Abstract

North American market with growing trend of unconventional shale gas reservoirs has warranted rapid development in hydraulic fracturing technology. The long horizontal wells are completed using multi zone plug and perf method that requires multiple zones to be fracked optimally to minimize nonproductive time (NPT). Frac plugs plays vital role in hydraulic fracturing in isolating the multiple zones of the wellbore for operations up to 10,000 psi pressure and 250°F temperature. In this paper advanced computational analysis is conducted to optimize the composite frac plug design for successful operations. Comprehensive laboratory testing is conducted, and digital solutions are compared against the test data to validate the new composite frac plug design. The traditional frac plug design requires effort in milling out the plug and further flushing out the cuttings that adds to the operational time. An alternative is to utilize composite plug that allows ease in milling and reduction in cuttings than traditional design. Numerical analysis is conducted to evaluate the feasibility of composite frac plug design utilizing three-dimensional finite element analysis (FEA) simulations to predict the slip holding capacity. Extensive laboratory testing is conducted for the composite frac plug to validate the digital analysis results. FEA simulations are performed for different configurations of frac plug design by varying number of slip buttons and composite material for slips. FEA results underscored best possible slip button configuration that can successfully work at desired pressure and temperature. Laboratory testing corroborated with digital analysis results and indicated as efficient design that reduced NPT and ensured successful hydraulic fracturing operations. This work assisted in optimizing design quickly and reduced time and cost associated with laboratory testing. This work elucidates use of digital solutions along with laboratory testing for design optimization of composite frac plug. This frac plug has been successfully utilized for several jobs in Marcellus shale play.

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