Offshore Hydraulic Fracturing Technique
- C.A. Meese | M.E. Mullen | R.D. Barree
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1994
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 226 - 229
- 1994. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 2.4.6 Frac and Pack, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2 Well Completion, 3 Production and Well Operations, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 1.4.3 Fines Migration, 2.5.1 Fracture design and containment, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 4.1.3 Dehydration, 1.8 Formation Damage, 2.2.2 Perforating
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Technology Today Series
This paper describes the "frac-and-pack" completion techniquecurrently being used in the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere, for stimulation andsand control. The paper describes process applications and concerns that ariseduring implementation of the technique and discusses the completion procedure,treatment design, and execution.
An innovative well-completion technique, frac and pack, recently has beenintroduced into Gulf of Mexico well-completion operations. The techniquecombines the stimulation advantages of hydraulic fracturing with thesand-control technique of gravel packing. The method involves a one-stepfracturing and gravel-packing operation performed through conventional downholegravel-packing hardware.
The technique is being used successfully to reduce skin damage effects andto improve the productivity of unconsolidated sandstone completionssignificantly by creating better communication between the wellbore and thereservoir. An example of the productivity improvement related to frac and packis provided in the Conclusions and References. Successful fracturing of softformations poses challenges different from fracturing of typical hard rock. Theprimary difference is the use of tip-screenout designs and very high sandconcentrations to ensure adequate fracture conductivity between the reservoirand the wellbore. Many authors have described tip-screenout fracturingtechniques.
Although new to the U.S. gulf coast area, hundreds of these treatments havebeen per formed during the last 2 years. Job sizes ranging from 10,000 to200,000 lbm of proppant have been pumped successfully from stimulation vesselsin the Gulf of Mex ico. Stimulation service companies are gearing up for anincrease in demand for this service. The stimulation vessels are equipped withpumping output ratings to 4,000 hydraulic hp, pressure ratings to 15,000 psi,fluid-handling capabilities to 3,000 bbl, above-deck proppant-handlingcapabilities to more than 200,000 lbm, and blending capabilities to 30 bbl/minat more than 10,000 lbm/min.
Applications and Concerns
Many reasons exist for applying hydraulic fracturing techniques to friableor unconsolidated sandstone reservoirs. A propped hydraulic fracture canaccelerate production from lower-permeability wells and increase recoverablereserves economically. Induced propped fractures also can be used to bypassdeep formation damage or to increase vertical flow conformance inhigher-permeability applications or laminated reservoirs.
The following conditions are candidates for Gulf of Mexico frac-and-packapplications.
1. Reservoirs with significant wellbore damage that historically respondpoorly to matrix stimulation techniques. An induced hydraulic fracture canbypass damage and connect the wellbore to the reservoir efficiently, therebyreducing skin effects.
2. Poorly consolidated reservoirs that may have fines and sand migrationproblems. An induced hydraulic fracture can alleviate fines movement byproviding a larger high-permeability flow area, which will reduce near-wellborefluid velocities. Reduced fines migration leads to better cumulativeproduction.
3. Low-resistivity, laminated sand/shale sequences where the connection ofthe sand lenses to the wellbore through perforations may be limited. An inducedhydraulic fracture can provide an effective vertical connection. Sands oncethought to be uneconomical in the offshore environment are now becomingattractive because of this new completion method.
4. Low-permeability reservoirs that require a conductive fracture to improvethe overall productivity of the zone.
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