Each shale play is unique with respect to geology, lithology, and production mechanism. In an unconventional reservoir shale play, success is dependent primarily on understanding the geology and reservoir properties. Once the geological and reservoir characteristics are understood, it is of paramount importance to improve well performance by optimizing the completion process and efficiencies gained in production operations. The South Texas Asset Team developed benchmark standard completions during the appraisal and initial development project phases. During this time, more detailed geological and reservoir characteristics were obtained by the team members. Hence, the need arose to develop a road map to an optimized completions plan. A comprehensive completions optimization plan was developed and implemented.

This paper reviews the evolution and development of the completion optimization plan for the Eagle Ford shale play. It will include the description of the comprehensive methodology that was followed to understand the reservoir, geological and petrophysical parameters of the Eagle Ford. The paper will also describe key factors to be considered while formulating a process for completions optimization. Results of the optimization plan and the lessons learned will be presented.

Information presented in this paper will provide a completion engineer with a better understanding of the factors to be considered to optimize shale play stimulation. This paper will also include a methodical approach for selecting appropriate and optimum completion solutions.


In recent years, unconventional reservoir stimulation has generated great interest globally and the advances in hydraulic fracturing have helped us harness these reservoirs effectively. The Barnett shale play initially served as the only study for shale completion evolution. Today, we have shortened the learning curve in newer shale plays and are achieving better completions in shorter time frame than in the past. It is very important to understand the geology and have good understanding of the reservoir, before optimizing the completions. Therefore, it is important to have a standard benchmark completion plan to evaluate the geology and the reservoir characteristics of the play. After drilling and completing over 200 wells across the Eagle Ford trend our geologic model has been tested, refined and recalibrated many times. Early observations and assumptions have now been solidified into proven technical concepts, where the key geologic performance drivers have been identified. It was realized that next important step in the development, was to have an optimized completion plan. A road map to completion optimization was needed, to test the key completion parameters on the wells and evaluate the test well performance. The plan was formulated and the implementation on the candidate wells began in May, 2012. This paper discusses in detail the process of the formulation, the implementation of the plan, and the results of one of the test parameters (higher rate per cluster).

URTeC 1581757

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