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SPE - 108075 - Horizontal Well Completion and Stimulation Techniques

SPE - 108075 - Horizontal Well Completion and Stimulation Techniques

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Copyright 2007, Society of Petroleum EngineersThis paper was prepared for presentation at the 2007 SPE Latin American and CaribbeanPetroleum Engineering Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 15t18 April 2007.This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review ofinformation contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, aspresented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject tocorrection by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect anyposition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented atSPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society ofPetroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paperfor commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers isprohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuousacknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O.Box 833836, Richardson, Texas 75083-3836 U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
Abstract
This paper presents a brief review of the available techniquesin the oil and gas industry to complete and stimulate horizontalwells, with emphasis on low permeability carbonates. Thesetechniques can also be applied in non-conventional reservoirs, particularly in tight formations. The paper starts by reviewingthe lessons learned in some chalk fields in the North Sea (Dan,Halfdan, South Arne, Valhall and Eldfisk) and in a few pilot projects offshore Brazil (Congro and Enchova). Based onthese lessons learned and in the broad literature, the paper devises some considerations on the methodology to selectcompletion and stimulation techniques for horizontal wells.Cased and cemented horizontal wells, in addition to open holeand perforated/slotted liners wells are addressed. The macroaspects of field/area management are stressed as thecompletion and stimulation drivers. The key parameters for designing, implementing and evaluating horizontal completionand stimulation are presented, emphasizing the most commonfailures and the controversial aspects. The paper presents asummary of mature field and new scenarios that are candidateto horizontal completion and stimulation in Brazil and other Latin America countries. Then it makes a few comments onthe resources available in Latin America to face the mentionedopportunities and related challenges. It is supposed that this brief review will be useful for the low permeability scenariosin Latin America and worldwide.
Introduction
This paper presents a brief review of the available techniquesin the industry to complete and stimulate horizontal wells,with emphasis on low permeability carbonates. The emphasison low permeability carbonates in this work is justified by therenewed importance of this scenario in Brazil and other LatinAmerica countries. Although it does not focus onnonconventional reservoirs, such as tight gas, it is related tothem as stimulated horizontal completions have been used ontheir development. This paper focuses fracturing stimulations,also making a few references to matrix stimulation. It alsoassumes that a horizontal well has already been justified andwhat is being discussed is its completion and stimulation. The paper starts by reviewing the lessons learned in some chalk fields in the North Sea (Dan, Halfdan, South Arne, Valhall andEldfisk) and in a few pilot projects offshore Brazil (Congroand Enchova). Then it devises some thought on themethodology used to select completion and stimulationtechniques for horizontal wells. It address cased and cementedhorizontal wells, in addition to open hole and perforated/slotted liners completions. The key parameters for designing, applying and evaluating horizontal completion andstimulation are presented, underlining the most commonfailures and the controversial aspects.
Completion and Stimulation of North Sea Low-Permeability Carbonates
The North Sea low permeability chalks are taken here as areference due to the outstanding technological evolutionverified there in the last decades. Amongst more than tenfields producing from these reservoirs in the North Sea this paper focuses on the Dan, Halfdan, South Arne, Valhall andEldfisk fields. The main characteristics of these fields are:shallow waters (43 to 69 m), dry completion, high volumes of OOIP (1.6 to 2.9 billions barrel), low permeability carbonates(0.2 md to 10 md) with microfractures in the central areas (10md to 120 md), high porosities (up to 48%), soft to very softchalks, small to medium net pays (15 m to 65 m), high oilsaturation (up to 97%), and light oils ( about 36
o
API).What most distinguishes these fields is their over-pressuredsoft chalks which are subjected to a high degree of compactionunder pore pressure depletion, resulting in loss of drillingfluids, rapid production decline, well failures and seafloor subsidence. On the other hand the positive effects of rock compaction as a reservoir drive energy, outweigh by far thenegative ones. The recovery factor under primary recovery can be as high as 30%. In general the North Sea chalksexperienced an evolution from vertical/directional wellsstimulated with acid treatments to multiple fracturedhorizontal wells.
SPE 108075Horizontal Well Completion and Stimulation Techniques - A Review with Emphasis onLow Permeability Carbonates
Valdo Ferreira Rodrigues, SPE, Luis Fernando Neumann, SPE, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.; Daniel Torres, SPE, HalliburtonEnergy Services; Cesar Guimarães, SPE, Schlumberger; Ricardo Sadovski Torres, BJ Services
 
2 SPE 108075
The Dan and Halfdan Complex
1-11
 
This complex is located in the Danish part of the North SeaCentral Graben and is comprised by Dan (2.9 billions barrelOOIP, 12 production platforms, and 108 wells) and Halfdan(1.615 billions barrel OOIP, 4 production platforms, and 62wells).The Dan
 
field was discovered in 1971 and started productionin 1972, making it the oldest producing oil field in the NorthSea. It consists of a high porosity (18% to 40%), low permeability (1 md in average) chalk. It was initiallydeveloped with fractured vertical/deviated wells. To improve productivity the operator adopted horizontal cemented wells in1987 associated with acid fracturing stimulation. Thestimulation treatment was soon changed to hydraulic(propped) fracturing looking for medium and long term productivity. Amongst the many lessons learned in the Danfield development one can mention:1.
 
