increasing the rate of flow of hydrocarbons into the wellbore.
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