Projected future increases in Algerian gas production will, in part, come from more complex reservoirs within the Ahnet-Timimoun Basin; here, conventional quality reservoirs (>1 mD) are interbedded with volumetrically significant, low permeability sandstones (<1 mD) – the ‘tight gas’ sandstones. The challenge has been to develop a programme of work which will establish reserves in this sub-millidarcy resource; on balance, the results of this evaluation programme are positive.
The main tight gas sections are of Lower Devonian age. Grain rimming chlorite cement within thin intervals locally inhibited later pervasive quartz cementation; the quartz is the cause of reservoir degradation in the bulk of the sandstone resulting in permeabilities of <1 mD, and often in the microdarcy range. Generally, the Lower Devonian has a low density of faulting and fractures; open and closed fractures are observed in core, whilst mud losses suggest some fractures are conductive in the subsurface.
One of the main structures, the Teguentour Field, has been evaluated through the drilling of two new wells. The first of these wells (Teg-14) evaluated interbedded tight and conventional sandstones, whilst the second (Teg-15) was a dedicated tight sandstone completion involving an induced fracture programme.
The permeability range in the tight gas sandstones extends below the resolution of conventional porosity/permeability measurement; determination has been improved through mercury injection derived permeabilities. Water saturations determined from core and log suggest gas may be present in the low permeability rock. The presence of gas could not be confirmed by formation tester samples and thus dynamic data were required from the Teg-15 well which was completed within the tight sandstone interval; only the top 5 m was perforated to limit the possibility of a communication pathway down to conventional quality sandstones. After nitrogen lift, the well flowed gas to surface at c. 5 ×104 SCFD for several hours. The low leak-off coeffcient determined suggests there was no connection to a pervasive conductive fracture network, although fractures intersected by the wellbore may have contributed to flow. Also, large poro-elastic back stresses indicate that a connection to high matrix or fracture permeability was unlikely. On balance, the test is a positive indicator of gas presence in very low permeability/porosity rocks which may recharge associated conventional layers following suffcient drawdown.