The Canadian energy sector pioneered and developed industry-leading oil- and liquids-rich reservoir acidizing technology. This involved new acid additive chemistry and completion techniques. However, many of the newer technical professionals in the industry have not been exposed to this technology. The first section of this paper outlines acidizing technology, with a focus on application to current new opportunities.
Many of the current oil- and liquids-rich plays involve naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs. Acid treatments designed to enhance the conductivity of the existing fracture system can provide more-effective reservoir drainage than proppant fracturing treatments. The second section of this paper discusses how new placement techniques can offer more-effective zonal isolation while reducing completion time and associated costs, and how acid pre-pads can also reduce breakdown pressures and help minimize near-wellbore (NWB) tortuosity effects in many shale and sandstone reservoirs.
Lessons from The Past
Acid Blend Design Considerations
1. Acid types and applications.
2. Iron-induced sludging and additive dispersibility.
3. Non-emulsifiers/antisludging agents.
4. Testing procedures.
5. Iron-sulfide precipitation.
6. Corrosion of metals.
7. Corrosion inhibitors.
8. Sulfide stress cracking (SSC).
10. Wetting agents.
12. Fines migration.
13. Paraffin and asphaltene precipitation.
14. Scale precipitation.
15. Additional additives.
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.
The demand for more efficient, effective, and environmentally acceptable hydraulic fracturing solutions will continue into the future as shale reservoirs play more of a critical role in meeting the rising energy demand. The measurement of success for tomorrow's wells will not just be improved operational efficiency and initial production, but will include long-term well performance and reduced environmental impact. Operators and service companies must remove the uncertainty associated with conventional hydraulic fracturing techniques and aim simply to generate the desired number of fractures while ensuring that proppant is placed accurately to achieve good conductivity for the life of the well. Some of the disadvantages of conventional well stimulation methods include the following:
This paper presents a coiled tubing (CT) fracturing solution designed to eliminate these issues, while also delivering a new level of treatment flexibility by using real-time control of rate and proppant concentration at the perforations. This new approach to hydraulic fracturing reduces hydraulic horsepower requirements and reduces overall water usage significantly, while maximizing the return on investment (ROI) for the operator.
The challenge in recovering hydrocarbons from shale rock is its very low permeability, which requires cost-effective fracturestimulation treatments to make production economic. Technological advances and improved operational efficiency have made production from shale resources around the globe far more viable; however, while the wells being completed today are proving to be reasonably economical, the question that remains is if the operators are truly capitalizing on their full potential. In recent years, the industry has been in search of a better method to enable well operators to capitalize on the natural fractures commonly found in shale reservoirs. If properly developed, these natural fractures will create a network of connectivity within the reservoir, potentially improving long-term production when they have been propagated. In most shales, however, the stress anisotropy present can prevent sufficient dilation of the natural fractures during stimulation treatments. To induce branch fracturing, far-field diversion must be achieved inside the fracture to overcome the stresses in the rock holding the natural fractures closed. Increasing net pressure during the treatment will enhance dilation of these natural fractures, creating a complex network of connectivity, and the greater the net pressure within the hydraulic fracture, the more fracture complexity created.
Most of the various processes introduced previously are limited because multiple perforated intervals or large open annular sections are treated at one time. Also, to achieve the high injection rates required, they are treated down the casing, so that any changes made to the treatment require an entire casing volume to be pumped before these changes reach the perforations. This paper presents a case history of a multistage-fracturing process that allows real-time changes to be made downhole in response to observed treating pressure. This functionality enables far-field reservoir diversion to be achieved, ultimately increasing stimulated reservoir contact (SRC).
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.