For the first time in North Africa, Shell Egypt and its joint venture partner Badr Petroleum Company (BAPETCO) have successfully performed hydraulic fracturing utilising foam to unlock significant volumes of natural gas trapped in the Apollonia Reservoirs in Egypt’s Western Desert.
According to a release from Shell, an extended well test program involving the six Apollonia wells has started.
Foam fracking uses carbon dioxide foam, rather than water, to create fissures in rock pores up to 20,000 times narrower than a human hair so that trapped or ‘tight’ gas molecules are released from the rocks.
This is a necessary process since tight gas does not flow freely into a well as with normal reservoirs. It is an established industry technology, which is conducted throughout the world in thousands of oil and gas wells every year. Without it, says Shell, much of the world’s unconventional oil and gas resources could not be produced.
“We are proud to bring advanced technology and innovation to our projects in Egypt”, said Mr. Jeroen Regtien, Chairman Shell Companies in Egypt. He added that “utilizing the combined capabilities of Shell Egypt and our joint venture partner, Badr Petroleum Company, Shell is continuing to invest in exploring and growing the hydrocarbon resources of Egypt in order to meet future energy challenges today.”
In the last decade, the global energy industry has discovered an abundance of natural gas. Of the world’s 250-year supply of gas estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), almost half is considered to be ‘unconventional’ and is contained in shales, tight sandstones and coal beds. Accessing these reserves would have been impossible through conventional production techniques – Shell has applied next generation exploration technology from its operations around the world in order to meet Egypt’s energy needs.