Multistage system

January 1, 2014

Operators continue to realize savings in per-well costs with Packers Plus’ StackFRAC® HD™ multistage fracturing system designed for open- and cased-hole stimulation in unconventional oil and gas formations, said President Dan Themig.

The system allows for as many fracture stages as operators need, he details, with exact placement of stimulation treatments in one continuous pumping operation. And once the stimulation operation is complete, the well can be flowed back immediately and production brought on line.

“The system has revolutionized a lot of the completion techniques and technologies for a lot of big plays,” Themig says. “In key areas such as the Bakken Shale and Niobrara, it is having a big impact on the commercial success of the plays.”

The assembly includes packers combined with mostly ball-activated ports, except the toe of the well, he explains. Following a reamer run, the system is installed and packers are set, then the frac crew pressures up to hydraulically open the port at the toe of the well to start the first frac job. As flushing is completed on the first zone, the ball lands on the seat and shifts the second port to the open position. Progressively larger balls are used to complete all the stages, Themig details.

“The system continues to push the bounds of limitations on frac stages, with some operators now running 40-stage jobs,” he points out. “The packer system drastically reduces the time required to complete a well. If you were using a cemented liner, you might be looking at three to four days to complete some wells, but we have done as many as 40 stages in 12 hours using our StackFRAC HD. It has brought great efficiencies to multistage completions, especially as the number of stages increased.”

Performance has been consistent, Themig reports, with production gains ranging between 25 and 75 percent compared with cemented liner plug-and-perf, with less time translating to considerable savings in overall well costs. He points to an application in the Eagle Ford Shale as an example. An operator active between the crude oil and wet gas/condensate window of the formation used a 26-stage StackFRAC HD system to complete a well in La Salle County, Tx., with a true vertical depth of 8,516 feet and a measured depth of 14,460 feet.

“The well was drilled 2,000 feet parallel to another well completed by the same operator using cemented liner plug-and-perf. The well completed with StackFRAC HD produced more than 78,000 barrels of oil equivalent in the first six months, compared with the offset, which produced about 50,000 boe, a 35 percent increase that equated to $2.6 million in additional revenue,” Themig says. “In addition, the operator saved $500,000 in fracture stimulation costs versus the offset, and estimates that $100,000 can be saved on a future well using this completion technology.”

A 30 percent production increase is fairly typical using the system, Themig maintains. “That is the number we are seeing,” he says. “A 30 percent increase in productivity from unconventional reservoirs is not easy to do.”

Packers Plus is implementing this “shale technology” globally, including in formations that are not unconventional or tight, Themig continues. For example, he says Saudi Aramco is using StackFRAC HD “to drain prolific reservoirs with very high porosity and permeability,” adding that Packers Plus is also working with companies in Russia and Africa.

“This system is being used as the development tool in reservoirs around the world, and not just in shales,” he comments. “It is quickly becoming a primary completion technology in most oil and gas developments around the world, even in areas that are a little behind North America in deploying the latest technology.”