Continuous improvement in completions designs leading to an increased return on asset development is one of the primary focuses of operating companies. To continue driving towards this goal, an operator looked to continuously optimize completions designs in their acreage in Bakken, North Dakota. There were two parallel paths taken to a) reduce CAPEX on wells (optimizing completions costs) and b) optimize completions designs towards increased recovery. The challenge with the design changes and validation was the time for evaluation. One of primary objectives of this campaign discussed in this paper was to reduce the "reaction time", and be able to make improvements to completions designs in a timely manner

Fiber optics was identified as a technology that could help achieve the campaign's optimization and continuous improvement goals. Coiled tubing-(CT) deployed fiber was run after fracturing treatment in wells to identify fracture initiation points (FIPs). Using FIPs as a proxy for completion effectiveness enables more rapid treatment evaluation than waiting months to use production volumes for the same purpose, the fundamental assumption being that more FIPs ultimately leads to higher production rates. Treatment evaluation data helped the operator understand the effectiveness of various completion designs and make step changes in design for incremental improvement. This analytics campaign is ongoing and treatment evaluation has been performed for more than 20 wells. Treatment evaluation is typically performed in the same CT run as post-fracturing cleanout, reducing the incremental cost of the data acquisition and improving operational efficiency.

The operator was able to achieve project goals using fiber-optics technology. Key findings:

  • Reaction time for completions design changes evaluation changed from about 6 months historically to 1 month by using coiled tubing-deployed fiber optics, which meant faster improvements and better realized returns

  • Up to 25% increase in production was achieved

  • Up to 8% reduction in capital for completions of the wells was realized

  • Multiple design changes could be evaluated along a single lateral.

Fiber-optics technology was uniquely used to accelerate the learning curve by reducing the time required to evaluate the effectiveness of completion designs. Evaluating multiple wells created a large, statistically relevant, dataset which has boosted confidence in implementing completions changes.

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