Wellbore designs and completions can positively impact long-term production in directional wells, but many directionally drilled wells are designed today without regard for future pump applications. Communication between drilling, completion, and production teams is often poor, and this negatively impacts the ability to produce in liquid-rich multiphase environments. This situation is especially true as the well matures. Early collaboration between these groups is imperative to maximize production options. Without such cooperation, many directional wells are designed without future pump success in mind. Consequently, electrical submersible pumping systems (ESPs) are excluded as a viable artificial lift solution in a majority of directionally drilled wells.
ESP technology advances have made ESPs viable in many multiphase liquid-rich wells. Ignoring current ESP capabilities ultimately diminishes production over the life of some wells. Many of these directional wells flow naturally, but liquid loading reduces production without artificial lift. ESPs can be the most productive method for reducing reservoir pressure and optimizing production, and they should be considered when designing a wellbore. The Mississippian Lime in Oklahoma and Kansas (though not a shale play) has many similar attributes of a liquid-rich shale.
This paper includes a case study from the Mississippian play for a horizontal drilling plan and completion technique aimed at optimizing pump performance. "Pump-friendly" fundamentals for wellbore design and geometry are presented.
This paper concludes that increased awareness and implementation of a few basic principles will pay huge early dividends as the well matures.