Recent advances in multi-stage stimulation technologies, including open- and cased-hole types, have largely overlooked the advantages of single-zone stimulation due to hardware and cost limitations. In most conventional methods, multiple perf clusters are treated at once using one single frac stage with the expectation that equally-stimulated fractures will be created at each perf cluster within tens and hundreds of feet. This creates over-stimulation in some perf clusters and under-stimulation in others, which unveils the current economic and practical limits of effectively creating fractures where needed, not where it is possible to place them. Other methods use a large number of frac plugs which require additional wireline trips and later need to be drilled out, increasing the total cost and mechanical risk of the completion. As lateral length increases, many operators also face the challenge of not being able to remove all frac plugs due to coiled-tubing depth limitations.

This paper introduces the recent implementation of Just-In-Time Perforating (JITP) in shale gas, unconventional plays. JITP is one of the Multi-Zone Stimulation Technologies (MZST) developed and patented by ExxonMobil over a decade ago and extensively used in vertical and S-shaped wells in the Piceance basin, Colorado, and recently implemented in the XTO Fayetteville Shale, Arkansas. JITP creates multiple single-zone fracture stimulations on a single wireline run using ball-sealer diversion and perforating guns that remain downhole during fracturing. Other key features of this method are the use of less horse power, significant reduction in the number of frac plugs, fewer wireline runs, and added flexibility in water management. This paper describes the technical advantages and business justification for applying JITP in unconventional resources and also provides preliminary results from the performance of the JITP field trials in horizontal wells.

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