Westside: Managed Pressure Flowback in Unconventional Reservoirs: A Permian Case Study
Flowback programs for multi-stage horizontal wells (MSHW) in unconventional reservoirs are too often completed without a sufficient understanding of how the flowback could affect the long-term performance of the well. High initial production is a common performance indicator that drives flowback practices to focus primarily on flowing back the well as fast as possible to get it on production. Operators are becoming more aware of how extremely sensitive unconventional completions and formations can be to overly aggressive flowback practices used to increase initial production. To-date, collection and analysis of the data gathered during flowbacks has been infrequent and without much understanding of their inherent value. If data are collected, they are usually low quality and unreliable.
This discussion will focus on the specific type of damage that can be created by aggressive flowback practices and mitigated by effectively monitoring and controlling initial rates and pressures. A Permian Basin case study is examined to demonstrate the benefits of optimizing choke schedules to effectively manage drawdown pressure to reduce damage to fractures and increase cumulative production. Specialized diagnostic plots are used to demonstrate the consequences that conventional flowback practices can have on well deliverability. Additionally, the added value in utilizing high resolution surface pressure recorders and how those data can be used to optimize choke schedules will also be presented.
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