The use of sliding sleeve completions has been widely recognized as an efficient and effective means of completing horizontal laterals in unconventional reservoirs for several years. Recently, the focus shifted to optimizing stage spacing and number of stages per lateral. Even with such optimization the entire lateral was not effectively stimulated and drained. In this 15-well pad pilot study, we focused not only on optimizing the design but also on achieving uniform drainage along the lateral.

A treatment design using biodegradable diverters to split each stage into two proppant cycles was recommended. The diverter was used on 5 of the 14 wells completed. Total proppant and fluid volumes, as well as proppant and fluid types, were the same on conventionally-treated and diverter-treated wells. Average treating rates and operation procedures were also similar over the entire study group. After stimulation, the wells were turned on with identical chokes and produced similarly. Daily oil, gas, and water rates were monitored over eight months and compared.

Production was normalized on a cumulative barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) per foot of lateral basis. Results showed the diverter-treated wells produced 28% more than the conventionally-treated wells at eight months, with the margin increasing. Although all wells were completed on the same pad, at the subsurface level they covered over two miles of structurally variable formation. A multivariate analysis incorporating subsurface, drilling, completion, and production properties was also conducted to determine the most important parameters contributing to hydrocarbon recovery.

This study shows that diverters can be incorporated in sliding sleeve completions to lower the total cost per BOE and increase hydrocarbon recovery. This diverter design and technology continues to be implemented in projects with success and positive impacts on production.

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