Multiple-zone stimulation poses unique challenges for completion engineers. Achieving accurate fracture and proppant placement while performing an efficient and low-risk operation can be unattainable when using conventional stimulation methods. The uncertainty with respect to fracture and proppant placement is amplified when fracturing in ductile rock, where, to maximize access to the reservoir, more fractures must be placed along a given lateral. This increase in fracture intensity can result in an increased risk of unplanned well intervention and downtime, with more trips to run guns, as well as more plugs to drill out.
Stimulation techniques involving coiled tubing (CT) deliver improved efficiencies in horizontal completions because of the ability to instantly address contingencies by having CT in the hole throughout the operation. This method enables accurate fracture and proppant placement, as these operations typically focus on placing one fracture at a time. Isolation is commonly achieved using sand plugs, which have demonstrated to be especially effective; however, when fracture intensity is applied, sand plugs might not achieve the spacing required. This is because of the length of sand plugs often necessary to achieve isolation. Also, the time to set sand plugs can be considerable if they do not properly set the first time.
This paper introduces a new CT annular fracturing (CTAF) system, referred to as CTAF-Anchor, that offers a low-risk, operationally efficient, and effective multizone stimulation method designed to reduce the non-productive time (NPT) between stages and allow for closer fracture spacing to maximize stimulated reservoir access. Also included is a detailed study of the process and case histories that translated into a maximized return on investment (ROI) for the operator.