The original horizontal and multi-lateral wells in the area showed noticeable production improvement compared to vertical wells; however, stabilized gas production rates remained sub-optimal. Even with the increased contact area, the low porosity and permeability did not allow sufficient production to be commercially viable.
Initial attempts with proppant fracturing were unsuccessful in this formation and often resulted in screen out and poor production. A better method of completion and stimulation was necessary to achieve forecasted production values. Open hole, multi-stage stimulation was considered as a method of unlocking the potential of this reservoir. However, this would require a change in drilling methodology.
By drilling in the direction of maximum horizontal stress, fractures are likely to propagate longitudinally along the lateral section, which limits post-stimulation reservoir contact and allows for potential communication between stages (Figure 1). Therefore, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the multi-stage fracture treatment, drilling in the direction of minimum stress was necessary to produce transverse fractures.