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Packers Plus Case Study


StackFRAC systems successfully deliver both proppant and acid stimulations offshore Congo
Republic of the Congo Atlantic Ocean
Drawing from their success with Packers Plus in similar fields, including the Kitina and Foukanda, the Operator used the
Pointe Noire

Packers Plus StackFRAC multi-stage completion system to segment the wells into stages and conduct both stimulation types. The StackFRAC system gave the


Democratic Republic of the Congo

Operator the flexibility to reach fracture pressure with both acid and proppant. In addition, the system provided the ability to close water-producing zones in the wellbore through use of the Drillable Closeable (DC) FracPORT sleeve. This allowed the Operator to fracture only the upper and middle sections of Well-1 (Table 1).

Since 2008, a major Operator in West Africa has been developing the offshore AWA-Paloukou oil field near Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo. The target formation in this field encompasses the Sendji carbonates consisting of a mixture of limestone and sandstone of varying qualities and exhibiting poor petrophysical properties. Tests also revealed that the formation was more than 80% soluble with 15% hydrochloric acid (HCl). To determine how to best develop this low permeability carbonate field, the Operator drilled four wells deviated 10 degrees from vertical, and used two stimulation techniques for comparison. The first stimulation design involved proppant fracturing, and the second used acid fracturing. Ideal conditions for acid fracturing include carbonate content between 75 and 95% and bottom hole temperature less than 250F. Proppant fractures are known to result in better fracture conductivity than acid fractures; however, as permeability decreases, this fracture conductivity becomes less important.

Because of their high solubility, carbonate formations are preferentially acid fractured; whereas, sandstone is typically proppant fractured. However, there are no guidelines for fracturing mixed formations with solubility greater than 70% with HCl. The Operator wanted to compare the two completion designs in a single reservoir in order to answer the question as to which method should be used in a mixed formation. The Sendji carbonates lent themselves well to this study because they contain a heterogeneous mixture of both rock types and would, in theory, react positively to either completion method. There was an additional risk of breaking into water-bearing zones above and below the target formation making tolerances in executing the designed completion tight.
Table 1: Stimulation type and fracture half lengths

The rst two wells were hydraulically fractured with 20/40 size, intermediate-strength ceramic proppant. Two stages were placed in the rst well and three in the second. The third well had three stages, two were acid fractured and one was matrix acidized with 20% HCl. The fourth well was acid fractured using 20% HCl in all three stages. Table 1 shows that the proppant fracture half lengths generally measured longer than the acid fracture half lengths; however, the acid fractures produced better initial production (IP) volumes (Figure 1).


# Stages



Fracture Half Lengths (m)

1 2 3 4

2 3 3 3

cased hole open hole open hole open hole

proppant proppant acid acid

34 165 9 19

42 75 33 50

105 60

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The proppant fractured wells observed IP values below that of the exploration well in the eld. Stabilized production was also below expected levels. In order to improve production, an acid wash was conducted to reduce the positive skin factor produced by damage from the proppant fracture itself. Once cleaned, the proppant fractured wells and the acid fractured wells observed comparable production (Figure 1). This study showed that treatment selection is not always straightforward and should be carefully designed and selected. In low

permeability reservoirs like AWA-Paloukou with high solubility, acid fracturing may be a cheaper, more attractive solution with less associated issues like proppant owback and post-treatment clean-up. No matter what treatment is selected, whether acid or proppant, the Packers Plus StackFRAC system has the ability to successfully deliver it.

This information was originally presented at the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held in Florence, Italy, 19-22 September 2011. SPE 134905 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Well Start Up 1st Acid Wash


Well 1 Well 2 Well 3

1st Acid Job

Oil Rate (sm3 /d)



Well Start Up Acid Clean Up


Well Start Up Acid Clean Up


0 1-Dec-2008 11-Mar-2009 19-Jun-2009 27-Sep-2009 5-Jan-2010 15-Apr-2010 24-Jul-2010

Figure 1: Well 1, 2 and 3 production plots

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Some or all of the systems, methods or products discussed herein may be covered by one or more patents, or patents pending. Copyright 2013 Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. All rights reserved. 13_02_062 INT 07-FEB-2013