Advances in Perforating Technology Continue
- M.R.G. Bell (Geodynamics) | N.G. Clark (Geodynamics) | J.T. Hardesty (Geodynamics) | T. Zaleski (Ingrain)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 23 - 25
- 2010. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Perforations represent the critical link between the wellbore and reservoir in cased wells and, thus, have a significant impact on well productivity and ultimate recovery. Important advances have been made in the past several years in the technology of perforation through the incorporation of reactive materials into oilfield shaped charges and through the advancement of stressed-rock testing of charge systems, as opposed to testing performed in cement. A new and potentially powerful extension to stressed-rock testing is the use of 3D digital-imaging technology and advanced analytical methods.
The advances being achieved in perforating appear likely to play a vital role in meeting the challenges of maximizing the productivity and recovery of wells drilled in the hard, low-permeability rock increasingly being targeted by the drill bit today. And although not yet exploited commercially, the capability already exists to design charges for application in specific lithologies, possibly even individual formations.
Testing Under More Realistic Conditions
In practical terms, penetration into cement under surface conditions is an unreliable indicator of the performance that can be expected when charges are shot under real, downhole conditions. Stressed rock does not behave like un confined cement. More specifically, the new reservoirs of the 21st century—such as hard, subsalt carbonates or shales with nanodarcy permeability—are fundamentally different, and several orders of magnitude more difficult to understand than the sandstones on which predictive correlations from cement penetration to rock penetration were based (Behrmann et al. 2009). New science and products have been needed to complete wells effectively in these environments.The first step toward developing solutions for such environments was the construction of perforator-evaluation facilities in which shaped-charge systems could be tested under conditions more closely representing the wellbore and reservoir (API RP 19B 2006). In this type of facility, frequently referred to as a flow lab, natural-rock targets are subjected to realistic levels of effective stress, while wellbore and pore pressures are accurately simulated to create appropriate static and dynamic pressure effects. If these tests are designed and executed successfully, they can provide a whole new level of insight into how effectively a particular perforating system will connect a wellbore to its target formation. It is fair to say that only the handful of companies that have invested in such flow-lab facilities are uncovering perforating solutions suitable for the increasingly complex reservoirs that will be the industry’s focus in the years ahead.
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