In recent years, the shale and tight (S&T) completions industry has made significant strides in cycle time and cost improvements. In 2019, the industry was approaching peak efficiency with standard zipper operations because the cost savings associated with cycle time reduction was offset by increased costs due to high friction pressures. Chevron trialed and fully implemented Simul-frac in the Permian Basin, which uses one frac crew to stimulate two wells simultaneously, to challenge the existing operational paradigm and improve cost and cycle time performance. This paper will share the Simul-frac journey including planning, execution, and lookbacks.
Phased field trials were carefully planned to evaluate feasibility of Simul-frac across different formations with varying treatment parameters and behaviors. Multi-disciplinary efforts with asset teams, operations, and business partners were critical to a successful roll out. Field trials required extensive planning for operational contingencies and demonstrated technical feasibility from surface operations to downhole treatment. Increased resource commitment for sand and water was required. Concerns related to reduced injection rate on per well basis and its impact on fracture geometry and production were resolved with engagement and alignment on the concept, design strategy and mitigation plan with technical experts and multi-disciplinary teams.
Expected cost and cycle time savings were validated with field trials, and Simul-frac was selected as a preferred completion alternative for Chevron Mid-Continent Business Unit's Permian Operations. As wider implementation took place, different challenges due to well count, frac designs, and resources were faced. Creative frac sequencing, execution improvement, and cross-functional effort ensured optimal outcomes. Contingency plans were tested throughout the implementation. All Simul-frac pads achieved desired objectives. Simul-frac also proved to be an enabler for changes in pressure control equipment requirements and enabled adoption of more cost effective well design. Improvement initiatives associated with achieving even greater efficiency with Simul-frac were successfully executed for additional savings. This paper shares verified impact and applicability of Simul-frac through systematic implementation across all of Chevron Mid-Continent Business Unit's Permian operations.