Very-High-Volume ESP-Lift Systems for Shale-Gas Fracture-Water Supply
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 80 - 83
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 146489, "Field Application of Very-High-Volume ESP-Lift Systems for Shale-Gas Fracture-Water Supply in Horn River, Canada," by Geoffrey C.J. Coppola, SPE, and Ryan C. Chachula, SPE, Encana Corporation, prepared for the 2011 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Denver, 30 October-2 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
One challenge of the Horn River shale play in British Columbia, Canada, has been the increasing number of fracture stimulations required per horizontal wellbore. Critically important is the massive volume of water required to supply the continuous fracturing operations in the development. To eliminate reliance on surface water, it was decided to produce high volumes of sour water from a relatively unknown underpressurized saline aquifer. The challenge was designing an appropriate lift system capable of producing volumes up to 8500 m3/d per well while addressing unknown fluid inflows, fluid transmissibility and recharge, and reservoir-fluid-chemistry characteristics.
The Horn River basin is in northeastern British Columbia, approximately 1600 km northwest of Calgary, Alberta (Fig. 1). The primary-target horizons are the Muskwa, Otter Park, and Evie formations, which are predominantly organic and silica-rich shale. Since 2005, slickwater fracture treatments have grown from 400 m3 of water with 10 t of proppant in a vertical well to 29 staged fracture treatments per horizontal well, with each treatment consisting of 5000 m3 of water with 200 t of proppant. As the volume and number of treatments have grown, so has the demand for fracture-treatment water. At 5000 m3/stage, approximately 150 000 m3 of water is required for one horizontal-well completion with 30 fractures. The Debolt formation was identified as a potential water source that could supply the required fracture-treatment water. A test well was drilled to determine reservoir properties and the compatibility of the water with the Horn River fracturing program. Subsequent testing of the Debolt water revealed 21 000 mg/L total dissolved solids, 60 ppm H2S concentration in the water phase, and approximately 5000 ppm of H2S in the vapor phase. The Debolt formation was determined to be underpressured, with a pressure gradient of 7.2 kPa/m.
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