Application of Plasma Technology to Fracture Tight Formations

Muftah El-Naas, Abdulrazag Y. Zekri

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Tight formations are normally fractured using different fluids under high pressure to improve well permeability and consequently improve productivity. In this paper, a new sophisticated technique is proposed to treat tight formations, especially those containing large deposits of heavy oil. The technique consists of exposing the wellbore to an argon plasma jet to insure instantaneous and efficient heat transfer to the surrounding wellbore rocks. The high temperature associated with the plasma jet changes the basic properties of the rock resulting in a significant increase in its porosity and permeability. In this study the effect of high temperature on the carbonate rock porosity and permeability is investigated. Limestone rocks were subjected to high temperatures ranging from 800 to 1200°C. At temperatures beyond 600°C, the carbonate rock decomposes to form calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. TGA analysis of carbonate samples indicated that the rate of decomposition at atmospheric pressure depended mainly on reaction temperature. At low temperatures, the rate of reaction was so slow that only 5% of the carbonate converted to calcium oxide in a period of one hour, while at 1000°C complete conversion was achieved in five minutes. The changes of the pore structure under different temperatures were also observed using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Porosity & permeability analysis of heated carbonate samples indicated that the porosity and permeability increased by 100% and 4500% respectively at 1000°C.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2001
EventProceedings of the 2001 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Sept 30 2001Oct 3 2001


OtherProceedings of the 2001 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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