Coiled tubing fracturing has been successfully applied in multi-stage vertical well stimulation in the Belridge diatomite in the Lost Hills field. This same methodology was used to complete two northwest-trending horizontal wells drilled on the northeast flank of the Lost Hills anticlinal structure that targeted thinner higher oil-saturation strata, separated by thicker low oil-saturation intervals. The target reservoir is comprised of high porosity, low matrix permeability Opal A diatomite.

The perforations were jetted by pumping sand slurry down the coiled tubing and the frac job was pumped down the annulus. The stages were isolated by setting sand plugs. Nine and twelve stages were pumped in the two wells respectively. The perforation locations for different stages were selected in areas with: 1) high resistivity and inferred high oil saturations, 2) absence of hydraulic fractures from nearby wells, 3) excellent cement bonding, and 4) low intensity of natural fractures. These assessments followed logging while drilling (LWD) gamma ray, induction resistivity and azimuthally focused resistivity (image) logs and cased-hole ultrasonic image tool (USIT) run with the aid of a tractor. The hydraulic fractures were monitored using surface tiltmeter sensors. Oil and water soluble tracers were pumped to determine the relative production contribution from the stages and fracture fluid cleanup, respectively, from the stages. All the jobs could be successfully pumped without any screen outs. Challenges were faced in setting sand plugs and isolating stages. Large fracture widths and low leak-off into the formation led to difficulty in forming sand bridges at the perforations and concentrating sand in the wellbore for the plugs. Surface tiltmeters showed excessive fracture height growth. Tracer results showed that 20-30% of the stages contributed to 50-60% of the production. Stages with higher treating pressures contributed less towards production. This could be attributed to near wellbore tortuosity in these stages. Proppant flowback was encountered in one well, and after an effective clean up the production rose.

The study illustrates how integration of various aspects such as completion design, fracture pressure analysis and diagnostics combined with geologic and reservoir information can help in identifying challenges and finding potential solutions of hydraulic fracturing. The findings highlight that the technology most suitable for vertical well stimulation might not be favorable for horizontal well stimulation.

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