Evolution of Completion Practices in the Wild River Tight Gas Field
- Donald A.F. Colwell (EnCana Corp) | Crispin G. O'Brien (Shell Canada Ltd.) | Trevor D. Gates (Anadarko Canada Corp.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- March 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 54 - 61
- 2006. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.8 Formation Damage, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2.4.6 Frac and Pack, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.8.1 Tight Gas, 5.6.5 Tracers, 4.3.4 Scale, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 3.3.1 Production Logging, 2.2.2 Perforating, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 2.5.1 Fracture design and containment, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation
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This paper presents the evolution of completion practices and fracture stimulation that has taken place in the Wild River area of Canada over the past 2 years. Since being acquired in March 2001, 67 wells have been drilled and completed in the field, which is characterized by multiple stacked, tight gas reservoirs. During that time, seven distinct completion phases can be identified, each targeting either a reduction in the total capital expenditure or enhancement of production performance by fracture-stimulation optimization. On the capital front, a progression of completion tools occurred including standard bridge plugs, proprietary permanent frac-packer systems, and composite bridge plugs. Focus areas for production performance improvement included fluid systems, proppant selection, perforating strategy, energizing fluids, and third-party quality control. As a result of this evolution, the average completion cost per zone has been reduced by approximately 40% and the average initial production rate has been increased by approximately 150%.
With the decline of conventional North American gas fields, more exploration and development focus is being directed toward unconventional sources such as tight gas reservoirs. Usually, higher capital expenditure is required for the development of the reserves in these tight reservoirs than for conventional reservoirs. In a competing capital environment, the metrics for the unconventional plays have to compete against the metrics from the lower cost conventional plays. Therefore, any reduction in capital associated with development of unconventional reserves is very important. The application of completion methodology, completion tools, and fracture-stimulation technology can impact the overall completion costs and associated production performance. This can improve the metrics of developing these reserves.
The Wild River field is a tight gas play that is characterized by multiple stacked Cretaceous sandstone reservoirs across an approximately vertical section of 2,700 ft. Initial exploration wells were drilled in the field in the 1960s, targeting deeper Devonian reservoirs. Cretaceous exploration commenced in the 1980s with a number of wells successfully drilled and completed in the tight gas formations. However, larger-scale development did not occur until the late 1990s because of the lack of midstream infrastructure in the area. The majority of the development of this field has occurred since 2001 resulting from the availability of processing and midstream capacity and strong commodity pricing.
Anadarko acquired the acreage in the Wild River field in early 2001. Since the acquisition, development activity has been steady, with 67 wells drilled and completed at the time of this writing. The overall completion strategy evolved through seven phases during this period. This evolution of phases was primarily driven by an effort to reduce the overall completion costs while increasing both production and reserves.
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