Special Considerations in the Design Optimization of the Production Casing in High-Rate, Multistage-Fractured Shale Wells
- Catherine Sugden (Blade Energy Partners) | John Johnson (Exco Resources) | Mike Chambers (Exco Resources) | Gary Ring (Blade Energy Partners) | P.V. Suryanarayana (Blade Energy Partners)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- December 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 459 - 472
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 Well Completion, 2.5.4 Multistage Fracturing, 1.14.1 Casing Design, 1.14 Casing and Cementing
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- 1,029 since 2007
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Typical shale well completions involve massive, multistage fracturing in horizontal wells. Aggressive trajectories (with up to 20°/100 ft doglegs), multistage high-rate fracturing (up to 20 stages, 100 bbl/min), and increasing temperature and pressure of shale reservoirs result in large thermal and bending stresses that are critical in the design of production casing. In addition, when cement voids are present and the production casing is not restrained during fracturing, thermal effects can result in magnified load conditions. The resulting loads can be well in excess of those deemed allowable by regular casing design techniques. These loads are often ignored in standard well design, exposing casing to the risk of failure during multistage fracturing. In this work, the major factors influencing normal and special loads on production casing in shale wells are discussed. A method for optimization of shale well production casing design is then introduced. The constraints on the applicability of different design options are discussed. Load-magnification effects of cement voids are described, and a method for their evaluation is developed. Thermal effects during cooling are shown to create both bending stress magnification and annular pressure reduction caused by fluid contraction in trapped cement voids. This can result in significant loads and new modes of failure that must be considered in design. The performance of connections under these loads is also discussed. Examples are provided to illustrate the key concepts described. Finally, acceptable design options for shale well production casing are discussed. The results presented here are expected to improve the reliability of shale well designs. They provide operators with insight into load effects that must be onsidered in the design of production casing for such wells. By understanding the causes and magnitude of load-augmentation effects, operators can manage their design and practices to ensure well integrity.
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