Horizontal completion technology has progressed dramatically over the last six years, with the latest technical barriers being eclipsed with open-hole technology. These completions have allowed multiple zones to be fractured and the benefits of utilizing open-hole horizontal completion technology have been well documented. The efficiencies and benefits of utilizing open-hole completion with mechanical isolation, has lead to the operational benefits of multiple fracturing operations being pumped in one continuous operation equating to time savings, more efficient fractures, faster cleanup and less safety hazards. Conventional methods of cementing a liner in place, perforating, fracturing and repeating the process for the number of stages required can be very time consuming with added expense of removing the frac plugs with coiled tubing after the operations have been completed.
When drilling a horizontal well, there are two preferred completion options. First, the horizontal section can be completed open-hole or with slotted/preperforated liner. In these completions effective stimulation along the horizontal wellbore is almost impossible. The second completion system, cased/perforated liner, requires cementing the production liner and running multiple isolation systems to effectively treat different sections of the wellbore. Multiple coiled tubing trips and multiple rig-up and rig-down of the stimulation equipment is required. These multi-stage horizontal completions take weeks to complete at high costs and elevated risks. Ultimately, the high completion costs or the lack of production due to ineffective stimulation make many reservoirs uneconomical to exploit.
This paper will discuss the new completion designed specifically for open-hole fracturing of both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. This innovative, field proven system greatly increases the effectiveness of fracturing operations by segmenting the lateral and producing mechanical isolation points in the wellbore using the high performance open-hole packers. The system allows precision placement of fracturing fluids to maximize post-fracture productivity of the well. The completion system is run as part of an uncemented liner and spaced out based on the required number of stages. Once in place the packers are hydraulically set and fracturing treatments are pumped in separate stages but as a single continuous operation. By eliminating cementing requirements, natural fractures are undamaged and easily stimulated during pumping operations.