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Well preparation includes many activities to ensure that the well is completed properly. Some of these items and activities include appropriate drilling practices, cleanliness, completion fluids, perforating, perforation cleaning, acidizing, and/or specifications for rig and service company personnel. The productivity of a cased- or openhole gravel-packed completion is determined in part by the condition of the reservoir behind the filter cake, the quality of the filter cake, and the stability of the wellbore. Given this, it can be said that the completion begins when the bit enters the pay. Thus, it follows that the goal of drilling is to maintain wellbore stability while minimizing formation damage. But, for whatever reason, instability affects both cased- and openhole completions because it can cause loss of the wellbore. Thick cement sheaths in washed-out sections result in poor to no perforation penetration and the lack of cement can make sand placement difficult. Hole collapse can prevent running screens to the bottom of the hole. Failure, in the form of fracturing or collapse, can stop an openhole gravel pack, should failure occur while the pack is in process.
The definition of a tight gas reservoir is that the reservoir does not produce at commercial gas flow rates, or recover commercial volumes of natural gas, unless a hydraulic-fracture treatment is properly designed and pumped. As such, the entire drilling and completion procedures should focus on making sure the optimum fracture treatment can be designed and pumped in the field. When drilling a tight gas well, the most important aspect of the drilling operation is to drill a gauge hole. Many times this means the well should be drilled at a balanced mud weight or slightly overbalanced. In other cases, air drilling or underbalanced drilling works best, as long as the hole remains in gauge.
In earlier days, the main technology developments were mostly related to the materials, such as fluids and proppants, and their characterizations. In recent years, more advancements have been made in tools, engineering processes, and analyses. In a cased-hole fracturing treatment, perforating plays a critical role to the success of the job, though it is often overlooked because perforations are visualized as holes with empty tunnel behind the pipe. Any damage is irrelevant because fracturing will simply bypass the damage. In fact, a shaped charge is made of metal liner and case with explosive loaded in between.
Abstract Casabe Field is a heavy crude mature field with 260 producers, under selective injection of water with 350 injectors, producing close to 14,000 bbl/d of oil and about 80,000 bbl/d of water are being selectively injected under a 5-spot injection model. High water injection rates develop as consequence high flow velocities along its high permeability thinned sands, causing sand jetting over the cement and casing and seriously affecting the integrity of the well and zonal isolation. As typical in a brown field, operational costs are close to the limit, and sand cleaning represents almost 90% of workover operations with an average of 3.4 sand cleaning interventions per year in evaluated wells, which means an inoperability of 40% of time per year. Those events have represented millions of dollars in well interventions, abandonments, and water treatment, for which an aggressive sand management strategy was designed to optimize field operation. This strategy consists of identifying producing intervals with evidence of sand production in wells with high failure rates, in order to take effective and efficient corrective actions to recover the normal operation of the well with an optimized production. The identification of potential sand-producer intervals has been performed with the combination of last generation of cement evaluation with porosity wireline tools, applying a novel analysis of the acquired data through the processing of a flexural wave to characterize the geometry of the third interface (or open hole). Characterizing the annular geometry with mentioned technologies, has helped identify indications of cavern development behind the casing which also correlates with casing deformation, corrosion, and cement degradation, something expected at sand-jetted intervals. This, of course, means not only production loss but also integrity loss that threatens nearby zonal isolation. In all the cases where caverns have been detected, cement was strategically and efficiently pumped to cover formation washout. Post-workover and production reports indicate continued production was reached as inoperative time was reduced from 40% to 10%, but also well intervention for sand clean out was reduced from 3.4 to 1.4 per year on evaluated wells. This sand management strategy has been conducted in 10 wells in which more than USD 9 million cost-saving in workover activities have been reported. The application of new technologies and new ways of data analysis to inspect the physical condition of downhole barriers enabled the operator to save costs and to maintain the control of the integrity of the wells in aggressive environments such as the existing in Casabe Field. The experience gained in the process of identifying caverns behind the casing can be easily passed to other engineering teams facing similar situations, for example in neighboring fields of the Medium Magdalena Valley of Colombia.
