Since the initial success of multi-stage fracturing in horizontal laterals in the Eagle Ford Shale, multiple completion techniques have been implemented to optimize productivity. This paper discusses completion practices being followed in the Hawkville field, encompassing La Salle and McMullen counties in south Texas. While slickwater treatments provided the initial successes in the dry gas areas of the Eagle Ford, hybrid and channel fracturing treatments quickly showed improved, if not at least equal success in the wet gas areas while utilizing significantly less fluid and proppant volumes. The challenge has been to determine an optimum balance between the various completions parameters to increase production with less cost.
Optimization of Eagle Ford stimulation techniques became the most important objectives for completion and production engineers over the last two years, since the first horizontal multi-stage well was completed in the Hawkville field. Fracturing fluid systems, treatment rates, proppant types and concentrations along with completion details such as number of clusters, number of stages, and perforation intervals in horizontal laterals created a large number of variables impacting production for any operator. Implementation of any technology requires proper evaluation metrics that minimize geology, petrophysical and completion uncertainties. This paper describes the evaluation process of a novel stimulation technology – channel fracturing based on a heterogeneous proppant placement technique, and its comparison to existing conventional slickwater and hybrid stimulation treatments. The focus will be on the evaluation of in-situ conditions, challenges and production evaluation of different completion techniques using the following methodologies: normalized production comparison, productivity index analysis, neural network trained self-organizing maps and numerical simulations.
The initial production (IP) of the wells completed with the channel fracturing technique was 32–37% better, compared to offset conventional slickwater and hybrid wells. A detailed evaluation of horizontal well performance is described in this paper, based on statistical approaches and reservoir modeling. The combination of two evaluation techniques substantiates the statement that the incorporation of the channel fracturing technology as part of the completion design had a positive impact for the stimulation of wells in the Eagle Ford formation.