Propellants have been used in the oil and gas industry for a wide variety of applications including well cleanup, damaged zone treatment, and stimulation. In particular, propellants have a unique place in the industry as a stimulation / enhancement tool that can significantly improve productivity and lower operator costs. However, the success of a propellant-stimulation job depends not just on the operational design/deployment, but also the pre-job evaluation using predictive modelling tools.

This paper focuses on providing insight into the processes involved in propellant-based stimulation, successful case histories (propellants used as standalone tools and combined with the perforating process), and the modeling tools that are used to design and optimize propellant jobs. Case histories showing the benefits of using these tools to lower workover costs and restore productivity for injection and production will be presented. When used as a pre-frac perforating tool, propellants can reduce horsepower requirements by up to 35% in some cases.

Along with the propellant tools, a dynamic perforation modeling tool successfully models the event beforehand to mitigate risk and predict the viability of the process. The software simulates the dynamic response of a cased or uncased wellbore, its contents and the porous rock formation, to the energy released by gas-generating and stored pressure sources. In particular, the modeling tool can be applied to predict fracture propagation, near-wellbore cleanup and skin reduction during wireline and TCP operations.

The results from the case histories and the insight provided by the dynamic modeling software illustrate that, when properly applied, propellant tools can add tremendous value to completion operations by lowering costs and enhancing production. This paper also provides the framework for a completion engineer to better understand the design and optimization of a propellant-stimulation job.

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