Topics: Completions

The past year has proved to be one of the more challenging years our industry has ever faced. We have been forced to think differently and solve problems in new and unique ways as the oil and gas community has remained laser-focused on reducing costs and improving the economics of its projects. In last year’s article, I highlighted the uniqueness and customizable nature of well completions, which makes the completion strategy a rich target for change as project economics are re-evaluated in the face of uncertainty.

As activity plummeted to record lows, we witnessed a calibration of completion strategies. Whether it was further optimization of the preferred completion technique, implementation of new technologies, or a complete shift in completion philosophy, no stone was left unturned when it came to designing and implementing the well architecture. The primary objective was improving well economics, of course, through reducing costs or increasing productivity. So, how does the well completion fit into this overall goal of cost reduction and productivity increase? The answer is simple: time. Time savings can be achieved in a variety of ways, the most significant being deployment speed, installation reliability, and consolidation of trips into the well. Fracturing plugs for plug-and-perforate completions that can be deployed in excess of 600 ft/min without presetting, International Organization for Standardization and American Petroleum Institute qualification standards for sealing devices, autonomous and remotely actuated downhole tools, and equipment that disintegrates downhole are all commonplace examples of how today’s completions are focused, more than ever, on reducing nonproductive time through speed, reliability, and efficiency.

As our industry evolves and responds to the effects of global economies and geopolitical events, so, too, do the solutions that enable that evolution. What has transpired over the past 18 months, while challenging for all, is oftentimes the necessary catalyst to spark innovation and challenge conventional norms. What was not possible yesterday may be possible today.

I am personally thankful to have had the opportunity to work through this industry cycle and am excited about the future of the oil and gas industry.

This Month's Technical Papers

Quadlateral Success Story in a Heavy-Oil Reservoir

Engineered Shale Completions Based on Common Drilling Data

A 5-Year Journey of Advanced Completions

Understanding Completion Performance: Software-Guided Work Flows and Models

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 174922 High-Performance Plug-and-Perforate Completions in Unconventional Wells by Liam McNelis, DynaEnergetics, et al.

SPE 176811 Designing, Planning, and Installing an Eight-Zone All-Electric Intelligent Completion System in an Extreme-Reservoir-Contact Well by S. Jacob, Saudi Aramco, et al.

SPE 179136 An Evaluation of Completion Effectiveness in Hydraulically Fractured Wells and the Assessment of Refracturing Scenarios by Jeff Dahl, Devon Energy, et al.

SPE 180966 Stimulation Optimization Using Engineered Diversion Work Flow To Increase Wellbore Contact in Cemented Completions by N. Heaton, Schlumberger, et al.

Nicholas Clem, SPE, is technology director for wellbore intervention at Baker Hughes. He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. Clem serves on the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Well Completions Subcommittee and on the JPT Editorial Committee. He can be reached at


Nicholas Clem, SPE, Technology Director, Wellbore Intervention, Baker Hughes.

01 September 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 9