There is a very significant move today towards multiple zone fracturing operations in a single well where zones are separated and individually fractured, particularly in shale gas completions. This technique has to date involved the use of ball seat activated sliding sleeves located across each zone, with consequent reductions in internal diameter (ID) and attendant flow characteristic limitations or selective perforating, fracing and isolation with a bridge plug in a cemented casing string while working up the hole. Both approaches involve many downhole intervention operations such as perforating, shifting sleeves, running plugs and subsequently milling them up with coiled tubing (CT) intervention, all of which extend the length of the operation and add to the overall costs.

To simplify the process of multiple fracturing operations, especially in open hole, a new approach has been designed which uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) techniques to remotely operate sliding sleeves. The number of sleeves that can be run in a well using this technology is essentially unlimited, each one having the same ID and a unique electronic address which allows it to be operated remotely at will. This approach provides for a means of making considerably more zones available for treatment without physical intervention with CT or wireline and thereby speeds the multiple frac operations and allows for wellbore clean up from the toe to the heel of the well.

In this paper the authors will describe the design and operation of the RFID operated frac sleeves and the advantages they provide. They will go on to detail the Worlds’ first remotely operated horizontal openhole frac completion where frac sleeves and swell packers were used in an extended reach horizontal shale gas well.

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