Improving Horizontal Completions in Heterogeneous Tight Shales
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 126 - 130
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 229 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 146998, "Improving Horizontal Completions in Heterogeneous Tight Shales," by Roberto Suarez-Rivera, SPE, Chaitanya Deenadayalu, Maxim Chertov, SPE, Ricardo Novalo Hartanto, SPE, and Patrick Gathogo, Schlumberger, and Rahul Kunjir, University of Utah, prepared for the 2011 Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference, Calgary, 15-17 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Production from nanodarcy-range-permeability shale formations requires extensive hydraulic fracturing, large volumes of water, and closely spaced wells. Comparing calculations of the possible fracture-surface area created during treatments to production results indicates that a large portion of that surface area is ineffective for production, resulting in ineffective use of resources. A fundamental understanding is required to improve the efficiency of horizontal completions in producing shales. The objective of this study was to improve completion design and horizontal-well-completion efficiency.
When considering tight-shale-formation characterization and completion design, one should evaluate the formation characteristics conducive to economic production: reservoir quality (RQ), representing the multiple properties defining reservoir potential, and completion quality (CQ), representing the multiple properties defining the potential for creating and sustaining a large surface area in contact with the reservoir. RQ and CQ properties vary in the near-wellbore and far-wellbore regions. For CQ, the far-wellbore region represents the region of contact between the created fracture and the reservoir. Well production depends on this surface area being in contact with good RQ, and depends on conditions of containment, fracturability, rock/fluid interactions, and loss of surface area and fracture conductivity during production. The near-wellbore region represents the choking point between the created surface area and the wellbore. The goal is to maximize connectivity between the fracture system and the wellbore. This goal is attainable by minimizing near-fracture tortuosity, maximizing fracture width, reducing breakdown pressures, and limiting the risk of solids production. The result is a nonsubjective and consistent method that provides a means for understanding variability in fracture performance along wellbores (e.g., inferred from microseismic monitoring, trace analysis, and stage-by-stage flow measurements) and for selecting perforation stages on the basis of measured or log-inferred rock properties. The method also provides a means for monitoring consistency between the predicted values and measured results.
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