As unconventional oil and gas fields mature, operators and service providers are looking toward, and collaborating on, creative and alternative methods for enhancing production from existing wells, especially in the absence of, or at least the reduction of, new well activity. While oil and gas price environments remain uncertain, recent price-improvement trends are supporting greater field testing and implementation of innovative applications, albeit with caution and with cost savings in mind. Not only is cost-effectiveness a requirement, but cost-reducing applications and solutions can be, too.

Of particular interest are applications addressing challenging well-production needs such as reducing or eliminating liquid loading in gas wells; restimulating existing, underperforming wells, including as an alternative to new well drilling and completion; and remediating water blocking and condensate buildup, both of which can impair production from gas wells severely. The three papers featured this month represent a variety of applications relevant to these particular well-production needs.

The first paper presents a technology and method for liquid removal to improve gas production and reserves recovery in unconventional, liquid-rich reservoirs using subsurface wet-gas compression. Liquid loading, a recurring issue downhole, can severely reduce gas production and be costly to remediate repeatedly, which can be required. This paper discusses the full technology application process and the supportive results of the first field trial conducted in an unconventional shale gas well.

The second paper discusses the application of the fishbone stimulation system and technique in a tight carbonate oil-bearing formation. Fishbone stimulation has been around for several years now, but its best applications and potential have not necessarily been fully understood in the well-stimulation community. This paper summarizes a successful pilot application resulting in a multifold increase in oil-production rate and walks the reader through the details of the pilot candidate selection, completion design, operational challenges, and lessons learned.

The third paper introduces and proposes a chemical treatment to alleviate phase trapping in tight carbonate gas reservoirs. Phase trapping can be in the form of water blocking or increasing condensate buildup from near the wellbore and extending deeper into the formation over time. Both can reduce relative permeability to gas severely. Water blocks can be a one-time occurrence from drilling, completion, workover, or stimulation operations and can often be treated effectively with solvent plus proper additive solutions. Similar treatments for condensate banking in gas wells, however, can provide only temporary alleviation, if they are even effective. This paper proposes a technique for longer-term remediation of phase trapping in tight carbonate gas reservoirs using a unique, slowly reactive fluid system.

Recommended additional reading at OnePetro:

SPE 200345 - Insights Into Field Application of Enhanced-Oil-Recovery Techniques From Modeling of Tight Reservoirs With Complex High-Density Fracture Network by Geng Niu, CGG, et al.

SPE 201413 - Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test Analysis and Simulation: A Utica Shale Field Study by Jeffery Hildebrand, The University of Texas at Austin, et al.

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