Over the last two decades many developments have enabled accelerated growth in horizontal drilling. Drilling technologies have pioneered these advancements, with current technology capable of drilling thousands of feet through a thinly bedded hydrocarbon reservoir. Completion advancements designed for extended horizontal wellbores have also advanced, albeit at a slower pace. Initially horizontal drilling was limited to naturally fractured reservoirs with simple open hole or slotted liner completions. This was due primarily to the ability of the reservoir to flow economically without the need for stimulation. Reservoirs requiring stimulation were initially not candidates for horizontal drilling. Developments in completion technology specific for horizontal wells have broadened the reservoirs where horizontal wells can be effectively stimulated.
When drilling a horizontal well, there are two completion options. First, the horizontal can be completed open hole, or with slotted/perforated liner. Effective stimulation along the horizontal wellbore is impossible. The second completion system requires cementing the production liner and running multiple isolation systems to effectively treat different sections of the wellbore. Multiple coiled tubing trips and multiple rig up and down of the stimulation equipment are required. These multi-stage horizontal completions take weeks to complete at high costs and elevated risks. Ultimately, the high completion costs or the lack of production due to ineffective stimulation make many reservoirs uneconomical to exploit.
This paper will discuss a new open hole completion system run as part of the production liner, does not require cementing and provides mechanical diversion at specified intervals, thus allowing fracturing and stimulations to be effectively pumped to their targeted zone. Details of the engineering design and testing will be specified, with elaboration on the applications and case histories were these systems have been successfully deployed. The case histories will detail the operational efficiencies of the system in conjunction with the enhanced production realized.