New Hydraulic-Fracturing Process Enables a Low-Risk, Operationally Efficient Solution While Maximizing Stimulation Effectiveness in Unconventional Reservoirs

Beaman, Daniel James (Halliburton Co.) | Mcneil, Fraser (Halliburton)


Technological advances and improved operational efficiency have made unconventional resources around the globe far more lucrative for producers. The challenge in recovering hydrocarbons from unconventional resources is low permeability, making it essential that a cost-efficient fracture-stimulation treatment program be performed. However, while the wells being completed are economical, are operators truly capitalizing on their full potential?

The process of fracturing unconventional reservoirs has remained virtually unchanged in recent years. Stimulation treatments are pumped at high rates through multiple perforation clusters over a large interval and isolated using mechanical plugs. This poses several problems:

- Uncertainty of the number of fractures created.
- Uncertainty of proppant placement into fractures.
- Costly and time-consuming recovery from screenouts.
- Pumping plugs results in overflushing the near-wellbore.
- Treatment changes cannot be seen at the perforations until a casing volume is pumped.
- Increased cost, footprint, personnel, and hydraulic-horsepower (HHP) requirements.

This paper presents a high-rate coiled tubing (CT) fracturing technique that enables customized fracture treatments to help maximize stimulated reservoir volume (SRV) by manipulating flow rate and proppant concentration at the perforations in response to reservoir pressure. Therefore, every gallon of fluid and every pound of proppant can be used to effectively stimulate the formation. Recovery from screenouts is fast because of having coil in-hole, but the functionality of the process enables screenouts to be avoided all together. At the end of the treatment, the well is simply cleaned out, and the entire operation is completed with only one trip in hole and with no plugs to be drilled out. These benefits combined can maximize return on investment for the operator. This paper includes a side-by-side comparison of this technique with a conventional fracturing treatment, weighing risk, stimulation effectiveness, operational efficiencies, and cost savings.