New-Frontier Reservoirs I
Recently, a lot of discussion has revolved around the benefits of multilaterals in unconventional reservoirs. But is this truly the next breakthrough for the industry, or is it all hype?
No doubt enormous need exists for a technology such as this to improve reservoir recovery and reduce well cost.
The current modus operandi in many plays is to drill horizontal hydraulically fractured wells. The results, however, continue to show that these well types are not effective at draining the reservoir. This is a result of complex hydraulic-fracture geometries with very short propped heights and lengths. Fracture complexity is a natural phenomenon now proved by coring and is likely caused by reservoir stratigraphy and geomechanics. Completion engineers typically counteract this, to some degree, by pumping more fracture treatments in the horizontals. This ineffective drainage points to the benefits of greater reservoir contact with a multilateral.
As well as improved drainage, multilateral technology also can reduce well cost by avoiding the necessity to drill top hole for the second (or third) lateral and requiring only one completion and one set of surface equipment.
Multilateral technology has been around for many years; however, what has changed in recent times is the reliability of these systems, with more than 98% reliability quoted in a recent publication. Hydraulically fracturing the laterals is now possible as well.
Companies such as Occidental, BP, and ConocoPhillips are evaluating the potential of this technology in onshore unconventional plays. In fact, in the fourth quarter of 2017, Occidental successfully performed its first pilot.
Enormous need for this technology exists, and time will tell whether it is the next major step in subsurface technology to improve the unit cost of production.
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE 188231 Modeling Early-Time Rate Decline in Unconventional Reservoirs Using Machine Learning Techniques by Aditya Vyas, Texas A&M University, et al.
SPE 186107 Optimization of Spacing and Penetration Ratio for Infinite-Conductivity Fractures in Unconventional Reservoirs: A Section-Based Approach by S. Liu, Texas A&M University, et al.
SPE 186092 Rate Dependence of Bilinear Flow in Unconventional Gas Reservoirs by M.S. Kanfar, University of Calgary, et al.
New-Frontier Reservoirs I
Simon Chipperfield, SPE, Chief Production Engineer, Santos
01 July 2018
Leveraging the Combined Benefits of RTA and PTA During Market-Induced Production Shutdown
The silver lining for those overseeing the unprecedented shut ins of tight-oil wells is the potential to acquire a wealth of reservoir data. But first, petroleum engineers need to monitor these wells and use the right analysis toolbox.
Sealed Wellbores and the Unlikely “Breakthrough” Behind Cheap, Accurate Fracture Diagnostics
When engineers went searching for clues on how fractures move beneath the surface, they expected to uncover important learnings. They did not know they were on the path to a new invention.
Happily, in this past year, we witnessed several examples of marriage between two themes—exciting technology advances and the recent economic downturn. In other words, necessity for survival in hard times provided the impetus for innovation.
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