Hydraulic fracturing in limited-entry (LE) completion designs relies on maintaining a high bottomhole treating pressure (BHTP). LE requires high perforation friction to maintain an even distribution of the hydraulic fracturing slurry. As sand exits the perforations, the perforations start to erode. The erosional change in the perforation alters the desired perforation friction and subsequent BHTP. As operators rely on multistage hydraulic fracturing to generate economic production, the issue of perforation erosion becomes inherently repetitive from stage to stage and cumulatively a significant issue. The industry has seen how a perforation can change from a before-and-after perspective with downhole cameras and imaging techniques before and after treatments. However, a more detailed understanding of the dynamic process of perforation erosion can give a better expectation of perforation performance throughout a hydraulic fracturing treatment and not just pretreatment compared to post-treatment.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a quickly emerging tool in the industry. CFD aims to model fluid flow by numerically solving the Naiver-Stokes equations within a specified domain. Along with modeling fluid systems, CFD has the capability to model dispersed particles within the fluid. Once the particles are introduced into the fluid, the domain can also be eroded away within the CFD model. By utilizing the erosional capabilities of CFD, paired with the flow of a hydraulic fracturing slurry, perforation erosion can be investigated transiently throughout an entire hydraulic fracturing stage.
This work presents a better dynamic understanding of perforation erosion rather than just a “before vs. after” comparison. The CFD modeling methodology used to achieve the correct erosional pattern observed in the field is presented. Throughout this work, four different hydraulic fracturing completion parameters are investigated to determine the respective roles in perforation erosion. The four parameters include proppant size, proppant concentration, fracturing fluid viscosity, and proppant concentration ramping schedules. By investigating the impact that controlled design parameters have on perforation erosion, perforation erosion can be better anticipated to deliver improved completion results.