For decades, engineers have improved completion success through technology innovations. Advances in perforating-system ratings, packer and frac-plug reliability, stimulation fluids, and sand-screen options (to name a few) have consistently improved cycle times and mechanical reliability. Moreover, improvements in fracture modeling continually improve our understanding of how fracture connectivity is achieved in shale reservoirs.

However, nearly 2 decades of the unconventional revolution and many decades of offshore production have made clear that completion effectiveness varies widely. So, what can be done to reduce variability and elevate completion success?

Hardware innovation will continue to occur, but data analytics, multivariate modeling, and process optimization are emerging as new contributors to completion success. For example, new pathways to completion effectiveness are possible by using legacy methods enhanced with decades of data. Some new models seek to optimize a completion using various combinations of reservoir characteristics, surface-hardware controls, and zonal-isolation options. Other models recognize the connections between well-executed drilling programs and completion effectiveness (i.e., drilling with completion in mind), where the well path determines the quality of access to the natural fractures during stimulation.

Risk assessment is also playing a more-prominent role, particularly in large-capital-expenditure offshore projects, where project cycle time must be minimized and completion effectiveness maximized. Although driven primarily by regulatory guidance, it should be included in every completion design to maximize positive outcomes.

The featured articles demonstrate that focus in these areas is beginning to yield positive results. This body of work can help drive completion effectiveness, capital efficiency, and profitability.

This Month's Technical Papers

Model Helps Guide Choke-Management Strategies Under Constraints

Extreme Limited-Entry Perforating Enhances Bakken Completions

Optimizing the Deepwater Completion Process Offshore Israel

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 187080 Evaluation and Management of Stimulation Placement Control in Cemented-Sleeve Completions by Paul Huckabee, Shell, et al.

SPE 187227 Lessons Learned from Evaluation of Frac-Pack Flow Performance Before and After Full Cleanup for Subsea Wells in High-Permeability Gas Reservoirs by M. Nozaki, ConocoPhillips, et al.

SPE 190070 Engineered Completion and Well-Spacing Optimization Using Geologically and Geomechanically Constrained 3D Planar Fracture Simulator and Fast Marching Method: Application to Eagle Ford by M. Paryani, FracGeo, et al.

Doug Lehr, SPE, is senior manager for design for reliability at Baker Hughes, a GE company. His current focus is driving reliability improvement through leading-edge processes and elevated due diligence. Lehr has 39 years of experience in the development of downhole tools for completion and intervention applications. His research interests include high-pressure/high-temperature applications, advanced reliability in downhole tools, and accelerating innovation. Lehr has authored or coauthored eight technical papers and holds 26 patents. He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA degree in finance and marketing from the University of Houston. Lehr was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for 2012–13 and is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee. He can be reached at


Doug Lehr, SPE, Senior Manager for Design for Reliability, Baker Hughes, a GE Company

01 September 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 9

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