In recent years, horizontal drilling has become increasingly important to the oil and gas industry to enable efficient access to complex structures and marginal fields and to increase the reservoir contact area. New technologies have emerged during this time to address post-drilling intervention challenges in such wells. However, complexity of operations in horizontal wells is much higher than that of the vertical wells; therefore effectiveness of the selected technique has a major impact on the operational success and economics. In depressed market environment, economical and operational effectiveness becomes even more important especially when it’s down to complicated, challenging projects that require not only large investments but also simultaneous and continuous utilization of multiple resources, technical disciplines and assets. This paper reviews and compares different ways of horizontal multizonal well preparation for hydraulic fracture stimulation using plug & perf technique in challenging downhole conditions - differential pressures over 15,000 psi, presence of depleted zones complicating cleanout and milling operations between the frac stages, depth control issues.
In PDO, there are some gas fields sharing similar downhole conditions whereas fracturing operations are complicated by the requirement of CT cleanouts and/or milling in between the stages. A horizontal well development trial has been implemented to evaluate its economic efficiency and prospects. Depending on the success of this trial, this approach can be spread to other fields with similar characteristics. In these trial wells, multistage completion technologies were not available due to either differential pressure limitations, downhole conditions or completion restrictions, therefore conventional plug & perf approach had to be applied. Such approach, in turn, becomes very challenging in horizontal wells crossing several different formations having multiple severely depleted intervals along the wellbore. These challenges include not only cleanout efficiency and precise depth control during zonal isolation and perforation but also conveyance capabilities.
Several different techniques have been tried in PDO so as to discover the most efficient and economical way to complete this task: CT with deployed wireline cable, CT with fiber optic cable, DH tractors and conventional CT with GR-CCl tools in memory mode. All of them have their pros and cons and while saving some money in one small thing, a technique may cause major losses in the other and an operator needs to select the optimum approach taking into consideration multiple aspects.
All technologies covered in the paper are well known in the oil business; however some of them were tried in an uncommon environment. For example, although not commonly used in horizontal frac applications (except for perforating for the first stage), tractors were used for plug setting and perforating between the stages and that required well cleaned wellbore for each run which is not an easily achievable task in a horizontal wells with multiple depleted zones. With certain measures aimed to improve their performance, tractors proved their efficiency; these measures are also discussed in this paper. Advantages and disadvantages of CT conveyance in comparison to tractor have also been discussed.
E-line tractor technology has been successfully deployed in the Sultanate of Oman for reservoir surveillance using production logging assemblies in mature fields. Tractors provide specific advantages, as compared to other forms of conveyance, such as coiled tubing, and can successfully negotiate complex well trajectories in both horizontal openhole and cased hole well completions, enabling acquisition of good quality flow profiles in producers and injectors.