Abstract In previous frac designs, proppant tracer logs revealed poor proppant distribution between clusters. In this study, various technologies were utilized to improve cluster efficiency, primarily focusing on selecting perforations in like-rock, adjusting perforation designs and the use of diverters. Effectiveness of the changes were analyzed using proppant tracer. This study consisted of a group of four wells completed sequentially. Sections of each well were divided into completion design groups characterized by different perforating methodologies. Perforation placement was primarily driven by RockMSE (Mechanical Specific Energy), a calculation derived from drilling data that relates to a rock's compressive strength. Additionally, the RockMSE values were compared alongside three different datasets: gamma ray collected while drilling, a calculation of stresses from accelerometer data placed at the bit, and Pulsed Neutron Cross Dipole Sonic log data. The results of this study showed strong indications that fluid flow is greatly affected by rock strength as mapped with the RockMSE, with fluid preferentially entering areas with low RockMSE. It was found that placing clusters in similar rock types yielded an improved fluid distribution. Additional improved fluid distribution was observed by adjusting hole diameter, number of perforations and pump rate.
Abstract Uniformity of proppant distribution among multiple perforation clusters affects treatment efficiency in multistage fractured wells stimulated using the plug-and-perf technique. Multiple physical phenomena taking place in the well and perforation tunnels can cause uneven proppant distribution among multiple clusters. The problem has been studied in the recent years with experimental and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods, which provide useful insights but are impractical for routine designs. Simplified models that incorporated the proppant transport efficiency (PTE) correlation derived from the CFD results in a hydraulic fracture model have been also presented in literature. In this paper, we present a numerical model that simulates the transient proppant slurry flow in the wellbore, considering proppant transport and settling including bed formation, rate- and concentration-dependent pressure drop, PTE, and dynamic pressure coupling with the hydraulic fractures. The model is efficient and is designed to be an independent wellbore transport model so it can be integrated with any fracture models, including fully 3D and/or complex fracture network models, for practical design optimization. The model predictions are compared and found to agree with previously published studies. Parametric studies demonstrate sensitivity of proppant distribution to grain size, fluid viscosity, and pumping rate for fixed perforation designs. Analysis of the simulation results shows that the dominant cause of uneven proppant distribution is proppant inertia. Possible slurry stratification is less important, except for the cases with relatively low flow rates and near toe clusters. Accordingly, proppant distribution is less sensitive to perforation phasing than to the number of perforations in clusters. Alterations of the number of perforations per cluster within a stage enable achieving more even proppant distribution.
Grove, Brenden (Halliburton Jet Research Center) | McGregor, Jacob (Halliburton Jet Research Center) | DeHart, Rory (Halliburton Jet Research Center) | Dusterhoft, Ron (Halliburton) | Stegent, Neil (Halliburton) | Grader, Avrami (Ingrain, a Halliburton Service)
Abstract Hydraulically fractured completions dominate industry perforating activity, particularly in North American land basins. This has led to the development of fracture-optimized perforating systems in recent years. Aside from overarching safety, reliability, and efficiency priorities, the main technical performance attribute of these systems is consistent hole size in the casing, driven by limited entry fracture design considerations. While the industry continues to seek further improvements in hole size consistency, attention is also being directed to the perforations more holistically, from a perspective of maximizing the effectiveness of subsequent hydraulic fracturing and ultimately production operations. To this end, this paper presents two related activities addressing the development, qualification, and optimization of perf-for-frac systems. The first is a surface testing protocol used to characterize perforating system performance, in particular casing hole size and consistency. The second is a laboratory program, recently conducted to investigate perforating stressed Eagle Ford shale samples at downhole conditions. This program explored the influences of charge size, formation lamination direction, pore fluid, and dynamic underbalance on perforation characteristics. Casing hole size was also assessed. For the first activity (surface testing), we find that using cement-backed casing can be an important feature to ensure more downhole-realistic results. For the second activity (laboratory program), perforation casing hole sizes for the charges tested were in line with expectations based on existing surface test data, exhibiting negligible pressure dependency. Corresponding penetration depths into the stressed shale samples generally ranged from 3.5-in to 5-in, which is much shallower than might be expected based on surface concrete performance. Dynamic underbalance was found to exhibit some slight effect on the tunnel fill characteristics, while pore system fluid was found to have minimal influence on the results. An interesting feature of the perforated samples was the complex fracture network at the perforation tips, which appeared "propped" to some extent with charge liner debris. Some of these fractures were formation beds which had delaminated during the shot, a phenomenon observed for perforations both parallel and perpendicular to the laminations. The implications of these results to the downhole environment continues to be assessed. Of particular interest is the impact these phenomena might have on fracture initiation, formation breakdown, and treatment stages which accompany subsequent hydraulic fracturing pumping operations.
