Fracture-Stimulation Technology for Gas-Storage Wells
- S.R. Reeves (Advanced Resources Intl. Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1998
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 61 - 67
- 1998. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, , 1.8 Formation Damage, 3.2.4 Acidising, 5.6.5 Tracers, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 4.6 Natural Gas, 3 Production and Well Operations, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.10.2 Natural Gas Storage, 2.1.1 Perforating, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods
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Technology Today Series articles are general, descriptiverepresentations that summarize the state of the art in an area of technology bydescribing recent developments for readers who are not specialists in thetopics discussed. Written by individuals recognized as experts in the area,these articles provide key references to more definitive work and presentspecific details only to illustrate the technology. Purpose: to informthe general readership of recent advances in various areas of petroleumengineering.
Introduction and Background
Since introduction of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 636the fundamental role of the interstate gas-transportation business has changedfrom that of intermediary between producer and consumer to that of a serviceprovider. Further, because these services are now unbundled and cannot belumped into the supplier rate base, pipeline companies must now provide each oftheir services individually and at increasingly competitive prices. Some ofthese services include gas transportation, market-center hub services (e.g.,balancing, compression, loaning, parking, peaking, trading), and gas storage.Gas storage is used for two primary purposes: to meet seasonal winter demandsfor natural gas (base-load storage) and to meet short-term peaks in demand(peaking storage), which can range from a few hours to a few days. For purelypeak demand, cavern storage has become increasingly popular because of theextremely high deliverability that can be achieved, albeit only for shortperiods of time. Base-load storage facilities, for which depleted oil/gasfields are frequently used, can store larger volumes of gas but usually havesmaller overall deliverability capacities. Nevertheless, minimum deliverabilityrequirements exist for base-load storage facilities.
One of the keys to providing gas-storage services on a commerciallycompetitive basis is to minimize the cost of constructing and/or maintainingminimum deliverability requirements. In a study performed in 1993, the GasResearch Inst. (GRI) determined that, on average, the storage industry losesmore than 5% of its deliverability capacity annually from base-load fields. Thereasons behind deliverability loss are currently the subject of ongoing R&Dby GRI and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) even though they traditionally havebeen attributed to the introduction of foreign materials during gas-injectionperiods (e.g., compressor oils, rust, scale) and to the deposition of scalesand/or fines mobilization during periods of high-rate withdrawal, both of whichcan contribute to near-well damage. To counteract deliverability decline, theindustry spends more than U.S. $100 million annually, primarily to drill newinfill wells to supplement older wells that have experienced substantialdeliverability decline. While new wells can be used to increase overall storagecapacity of a field if sited appropriately, the stimulation (or restimulation)of existing wells is a considerably more cost-effective approach to maintainingdeliverability.
Gas-storage operators realize this. However, the traditional approaches todeliverability enhancement (blowing, washing, or mechanically cleaning thewellbore; reperforating; and acidizing, which combined account for over 80% ofall storage-well enhancement activity) generally provide only limited,short-term results, not substantial, long-term well stimulation. Additionally,poor candidate-well selection, frequently based only on limited or inaccuratedeliverability data, may also contribute to this outcome.The GRI studyidentified fracturing as a promising deliverability-enhancement technique forgas-storage applications; however, storage operators have historically avoidedsuch methods because, in part, of concerns about reservoir seal integrity.Nevertheless, as a result of competitive pressures, fracturing of gas-storagewells is of increasing interest to storage operators. In response, the DOE (andmore recently GRI) is sponsoring a joint program with industry to demonstrateapplication of new and novel fracture-stimulation technologies in gas-storagefields across the U.S. The ultimate objective of this program is to advancedeliverability-enhancement technology to provide more efficient utilization ofthe country's gas-storage assets in response to the growing demand for awidespread, reliable natural gas supply. This article describes some of thesefracture-stimulation technologies and advances made as part of thatproject.
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