A new class of shaped charge was introduced to the industry in late 2007 that generates a secondary reaction in the perforation tunnel immediately after it has been formed. The reaction is highly energetic and drives the break up and expulsion of crushed zone material and compacted debris. This profoundly alters the geometry and quality of the resulting tunnels when compared to conventional perforators and underbalanced perforating techniques. This leads to significant improvements in the percentage of open, effective tunnels, the productivity of the perforated interval, and the ease and reliability with which the perforated formation can be stimulated.

Since their launch, reactive perforating systems have been applied to a variety of well and formation types – both conventional and unconventional – under a wide range of pressure and effective stress conditions. As a result, the applicability of the reactive perforating concept is being demonstrated and accepted for an increasing number of situations. Nevertheless, the industry is only just beginning to understand how reactive perforating can be applied and how well and completion designs should be optimized to take full advantage of the benefits this new technology affords.

This paper describes the application of reactive perforators to a number of geographically and lithologically different situations, for the purpose of transferring generic learnings and identifying opportunities for further study. Several clear opportunity areas are already emerging, such as perforating prior to hydraulic fracturing – notably in unconventional gas plays – and re-perforation of depleted or damaged intervals. Other areas are still to be properly explored, such as perforation prior to acidization – especially in carbonates, perforation of unconsolidated sandstones, and perforation of injection wells.

In conclusion the paper identifies those areas where the technology has shown greatest success and summarizes the key learnings that will assist operators in shortening their own learning curve when applying reactive perforator technology.

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