Advancements in Completion Technology Increase Production in the Williston Basin
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 127 - 129
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 109 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 159586, "Advancements in Openhole-Completion Technology Increase Efficiencies and Production in the Williston Basin," by John Paneitz, Whiting Petroleum, and C. Christopher Johnson, Matthew White, and George Gentry, Baker Hughes, prepared for the 2012 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 8-10 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Over the years, hybrid systems have been installed in horizontal wellbores to increase the number of compartmental sections for hydraulic fracturing because of the limitations of ball-actuated fracture sleeves. Experimenting with hybrid systems provides operators with the ability to optimize spacing of fracture stages along the horizontal section when sleeve technology alone does not allow for the desired number of stages. The costs are higher for operators to perform a hybrid-type completion, however, and this has driven enhanced sleeve technology to allow for all-sleeve completions.
The Bakken shale located in the Williston basin covers an area that includes portions of North Dakota and Montana in the US and Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada (Fig. 1). An unconventional reservoir, the Bakken formation is one of the last giants to be discovered in North America. The US Geological Service estimates that the undiscovered US portion of the Bakken formation holds 3.65 billion bbl of oil, 1.85 Tcf of associated gas, and 148 million bbl of natural-gas liquids.
Advances in horizontal drilling of extended-reach wells and in completion techniques have increased the amount of recoverable oil and gas. Wells drilled in the Bakken are typically drilled horizontally across two 640-acre sections, with laterals that can extend more than 9,000 ft. Two completion methods known for cost-effectiveness and high well efficiency that are used in these wells are the openhole-packer system and the sleeve one-trip system.
Openhole-Packer and Sleeve Completions
Openhole completions performed in the Bakken are commonly run as a one-trip system on drillpipe containing the following equipment: a hydraulic or mechanical running tool, liner-top packer or liner-hanger system, openhole packers, fracture sleeves, and float equipment. Once the system is in position, the appropriate fluid is displaced, and the liner-top-packer is set; the running tool is dis-connected from the system and removed from the well. The openhole packers pro-vide compartmental isolation along the horizontal wellbore with fracture sleeves placed at each stage, forming a pathway for stimulation fluid and the production of hydrocarbons.
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