Most successful completions in the Wilmington Field, Long Beach, CA, must address two concerns: 1) formation sand control and 2) damage bypass / reservoir stimulation. For many years the completion strategies in this field have included some combination of conventional circulating gravel packs and fracture stimulations using resin coated sand.
Recent evaluations have demonstrated that inadequate proppant conductivity is restricting well production. This led to fracture stimulation of wells with high quality ceramic proppants. Even in a modest stress environment, ceramic proppants increase conductivity and reduce non Darcy effects, thereby resulting in more productive fracture treatments.
To bypass formation damage and increase production via fracture stimulation, while maintaining sand control in an economic fashion, an annular, stackable frac pack technique was employed. The sand control treatments were designed to be durable, low skin, and provide excellent wellbore to formation connection.
The disadvantages of frac packs and ceramic proppants are complexity and cost. In older fields where margins are tight, these disadvantages may seem to outweigh the advantages and can erroneously remove frac packs and ceramic proppants from consideration.
However, the authors found that combining simple, economical, stackable frac pack tools with ceramic proppant resulted in completions with higher production and more robust economics than prior completion practices.