This paper presents the continuing evolution of our Bakken advanced completion design with the added enhancement of Extreme Limited Entry (XLE) perforating. With this cost-effective XLE strategy, we are consistently stimulating more than eleven perforation clusters per stage. Confirmation of this high number of active clusters, or fracture initiation points, has been directly measured with radioactive tracers and fiber optic diagnostics, and more importantly, is validated through improved production relative to offset completions. The goal of this strategy is to consistently and confidently drive a high number of clusters per stage, ultimately increasing capital efficiency by right sizing the cluster and stage count per well.
Practically, the number of stages for a 9,500-ft. lateral is limited to 40 or 50 stages in the Bakken due to operational and cost limits. We believe the published trends on stage count are fundamentally linked to the number of active clusters per stage or fracture initiation points, and by driving significantly more active clusters per stage with XLE perforating in combination with previously presented High Density Perforating (HDP), we now have proven the ability to reduce stage count without sacrificing performance.
Liberty now incorporates XLE as a key design technique to successfully stimulate 15 clusters per stage. Production performance is encouraging and post frac fiber optic diagnostics support prior radioactive proppant tracer data in showing that over 11 of the 15 clusters shot can be stimulated with slickwater at 80 bpm. XLE operational considerations for frac plug ratings, oriented perforating, even-hole perforating charges, variable pipe friction and a review of existing papers on limited entry are included as well.
Limited entry perforating has been around for over 50 years; however, its effectiveness has been limited in the horizontal revolution due to insufficient perforation friction relative to the variability in stress and near-wellbore tortuosity found within a stage. This paper presents the improved results for specifically designing perforations and stimulation injection rates to achieve diversion to almost all 15 perforation clusters per stage. For this paper, we define XLE as completion designs with perforation friction exceeding 2,000 psi. Since the beginning of 2015 we have reduced our standard stage count from 50 down to 27, for a 9,500-ft lateral, while continuing to significantly outperform offset operators. When it comes to value creation, the cost per barrel of oil produced is a critical metric to assess development opportunities and achieving the same or increased oil production with less capital has led to significant gains in capital efficiency.