The Eagle Ford Shale in the southern part of Texas is a carbonate-rich, oil-producing, organic shale. Typically, wells are drilled horizontally through the target section of the Eagle Ford shale formation. A long string production casing is then run and cemented in place. A plug and perforate completion helps enable hydraulic fracturing of multiple target intervals along the lateral section of the wellbore. Before fracturing the wellbore, pressure testing of the casing string to the maximum fracturing pressure has become an industry best practice. Then, a flow path is created at the toe of the wellbore using tubing-conveyed perforating (TCP) guns run into the wellbore on coiled tubing (CT).

With the constant drive to improve efficiency and lower completion costs, pressure-activated toe sleeves (PATS) have rapidly replaced the TCP CT run to create the initial fluid flow path. The PATS is run as part of the completion casing and cemented in place. Internal casing pressure is then applied to open the PATS and create the flow path. However, to accomplish a casing pressure test, the first generation PATS design must have the activation pressure set higher than the testing pressure. The casing test pressure must then be exceeded to open the PATS which is not ideal operationally for a variety of reasons.

This paper reviews a case study where a new, second generation PATS was used in an Eagle Ford shale well to allow a true casing pressure test and provide the initial flow path. The paper discusses the subject well, design, and operation of second generation PATS technology, and presents the results of the application. The positive economic impacts are also reviewed. The paper draws conclusions based on the results from the subject well, operation of the new PATS tool, and the economic impact experienced.

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