Just-In-Time-Perforating (JITP) was developed by ExxonMobil over a decade ago to improve multi-zone stimulation in vertical and S-shaped wells in the Piceance basin, Colorado. With this technology, multiple single-zone fracture stimulations are performed on a single wireline run using ball sealers and perforating guns that remain downhole during the fracturing treatment. This results in substantial cost reduction and productivity uplift because perforation intervals are individually and effectively treated one at a time with less horse power, smaller number of frac plugs, and fewer wireline runs. The method has been successfully implemented by ExxonMobil in more than 350 wells and over 10,000 treatments and is licensed to a number of service companies.
There is substantial business incentive to implement the JITP technique in horizontal wells, extensively used in unconventional gas developments. With XTO Energy joining ExxonMobil, the global gas portfolio incremented by 45 trillion cubic feet. This includes conventional gas, shale gas as well as other unconventional resources, such as tight gas, coal bed methane, and shale oil.
This paper presents the first application of JITP in horizontal wells. Operations were conducted in the Fayetteville Shale, Arkansas. The paper discusses advantages and disadvantages of the method as well as lessons learned from pre-field trials and full-well implementations. Critical to the success of the initial technology application was the enforcement of a structured approach which included technical feasibility studies, contractor qualification, pre-field trials, well candidate selection, and a deployment plan to capture learnings and best practices. Pre-field trials were executed in several wells to test potential technical/operational concerns, such as sand build-up around perforating guns, fluid diversion with buoyant and non-buoyant ball sealers, and the ability to move guns through the lateral. Preliminary field costs and production performance in horizontal wells are promising and support continued deployment of the technology.