Abstract

Out-Of-Sequence (OOS) Fracturing can potentially maximize reservoir contact and fracture conductivity/connectivity by creating fracture complexity via reducing the stress anisotropy. It is initiated by fracturing two "book-end" frac stages (Outside Fracs), followed by a ‘middle" stage (Centre Frac) between them. The Center Frac is theorized to utilize the reduced stress anisotropy to activate pre-existing failure surfaces oriented at various azimuths and dip angles, thereby connecting bi-wing fractures to planes of weakness (natural fractures/fissures/faults/joints/cleats) and resulting in a complex fracture network that enhances connectivity and fracture area within the Stimulated Reservoir Volume (SRV). OOS Fracturing can mitigate possible issues in treatments aiming at creating fracture complexity, including zipper frac (fracture tip interference and blunting inhibiting fracture extension), modified zipper frac (risks of well bashing and fractures growing asymmetrically opposite of the induced stress from prior stage in the adjacent well), simultaneous frac (middle clusters experiencing larger stress interference inhibiting their growth), and high-rate fracturing (risk of cluster erosion reducing the limited entry effect and premature screenout due to inconsistent diversions inside fractures).

Since its inception in early 2010s, OOS Fracturing has not gained considerable attention due to previously-existing operational limitations in fracturing out-of-sequence. It is reported to have been field tested in Western Siberia in 2014 with claimed well performance success. Operational limitations of the system employed in that trial is believed to have prevented its commercial development at that time. With the advent of Multicycle Sleeves and Shift-Frac-Close operation with a single Bottom-Hole Assembly to open and close sleeves, previous operational limitations of OOS Fracturing have been resolved. OOS Fracturing has since been trialed in three formations in Western Canada (2017/2018). This work analyzes the fracture treatment pressures and well performance of these trials.

Five OOS Fracturing trials in these three formations reveal that normalized 15-month/18-month production from out-of-sequence-fractured wells outperform that of sequentially-fractured offsets, with similar formation properties and treatment designs. Instantaneous Shut-In Pressures (ISIP) of Centre Frac are generally higher than that of either Outside Fracs. Breakdown pressures for Centre Fracs exhibit a mixed trend, confirming that reducing stress anisotropy could lower the breakdown gradient (based on Kirsch Equation) if rock fabric permits. Well performance and treatment pressures appear to be more sensitive to Centre Frac proppant tonnage/fluid volumes and uneven sleeve spacing.

This is the first attempt in analyzing the five OOS Fracturing trials, with encouraging well performance and operational execution in conventional reservoirs where it was deployed. Despite uneven sleeve spacing, depletion due to offset production, and less favorable geomechanical properties (high Poisson’s Ratio and low Young’s Modulus), field trials produced favorable results. True potential of non-sequential fracturing is potentially more promising in unconventional reservoirs with formation properties more conducive to complex fracture generation.

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