Diversion has been widely promoted as a technology that can both, lower the cost and increase the efficiency of plug-and-perforating completions (PnP). There are many diversion materials and techniques available today including; balls, chemicals, etc. A new product, informally referred as "pods" consisting of knotted degradable fibers delivered in a capsule, has gained significant interest within the industry.
We tested this new diversion material, "pods", in four stages in one of our wells instrumented with a fiber optic cable deployed behind casing. The FO results clearly showed that although perforations were plugged following "pods" deployment, the diagnostics also revealed that the outcome was not the desired one, which is to divert a portion of the treatment to understimulated clusters. In all the stages tested, the material did not re-open screened-out clusters. Furthermore, the frac placement distribution effectiveness was worse after the deployment of the diverter material.
All the tested stages showed the expected treatment pressure increase at the surface corresponding to the "pods" blocking some of the perforations. It is important to highlight that in the absence of downhole FO technology all these tests would have been categorized as successful. However, when the number of "pods" was increased to try to improve their performance, we ended up blocking so many perforations that the stimulation could not continue due to pressure limitations. This integrated approach toward the testing of this new technology demonstrated that there was a clear downside risk in utilizing this diversion technology in many wells without a full understanding of how this diverter material was interacting downhole with the clusters and perforations. The paper highlights the pitfalls and risks of relying on a single diagnostic tool (surface treatment pressure) to evaluate emerging technologies.
Fundamentally, there are two ways to empirically test new completion designs and stimulation technologies: Production-only-Pilots (PoP) and Integrated-Frac-Diagnostics-Pilots (IFDP). While better PnP efficiency is not the only intended use for "pods", the IFDP approach and FO monitoring used in this test has enabled a rapid and cost-effective testing of this technology application at a fraction of the cost and time of a PoP test.