Water injection is fundamental to increase the recoveryfactor in the low permeability carbonates;2.
 
To achieve high water rates in nonfractured chalks it isnecessary to inject above the fracture propagation pressure,and true stimulation is not necessary
4,5
;3.
 
Water injection management can be achieved by usingsliding sleeve (SS) configuration (opened or closed),downhole fixed chokes, and surface injection pressurecontrol
4,5
;4.
 
Horizontal cemented wells associated with multiplehydraulic fractures, were successfully introduced in 1987;5.
 
A stimulation and lower completion system that allowed perforating, stimulating, and isolating the treated interval,in one trip, was introduced in 1989
1
;6.
 
The controlled acid jetting liner (CAJ), introduced in1998
6
, allowed the extension of the horizontal section beyond coiled tubing reach (used to operate the SSs of the previous system) while permitting efficient acid treatmentalong the liner;7.
 
Whenever possible the wellbore orientation must be in the preferred fracture direction in order to avoid or minimizetortuosity in the fracture initiation/propagation process.8.
 
The perforation interval must be short to avoid theinitiation of several fractures, and with high density andlarge entrance holes to ease the placement of high proppantconcentration;9.
 
The use of injection tests prior to the main treatment canestimate the magnitude of tortuosity;10.
 
Sand injection tests were successfully used to remove or reduce tortuosity; increasing the treatment rate and/or thefracturing fluid viscosity also helped overcomingtortuosity;11.
 
It is possible to overcome poor cement isolation filling thechannels with sand before pumping the fracturing fluids.The Halfdan field was discovered in December 1998 by a9022 m long horizontal well (horizontal section of 6324 m)drilled from a production platform in the Dan field. It went onstream in the same year through a pilot production system.The reservoir is laterally extensive and consist of ahomogeneous and isotropic chalk of Maastrichtian and Danianage, with high porosity (25% to 35%), low permeability (0.5md to 2.0 md), low thickness (5 m to 15 m) and withoutstructural closure
8,9
. The Halfdan development plan wasconceived at the very beginning by making use of the lessonslearned in Dan. The water injection secondary recovery wasthe main determinant in the Halfdan development. Among theseveral lessons learned in Halfdan one can emphasize theinjection fracturing in a densely spaced line drive water floodtechnology, including the fracture aligned sweep technology(FAST) concept
9-11
.
South Arne
12,13
The South Arne field is located in the northern part of theDanish sector of the North Sea in water depth of 60 m. Theinstallations comprise a combined wellhead, processing, andaccommodation platform. The reservoir is an elongatedstructure, 93 km² in area, 2,800 m deep (deepest chalk inDenmark), and is comprised of high porosity/low permeabilitychalks from the Maastrichtian and Danian ages. The wellshorizontal sections (around 1800 m) navigate through theupper portion of the Tor formation (0.2 md to 4 md). Thefractures along the lateral were supposed to cover the Tor formation and at least 75% of the Ekofisk formation (0.0 mdto 0.7 md) above to ensure adequate drainage. South Arne isan example of initial total failure that was overcame by proper analysis and actions. This case study
12,13
revealed manyimportant conclusions such as:1.
 
Using proper fracture initiation, the wellbore orientationdid not make difference in South Arne;2.
 
Pressure depletion can significantly affect fracturegeometry;3.
 
The combination of G-function and log-log pressuredecline analyses provided more reliable and consistentinterpretation of fracture closure pressure;4.
 
The use of G-function superposition analysis of mini-fracdata can assist in the recognition of pressure dependentleakoff due to fissure opening;5.
 
The fracture initiation should use cross-linked gel, proppant slugs to reduce complexity and sand slugs to plugopen natural fractures/fissures. zones with high naturalfracture density should be avoided;6.
 
100-mesh sand slugs at concentrations of 3 ppg to 4 ppgmay control excessive fluid loss due to the activation or dilation of natural fractures;7.
 
Porosity (25% to 45% in South Arne) is an importantdeterminant in the fracturing design affecting very muchthe Young’s modulus (less than 500,000 psi to over 2,000,000 psi);8.
 
Most fracture treatment problems arose in zones with porosity less than 30%;9.
 
