"The latest multi-stage well completion and stimulation technologies have revolutionized the development of unconventional resources."
Horizontal drilling as a field development technique was pioneered in the early-1980's. As drilling technology advanced, the industry was rapidly able to increase the extended reach of wells and the length of lateral drilled. However, for much of this time, the completion was limited to single zone techniques employing chemical and pressure diversion technologies in an attempt to stimulate the lateral section. Gradually, the industry went through a phased period of testing culminating in the mechanical isolation technologies of "sliding sleeve" and "plug and perf" completions. The outcome of this has been a paradigm shift in unconventional field development where the use of horizontal wells with 15 to 40 stage mechanically isolated stimulation zones has resulted in a step change in field development costs and as a consequence resulted in the US horizontal rig-count reaching over 50% of all active rigs drilling.
The presentation is divided into three sections:
(1) A review of horizontal well stimulation technology development - including the authors first-hand experience of west Texas tests in the 80's, North Slope Alaska wells in the 90's, and current applications in a variety of unconventional resources.
(2) A discussion of the two main types of multi-stage completion technologies being employed together with the application of both cross-linked and slickwater fracturing.
(3) A case history from the Central Basin of the Bakken shale in North Dakota.
Dr. C. Mark Pearson is an SPE distinguished member who has over 30 years experience in both the E&P and service industries. He is a well known industry expert in the field of well completion and stimulation technology having published over 30 technical papers and having received a number of industry accolades for the economic impacts of his work.
He is President of Liberty Resources LLC, a Denver-based independent E&P company currently focused on a 2-rig drilling and completion program in the Bakken shale oil of ND where he and his team have applied multi-stage completion and stimulation technology over the past 4 years to the extent that they use 35-stage horizontal wells as a standard for field development.
Mark was an SPE lecturer in 2001-02 and 2012-13.