Abstract Perforation-imaging studies have indicated highly variable results on effectively treating all perforation clusters within a given fracturing stage in horizontal well plug-and-perf applications, even when limited entry designs were used. A field test was executed to trial differing perforating designs and levels of perforation friction for identifying a preferred technique for evenly distributing treatment volume along the lateral. The test was implemented in a horizontal well in the Eagle Ford formation of south Texas. After treatment and plug drill-out operations were completed, a downhole camera was run to visualize perforation entry holes along the entire lateral section. Shaped perforating charges described as equal entry hole charges were used in all stages. The resulting images were analyzed to determine entry hole dimensions and erosion characteristics to determine if alternate perforating strategies provided improved results, as compared to the standard design of multi-phase perforating with 1200 psi of perforation friction. Test results indicate that orienting perforations in a straight line (zero-phase) along the high side of the wellbore significantly improved treatment distribution among perforation clusters. Oriented perforating achieved this benefit without needing to increase initial perforation friction beyond the area standard of 1200 psi. Another result from this project was development of a statistical process for evaluating perforation entry hole erosion data. Entry hole erosion datasets are complex and difficult to analyze. The statistical process presented in this paper demonstrates a clear way to compare the effectiveness of different perforation designs. This paper also covers the operational difficulties encountered during the project which added complexity to analyzing the results. Lastly, this paper offers suggestions for future modifications for oriented perforation designs to further improve limited entry effectiveness.
Kebert, Brent (Colorado School of Mines) | Almulhim, Abdulraof (Colorado School of Mines) | Miskimins, Jennifer (Colorado School of Mines) | Hunter, William (Ovintiv Inc) | Soehner, Gage (Ovintiv Inc)
Abstract Successfully treating each cluster within a hydraulic fracturing stage is a key objective for "plug-n-perf" well completions. Most operating companies would agree that the main underlying desire for a successful completion is related to future production capability. In unconventional reservoirs, propped and conductive hydraulic fractures are the primary completion result that drives production and reserve recovery. When designing a treatment, the spacing of clusters is critical to optimizing production and reserve recovery parameters, and therefore, even proppant distribution across a single stage delivers a well the greatest potential for optimized production performance. Diverting the fracturing fluid and proppant evenly across the clusters in a stage allows the greatest opportunity for each cluster to produce equally and drain the associated reservoir volume. Generating equal, producing fractures across a horizontal wellbore is a difficult problem that operators are still trying to solve. This work models the fluid and proppant distribution across a field-scale, 250-ft long, horizontal hydraulic fracturing stage, replicating realistic field conditions. By utilizing computational fluid dynamics (CFD), this paper investigates the effected proppant distribution results from a fracturing stage mimicking the presence of both a leaking plug and the impacts of stress shadowing. The proppant concentration throughout the wellbore, along with internal wellbore pressure and velocity, are also reviewed to gain an understanding of the effect of the field conditions. Additionally, this paper illustrates the effect of different proppant "ramping" conditions during the fracturing stage. Proppant ramping schedules can be smooth or sharp when increasing proppant concentration, which alters the proppant concentrations throughout the wellbore and associated perforation clusters. Unanticipated alterations of the proppant concentration within the wellbore can lead to early screenouts. Gaining a better understanding of the proppant distribution and concentration inside the wellbore can lead to improved designs of hydraulic fracturing completions.
Abstract A breakthrough patent-pending pressure diagnostic technique using offset sealed wellbores as monitoring sources was introduced at the 2020 Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference. This technique quantifies various hydraulic fracture parameters using only a surface gauge mounted on the sealed wellbore(s). The initial concept, operational processes, and analysis techniques were developed and deployed by Devon Energy. By scaling and automating the process, Sealed Wellbore Pressure Monitoring (SWPM) is now available to the industry as a repeatable workflow that greatly reduces analysis time and improves visualizations to aid data interpretations. The authors successfully automated the SWPM analysis procedure using a cloud-based software platform designed to ingest, process, and analyze high-frequency hydraulic fracturing data. The minimum data for the analysis consists of the standard frac treatment data combined with the high-resolution pressure gauge data for each sealed wellbore. The team developed machine learning algorithms to identify the key events required by a sealed wellbore pressure analysis: the start, end, and magnitude of each pressure response detected in the sealed wellbore(s) while actively fracturing offset wells. The result is a rapid, repeatable SWPM analysis that minimizes individual interpretation biases. The primary deliverables from SWPM analyses are the Volumes to First Response (VFR) on a per stage basis. In many projects, multiple pressure responses within a single stage have been observed, which provides valuable insight into fracture network complexity and cluster/stage efficiency. Various methods are used to visualize and statistically analyze the data. A scalable process facilitates creating a statistical database for comparing completion designs that can be segmented by play, formation, or other geological variations. Completion designs can then be optimized based upon the observed well responses. With enough observations and based on certain spacings, probabilities of when to expect fracture interactions could be assigned for different plays.