Multi-stage/multi-cluster hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wellbores is a key technology driving the development of unconventional resources in North America. Several engineering technologies developed over the past decade are readily available for operators to help enhance production. The advantages of technology integration for creating multiple transverse fractures in horizontal wellbores have been well documented.
Given the rapid pace of development, many operators strive to standardize completion programs to drive consistency and efficiency in operations and well performance. The key parameters that maximize production in unconventional reservoirs are not dissimilar to the key parameters proven successful time and again in conventional completion designs and fracturing treatments. Generating fracture complexity may be important in unconventional reservoirs, but maximum reservoir contact does not necessarily translate to an effectively stimulated reservoir. Fracture length, fracture conductivity and fracture spacing in multi-cluster/multi-stage completions are first-order parameters that can be engineered. However, additional completion and design considerations for unconventional wells such as natural fracture saturation, mid-field fracture complexity, mechanical fracture interaction and transverse fracture production interference must be considered to enhance production and maximize economics.
This paper will focus on technology integration for the Wolfcamp A reservoir using a discrete fracture network (DFN) model for predicting fracture geometry, formation evaluation, oil and fluid tracers, microseismic monitoring and production history matching. The methodology includes: 1) utilization of current fundamental engineering principles and procedures for completion design, 2) simulator calibration to improve predictive models and 3) production history matching and forecasting.
Application of this integrated technology approach will help provide the operator with a systematic approach for designing, analyzing, and optimizing multi-stage/multi-cluster transverse hydraulic fractures in horizontal wellbores. Readers of this paper will gain insight on how sound engineering, fracture modeling and data integration can increase recovery and optimize completions in the Wolfcamp formations. Those working in the Delaware and Midland basins can directly apply the principles presented in this paper to enhance the productivity and economics of their completions.