Hydraulic fracturing conference hits full stride on day two

By CRAIG FLEMING, TECHNICAL EDITOR, WORLD OIL on 2/7/2019

WOODLANDS, Texas -- On the second day of SPE’s hydraulic fracturing conference, held on Wednesday, the technical presentations kicked into high-gear, with four major categories being explored by SME’s from operating companies, service providers and academia. 

For many of these presentations, the rooms were filled to capacity, with a noticeably higher attendance by operator personnel responsible for completing horizontal wells in the major U.S. shale plays. The number and quality of conference participants is a good indication that the industry has put the 2016 bust in the rearview mirror and intends to increase spending.

This year’s conference was clearly focused on new technologies and methods intended to reduce wellbore communication, and to avoid treating formations already in production in nearby boreholes, or “frac-hits.” OFS providers showcased different methods to accomplish these objectives with downhole sensors, surface geo-phones, and by plotting pressure differentials at the wellhead.

Another focus was on cost reductions, with two HHP providers displaying field equipment designed to deliver frac fluids via pumps powered by electric turbines, driven by natural gas available at the wellsite to avoid the expense of running the units with diesel fuel. Although the technologies are already in the field, additional efficiency gains are expected as the systems mature.

Topics presented on Wednesday included:

Case histories. The session was chaired by Craig Cipolla, Hess, and Paul Weddle, Liberty Resources. Authors discussed case studies that highlighted development challenges regarding infill drilling, completion activities and evolving completion designs. 

Completion optimization. The session was chaired by Dave Norman, NSI Technologies, and Kathryn Briggs, Southwestern Energy. Several presentations outlined methods to optimize well performance and economics by enhancing designs to understand completion effectiveness on well performance. A case study from the Permian basin showed parent/child relationships on type curves for Wolfbone and Wolfberry. Various experimental results were the subject of another paper on multi-cluster design efficiency, proppant selection, and mechanical diversion.

Pressure analysis diagnostics. The session was chaired by Eric Davis, ConocoPhillips, and Kyle Haustveit, Devon Energy. Authors showed data from a diagnostic fracture injection tests, transient analysis and examined poroelastic response interpretations. A case study showed how integrating pressure modeling with DAS can be used to determine diversion success, real-time, and how DFIT data can calibrate geomechanical simulators to estimate the dynamic stimulated reservoir volume.

Fluids, proppants and transport. The session was chaired by Jennifer Miskimins, Colorado School of Mines, and Junjing Zhang, ConocoPhillips. During the afternoon session, SME’s discussed the impact of fluid viscosity on proppant transport, as well as proppant distribution in slickwater-created fractures. Novel concepts regarding proppant and fluid development were also presented.

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