Schlumberger and Weatherford announced an agreement to create OneStimSM, a joint venture to deliver completions products and services for the development of unconventional resources in the United States and Canada land markets. The joint venture will offer one of the broadest multistage completions portfolios in the market.
Weatherford was an early entrant in the North America completions market. Its portfolio reflects a broad, and mature product offering, for both upper and lower completions, and across all lower completion types, including open hole, cased hole, sleeves or plugs.
Weatherford also brings the benefits of a well-established manufacturing organization to the JV, facilitating a cost-competitive manufacture of completions products with the assurance of reliability and product quality.
The Schlumberger product catalog, in contrast, is technology-driven, reflecting its more recent introduction of such services. The Infinity* dissolvable plug-and-perf system, as an example, is the industry’s only fullbore interventionless plug-and-perf system. Similarly, the Diamondback* composite drillable frac plug was one of the early composite plugs to incorporate an anti-preset mechanism, a feature that is standard across the industry today.
The OneStimSM integrated completions system consolidates differentiating Schlumberger technologies, with Weatherford’s mature multistage completions portfolio, covering the entire range of operator requirements for a value-driven completions offering. Through this comprehensive range of products, the OneStimSM system will have a direct impact on well economics, ensuring an optimized and operationally efficient fracture treatment, and continued support for activity projected through its working life.
Well Completions involves a two-step process—starting with the lower completion and followed by the upper completion. It commences during the final stages of drilling, when the associated completions products are lowered into the well as part of the final casing string.
The lower completion is initially deployed. Its primary function is to establish contact with the reservoir, and therefore has a direct bearing on the well’s productivity. Hydraulic fracturing is the largest step in this process. Wells are fracture stimulated with multiple fracture stages along the reservoir (i.e. multi-stage fracturing). Multi-stage fracturing is enabled by a range of completion hardware products, depending on the operator’s preference.
Plug-and-perf completions was the earliest multi-stage completion technique. It was used in conjunction within a cemented liner set across the reservoir. Each fracture stage treatment is isolated with “composite plugs”, deployed on electric line. The composite plugs serve as a pressure barrier to facilitate the next treatment in the shallower part of the well. All plugs are finally milled out with coiled tubing after the last fracture treatment is completed.
Open hole completions became popular next because of the ability to deliver higher fracture treatment efficiency, measured as stages per day, or equivalent. An un-cemented liner consisting of “open hole sleeves” is typically deployed across the reservoir. A graduated metallic ball with a progressively increasing diameter is pumped during the penultimate phase of the fracture stage. This ball follows the fracture fluids, eventually fitting into a “seat” designed within the open hole sleeve, isolating the lower fracturing stage, simultaneously shifting open the upper sleeve to conduct the next fracturing treatment. The annular space between the liner and the reservoir is segmented by open-hole packers, with the swellable packers being the more prevalent products used for this purpose. The early generation of ball-based open hole completions eliminate electric line- or coiled-tubing-deployed operations, leading to a faster completions sequence.
A disadvantage of open hole completions is their inability to control the point of fracture initiation. Several operators reported lower well productivity indices (PI) because of this drawback. Coiled tubing-deployed sleeves were introduced to overcome this limitation - controlling fracture initiation, and providing operational efficiency. The fracturing treatment is injected with the presence of coiled tubing within the wellbore. The coiled tubing string is progressively translated to facilitate a sequential fracture treatment along the wellbore length. Zonal isolation is achieved through “coiled tubing sleeves” that also contain a receptacle to hold a resettable coiled tubing-deployed packer, containing the fracturing treatment within the well segment of interest. Coiled tubing fracturing can be done both in an open hole and cased hole well.
Finally, and for cased hole plug-and-perf operations in particular, electric line-deployed plugs and perforating guns cannot be deployed initially because the wellbore represents a “closed system.” No fluid movement, a necessary requirement to “pump” guns, is possible. The first fracturing stage therefore requires perforating with coiled tubing-deployed TCP guns. This is a costly and time-consuming operation. The Toe Initiation sleeve is a specific technology that eliminates this initial coiled tubing-deployed TCP perforating guns that commence a fracturing sequence. It’s use is optional, however, this technology is gaining popularity since these sleeves reduce cost and overall time of the lower completion.
The lower completion has a bearing on the well cost, and its productivity, therefore directly impacting the overall well economics. Its specific choice (plug-and-perf versus sleeves, open hole versus cased hole wellbore) varies across reservoirs, and even within a particular reservoir in select instances. Today, cased plug-and-perf completions are more prevalent in the United States, while sleeves continue to dominate in Western Canada.
An upper completion refers to a suite completion hardware products that are deployed in all well types – vertical, deviated, or horizontal.
Broadly speaking, these consist of:
The upper completion design architecture is governed by multiple drivers, including well productivity, cost, choice of artificial lift system, regulatory requirements, anticipated workover and intervention activity, and other considerations.