Using Open Hole Horizontal Completion Technology to More Efficiently Complete Vertical Wells
- Rocky Allen Seale (Packers Plus Energy Services) | James Athans (Packers Plus Energy Services)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Technology Symposium, 16-18 April, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.4 Multistage Fracturing, 1.14.1 Casing Design, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 5.8.2 Shale Gas, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2.2.2 Perforating, 3 Production and Well Operations, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.1.5 Geologic Modeling
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Horizontal completion technology has progressed dramatically over the last six years, with the latest technical barriers being eclipsed with open hole technology. These completions have allowed multiple zones to be fractured while mechanically isolating each zone. The efficiencies and benefits of utilizing open hole horizontal completion technology has been well documented. From the enhanced production witnessed using open hole completion with mechanical isolation, to the operational benefits of multiple fracturing operations being pumped in one continuous operation equating to time savings, more efficient fracs, faster cleanup and less safety hazards. Conventional methods of cementing a liner in place, perforating, fracturing and repeating the process for the number of stages required can be very time consuming with the added expense of removing the frac plugs with coiled tubing (CT) after the operations have been completed.
The enabling technology that has been used successfully over the last six years for multi-stage fracturing in open hole horizontal wells has been successfully applied to vertical wells. This paper will detail the benefits of using open hole multi-stage fracturing technology with mechanical isolation in vertical wells. In some aspects this may seem a simple transition, however, there are many operational considerations that must be evaluated in many vertical applications that might otherwise not be factored into a horizontal completion. These operational considerations will be thoroughly outlined, including case histories where this technology has been successfully applied.
Over seven years ago development of a more efficient method to fracture and stimulate horizontal wells being completed open hole was undertaken. At that time the only way to effectively place a fracture or stimulation in the desired interval in a horizontal well was to cement in a liner and perforate the interval to be treated. Originally this was attempted using limited entry techniques, which had been employed in vertical wells with defining success based on the application and interval length. The results in many cases were the same for limited entry techniques in horizontal applications as they were in vertical, where the success depended on the length of interval attempting to be stimulated. Thus with increasing length, the stimulation became ineffective across many of the intended zones. Once perforated, the interval was stimulated and if another interval was to be treated, a composite bridge plug was set for isolating the previous treatment and the next section was perforated and then stimulated. This process was repeated for the number of desired intervals to be treated. Ironically, this completion technique was adapted from use in vertical wells to becoming a viable completion technology for horizontal wells. As with any adaptation from one application to another, there were equipment and operational modifications required to produce the desired results for the horizontal application.1, 2
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