Plug-and-perf is the most commonly used method for multistage hydraulic fracturing treatments in North America Shale. To execute and finish a plug-and-perf job, coiled tubing, or stick pipe, is deployed into the wellbore to drill out the composite plugs to open the wellbore for production. The drillout operation carries a burden of planning and oversight, as well as the risk of stuck pipe. In an effort to eliminate those burdens and risks, scientists have developed revolutionary materials that could alter the plug-and-perf landscape. These materials, when exposed in the right environments, can predictably disintegrate providing for a simple, yet dependable solution to eliminate the drillout phase of plug-and-perf completions.
The implementation of a completely disintegrating plug represents a tremendous challenge to both design engineering and material development. The goal of the technology is to be a complete replacement product for composite plugs while still maintaining their primary benefits: flexible stage placement and full production potential through the inside diameter (ID) of the casing.
This paper outlines the research, design, and testing of the first 100-ksi rated material combined with a corrosion rate above 100 mg/cm2/hr. The mechanical properties and corrosion rates were characterized from room temperature to 300°F. The material functionality was investigated using Finite Elemental Analysis (FEA) models and stringently tested in laboratory configurations to determine its downhole performance. The results showed that the configuration gripped the ID of the casing without slipping or material degradation at 10,000-psi pressure rating. The benefits and considerations of introducing this advanced material are discussed for multistage fracturing in cased-holed applications.