Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques continue to drive the profitable development of previously uneconomical reservoirs. In many basins across the world, economic exploration and production activities are a prerequisite for developing these unconventional reservoir projects, as well as vertically-drilled conventional reservoir projects. The specific examples in this paper are located in the Anadarko Basin and Appalachian Basin.
Completion diagnostics are being employed to validate the drilling and completion optimization of wells across all of the major unconventional plays in North America. This paper focuses on three specific projects in which the diagnostics implemented in horizontal completion programs led to significant cost reductions and efficiency gains. All of the wells in the discussed projects utilized at least one type of completion diagnostics to implement cost savings or optimize drilling and completion practices.
Eliminating unnecessary wellbore interventions reduces costs and lowers operational risks. In order to justify the need for a wellbore intervention, completion diagnostics are applied during the stimulation treatment. The first case history in this paper reviews data that support the decision to reduce costs by not milling out completion hardware, as well as supporting the expenditure for a wellbore intervention when data indicate flow obstructions along the lateral.
The second case history illustrates the evaluation of completion methods ranging from different openhole systems to a cemented plug and perf completion that had a failed cement job. The post treatment diagnostic data are illustrated with actions taken to further optimize the drilling and completion practices in the future.
The third and final case history is an interwell communication study that uses fluid tracers to evaluate potential areas of acreage that could be left unaccessed. Interwell communication is evaluated for toe-to-toe communication to determine if the area between toes in adjacent pad completions is sufficiently accessed.