In a case of longitudinal fractures in a poorly cementedliner there were no evidences of additional problems.
Valhall
 
14-18
 The Valhall field, located in the Norwegian sector of the NorthSea, was discovered in 1975 and started production in October 1982. The Valhall complex consists of five separate steel platforms for quarters, drilling, wellheads, production, andwater injection. In addition the field has two unmanned flank  platforms, one in the south and one in the north, both around 6
 
SPE 108075 3
kilometers from the field centre. The reservoir is comprised of an over-pressured, under-saturated Upper Cretaceous chalk reservoir, which main characteristics are: depth from 2,400 mto 2,600 m, high porosity (35% to 50%), low matrix permeability (1 md to 10 md), total permeability from 1md to300 md, high oil saturation (92% to 97%), 36
o
API oil gravity,average thickness of 25 m with large lateral variation, GOR of 800 scf/STB to 1,400 scf/STB, and two oil bearing formations,Hod and Tor. The Tor formation is the primary reservoir having higher porosity and permeability and providing thegreatest reservoir volume. The OOIP is 2.6 billion barrels withan original reserve of 250 million barrels. A major differentialin Valhall is the high degree of compaction suffered by itsweak chalk under pore pressure depletion. Valhall had about2,900 psi original over-pressure related to an original 6,550 psi pore pressure @ 2,450 m. It means an effective stress on thechalk matrix of 650 psi equivalent to a burial depth of only700 m to 800 m
17
. This explains drilling fluid loss, rapid production decline, well failures and seafloor subsidence. Wellfailures have been the greatest challenge throughout Valhall
’s
 history. Failure due rock influx is the uncontrolled chalk  production, caused by pressure cycling and high drawdown.Production is restored by an expensive coiled tubingcleanout
17
. Terminal failure is the lack of wellbore accesscaused by a collapsed casing or liner. The observed subsidencehas been around 25 cm/year. The total subsidence was 4.91 mas of March 2003
17
. On the other hand the positive effects(rock compaction contributes more than 50% of the reservoir drive energy) outweigh by far the negative ones
20
. It isimportant to note that pressure depletion was not a matter of negligence or lack of resources. Water injection wasrepeatedly studied for the Valhall field since 1989, alwaysshowing no economical gain. In 1996 a multidisciplinarystudy was created to evaluate waterflooding the Tor formation
18
. A waterflood project was installed at late 2004.The Valhall completion and stimulation history
14-17
, started in1982, is summarized in the figure 1.
Figure 1 Completion phases in the Valhall field
All the Valhall completion/stimulation changes were based oncomprehensive studies. The implementation of the cementedand cased horizontal well was based on a reservoir studycarried out in 1991 to 1992. The association betweencemented and cased horizontal well and multiple proppedfractures came from a completion study accomplished in 1994to 1995. In 1996 a study for hydraulic fracturing optimizationusing an implicit reservoir simulator defined multiple fracturesgeometry (60 m long, 0.55 in. wide), conductivity (5 lbm/sqftto 6 lbm/sqft) and spacing (110 m to 160 m). After that thefocus was to optimize operations times and fracture TipScreen-out. An update in the beginning of 2003 revealed theexecution of over 150 proppant fractures in Valhall. In face of a new development in the North and South flank areas, a studywas carried out comparing acid versus proppant fracturing
15
.This study, justified by the expected differences in thereservoir in the flank areas, where the chalk was supposed to be thinner and less soft, was based on:
 
Comparison of the production history of propped and acidfractured wells;
 
Modeling using an in-house analytical reservoir simulator especially built for proppant fracture wells;
 
 Numerical modeling using a commercial simulator 
15
.This study provided a Valhall stimulation strategy and afracturing decision tree.As of 2003 reserves had increased from 250,000 STB to 1 billion STB due to:
 
Better reservoir description;
 
Drilling, completion and stimulation evolution;
 
Complementary development of the flank areas;
 
Waterflood in the crestal section.The imminent risk of well failures and other challenges led toa great emphasis on well management. This evolved to adedicated offshore control room monitoring the wellscontinuously
17
. A group of onshore petroleum engineersmonitors well performance and provides guidelines to theoffshore staff. The well opening guidelines are very tight. Theusual strategy is to draw the wells down quite fast duringclean-up, then slow down gradually, and finally open the wellslowly. A horizontal multiple propped fracture in Tor formation, for instance, may take a year to reach full openingat separator pressure
17
 A Valhall redevelopment is on the way to optimize recoveryand deal with subsidence. It includes a new production andhotel platform, planned to be in operation during 2009. Valhallis already considered a field of the future, in addition toemploying 4D seismic as a key reservoir management tool. Itwas also the first Norwegian field to feature a seismic receiver array permanently installed on the seabed.
Eldfisk
19
 
The Eldfisk field is located in the southern part of the Norwegian North Sea. It was discovered in 1970 and came on production in 1978. The original development consisted of three facilities. In 1999, a new water injection facility wasinstalled, based on horizontal injection wells. Eldfisk has anOOIP of 2.8 billion barrel of oil (37
o
API) and 4,600 billionscf gas. The reservoir drive is comprised by 30% from rock-compaction, 30% from gas influx, 20% from oil expansionand 20% from water influx. Eldfisk suffered similar problems

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