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Technical Paper: Infinite Plug and Perf - The Value of a Full Bore Degradable System

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 177736
Presentation Date: 2015
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Abstract

Plug and Perforate is the number one stimulation technique used in unconventional reservoirs. This solution relies on the sequential pump-down conveyance and placement of plugs using Wireline to temporarily isolate sections of the well to be hydraulically fractured. After all the stimulation stages are concluded, plug removal is necessary to enable production. A milling assembly must then be passed into the well, usually by Coiled Tubing, to remove the restrictions used during the stimulation.

The inherent need for Coiled Tubing when using Plug and Perforate technique limits the process itself. This costly operation is required at the end of every well, as well as every time that a plug unintentionally pre-sets. In addition, on long horizontal wells, plug conveyance may be possible, but plug removal may not be possible. This is also true for wells with low reservoir pressure, where the risk of milling out plugs increases significantly. As an industry response, technologies based on dissolvable material have emerged as preferred solutions for increasing efficiencies and reducing operational risks. Degradable composite plugs, big bore plugs and cemented sliding sleeves are among the most notable. Nevertheless, these technologies are only partial solutions and often have major components that are not capable of being dissolved, having only incomplete dissolution. In addition, these technologies can be difficult to remove in the event of a pre-set, or after stimulation in case a later intervention is needed in the well.

A new fully degradable plug and perforate technology has been developed to solve the problems mentioned above. This new innovative method relies on material dissolution to avoid the need to mill out plugs. During fracturing, the new method follows the isolation process of the Plug and Perforate technique. After all stages are stimulated, the seat assemblies (or plugs) remove themselves by simple contact with flow back water; no mechanical remediation is needed. Immediate production is possible and the well is left with a full-bore ID. The ultimate production potential of the reservoir can be achieved as the complete assembly degrades away, leaving no restrictions in the well that can choke production and can prove problematic during any future workover intervention.

This paper discusses a new fully degradable isolation assembly for plug and perforate technique. The technology is explained in detail and field experience is presented to examine this technique over current industry alternatives.

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