As reservoir qualities decline and drilling candidates move progressively toward tighter rock, the requirement for hydraulic fracturing becomes more acute. Horizontal wells provide an attractive option for maximizing reservoir contact. In many of today’s targeted reservoirs, hydraulic fracturing is a requirement regardless of whether the wellbore is vertical or horizontal. Four years ago an engineering project was launched, in cooperation with two domestic operators, to develop the capabilities of providing mechanical diversion in conjunction with multiple, transverse hydraulic fractures in openhole completions. The first such systems were installed in 2001, and successful hydraulic fracturing operations were performed.
Since those first test wells, more than 160 openhole fracturing systems have been installed, involving up to 9 individual fracturing treatments placed along the horizontal lateral. In most cases, all of the fracturing treatments are performed in a single day’s pumping operations. To-date, systems have been installed in the U.S. and western Canada at depths ranging from 4,000 to 14,700 ft TVD and up to 18,000 ft TMD. Applications have included sandstone, carbonate, coalbed methane, and shale reservoirs. Continuous pumping times for the fracturing treatments have exceeded 20 hr. Best-in-field postfrac production results have been observed in several fields.
This presentation will describe the benefits of this completion technology as an alternative to cemented liners. It will also detail the application of these completion systems using several case histories.