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Completion Solutions for Multi-Stage Stimulation of Unconventional Resources

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Course Credit: 0.15 CEU, 1.5 PDH

Hydraulic fracturing has been used to stimulate hydrocarbon reservoirs for over 70 years, yet no single optimal methodology has emerged. Variations in rock and fluid properties, regulatory regimes and, most importantly, ever changing economic factors force completion engineers to constantly revise and adjust stimulation techniques. In the first decade of the 21st Century, as North America moved to exploit shale gas both cemented plug-and-perf, as well as open hole ball drop systems were deployed in low stage count wells to hold land positions through production. When the natural gas price collapsed in the 2009 financial crisis, North American operators applied these same techniques to various tight lithologies to extract oil. Multi-stage stimulation of unconventional reservoirs has now reversed years of production decline in North America and opened-up new resource plays around the world. By 2014, light oil production enabled the United States to replace OPEC as the swing producer controlling the global oil price. Despite the 2014 – 2016 downturn, increasing unconventional supply has enabled the USA to overtake Saudi Arabia in oil production and it is the price of breakeven production in North American shale basins that currently controls the floor for global oil prices. This has ushered in a new phase of lower oil prices with profound implications for completion technology. As producers pursue longer laterals with higher stage counts and proppant loading, cemented completions have come to dominate the market in the U.S. Challenges in this market are: effective stimulation of the toe section of extended reach laterals, controlling frac length in multi-point entry stimulations and cost-effective strategies for uniform reservoir exploitation. Low cost options for toe subs may conflict with requirements to test casing integrity prior to stimulation, while single point entry ball drop, pump down collet and coil tubing activated sleeves offer control of fracture extent but are costly and multi-point entry systems offer lower cost options but are frequently inefficient in draining resources. Rather than one optimal way to produce all unconventional resources, combinations of these systems are discussed that offer completion engineers the versatility they require to provide cost-effective stimulation in response to varying reservoir and economic conditions.

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Course Chapters

  • 1Completion Solutions for Multi-Stage Stimulation of Unconventional Resources - Chapter 1
    Media Type: Video

Credits

Earn credits by completing this course0.15 CEU credit1.5 PDH credits

Speakers

Dr. Ian Bryant