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Huckabee, Paul (Shell Exploration & Production Co.) | Ledet, Chris (Shell Exploration & Production Co.) | Ugueto, Gustavo (Shell Exploration & Production Co.) | Tolle, John (Shell Exploration & Production Co.) | Mondal, Somnath (Shell Exploration & Production Co.)
Abstract This paper presents design considerations and field trial applications for determining practical dimensions and limits for interdependencies associated with stage length, perforation clusters and limited entry pressures. Recent applications by multiple authors and companies have begun to reverse the decade-long trend of reducing stage length and perforation spacing, in favor of extending stage lengths, to capture free cash flow value for unconventional resource development. Aggressive limited entry has been an enabler for successful extended stage length applications. Multiple authors have advocated "eXtreme Limited Entry" (XLE) applications. We present diagnostics data and applications that challenges the need for XLE and better constrains the necessary amount of limited entry pressures for effective stimulation distribution for resource development across multiple North American Basins. Data is presented from integrated application of field trials, stimulation distribution diagnostics, and well performance analysis. Field trials and well performance analysis are from the Permian Delaware Basin Wolfcamp. The field trials include both: greater perforation cluster intensities for base design stage lengths; and extended stage lengths of 50% greater than the base designs. Diagnostics are from multiple North American Basins and include discrete treatment pressure diagnostics and optic fiber distributed sensing. Data is presented to quantify the magnitude and variability for components necessary for maintaining active fracture extension for multiple perforation clusters. Components include: fracture breakdown pressures; in-situ stress, net fracture extension pressure, and near wellbore complexity pressure drop. Data and examples are presented from multiple wells, and resource development areas, to show the variability in measured treatment pressures for different length scale dimensions. This variability is used to determine the amount of limited entry pressure required to maintain fracture extension, dependent on the stage length dimension. Although Aggressive Limited Entry (ALE) is generally required to enable effective stimulation distribution and extended stage lengths in multiple cluster stages, examples are presented that demonstrate XLE is generally not required. We also discuss some of the considerations and observations that limit perforation cluster spacing intensities. Well performance data from the field trials is presented to validate the applications. This work demonstrates the value of integrated application of field trials, stimulation distribution diagnostics, and well performance analysis to capture free cash flow value from improved completions and stimulation designs. The discussion will include an assessment of future opportunities for further extension of stage length dimensions.
Through near 3000 horizontal producing wells on University Lands in the Permian Basin, we have performed a series of case studies to systematically investigate the most critical parameters to maximize well performance and the value of field development. In addition to summarizing multiple study results, the paper concludes and elaborates that the effective cluster spacing is the most critical parameter that we may be able to control and can influence the most in the unconventional reservoir development.
The paper first shows three observation cases of perforation cluster spacings and their corresponding well performance. To understand why the effective cluster spacing is so vital to well performance, we then illustrate the fundamental theory to understand the pressure propagation timing and depletion patterns in different reservoirs. We compare the mechanistic modeling results of pressure depletion and corresponding recovery efficiencies with different effective cluster spacings by multiple modeling approaches, including single-porosity model, and dual-porosity model, which has validated our case study results and is very insightful for us to optimize perforation cluster spacings.
We then discuss the possible reasons of often-observed well interference. With a large data sample, the paper illustrates the good correlation between well performance and completion effectiveness. The paper presents the EUR and NPV evaluation results of different field development case histories, such as between tight cluster spacing and wide cluster spacing. We will also briefly discuss the current technologies and practices to improve cluster efficiency in the completion process.
Based upon the multiple case studies, theory investigation, and rigorous modeling, we have concluded that the effective cluster spacing is the most critical factor to influence well performance and the field development value.
The workflow illustrated in the paper can be used for operators to systematically optimize their cluster spacings as well as field development plans. To maximize the value of developing unconventional reservoirs, it is vital to optimize cluster spacing and cost-effectively achieve tighter effective cluster spacing.