Horizontal-Well Fracturing by Use of Coiled Tubing in the Belridge Diatomite: A Case History
- Sahil Malhotra (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | George T. Merrifield (Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company) | Jye R. Collins (Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company) | Cynthia Lynch (Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company) | Dave Larue (Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company) | Angela M. Madding (Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- August 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 238 - 251
- 2017.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- hydraulic fracturing, coiled tubing, sand plugs, diatomite, horizontal wells
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 411 since 2007
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Coiled-tubing (CT) fracturing has been applied successfully in multistage vertical-well stimulation in the Belridge diatomite in the Lost Hills field. This same methodology was used to complete two northwest-trending horizontal wells drilled on the northeast flank of the Lost Hills anticlinal structure that targeted thinner, higher-oil-saturation strata separated by thicker lower-oil-saturation intervals. The target reservoir presents high-porosity, low-matrix-permeability, and low-Young’s-modulus Opal A diatomite.
The perforations were jetted by pumping sand slurry down the CT, and the fracture job was pumped down the annulus. The stages were isolated by setting sand plugs. Nine and twelve stages were pumped in the two wells, respectively. The perforation locations for different stages were selected in areas with high resistivity and inferred high oil saturations, an absence of hydraulic fractures from nearby wells, excellent cement bonding, and low intensity of natural fractures. These assessments followed logging-while-drilling (LWD) with gamma ray, induction-resistivity and azimuthally focused resistivity (AFR) (image) logs, and a cased-hole ultrasonic image tool (USIT) run with the aid of a tractor. The hydraulic fractures were monitored by use of surface tiltmeter sensors. Oil- and water-soluble tracers were pumped to determine the relative production contribution from the stages and fracture-fluid cleanup, respectively, from the stages. All the jobs could be pumped successfully without any screenouts. Challenges were faced in setting sand plugs and isolating stages. Large fracture widths and low leakoff into the formation led to difficulty in forming sand bridges at the perforations and concentrating sand in the wellbore for the plugs. Surface tiltmeters showed excessive fracture-height growth. Tracer results showed that 20 to 30% of the stages contributed to 50 to 60% of the production. Stages with higher treating pressures contributed less toward production. This could be attributed to near-wellbore tortuosity in these stages. Proppant flowback was encountered in one well, and after an effective cleanup, the production rose.
The study illustrates how integration of various aspects, such as completion design, fracture-pressure analysis, and diagnostics, combined with geologic and reservoir information can help in identifying challenges and finding potential solutions for hydraulic fracturing. The findings highlight that the technology most suitable for vertical-well stimulation might not be favorable for horizontal-well stimulation.
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