Industry Article: Enhanced Understanding Improves “Child Well” Performance

In U.S. shale fields, operators are attempting to improve infill well performance. In the Eagle Ford, child wells now account for about 75% of new completions. Infill drilling is ramping up in the Permian, which hosts half of all U.S. drilling.

Publication: World Oil
Publication Date: 08/01/2018

By Garrett Lindsay, Grant Miller, Tao Xu, Dan Shan and Jason Baihly, Schlumberger

Operators expect infill wells to perform comparably, or better than, existing parent wells. However, in reality, infill wells often produce below parent well decline curves. This has been confirmed in an analysis by a service provider that encompassed 3,000 fracture hits across five major unconventional plays. Another study was conducted across 10 major U.S. unconventional plays. Two of the biggest drivers behind poor child well performance are the depletion effects of the parent well and the interwell communication between offsets. Study conclusions suggest alternative strategies and technologies that may increase infill well potential. This study examines the effects of reservoir depletion and fracture behavior on infill production.

Based on outcomes from the studies, engineering expert are examining technologies and best practices that mitigate the effects of depletion and interwell communication on child well performance and improving reservoir models to better reflect the impact of infill wells on field development planning. Some suggested strategies include:

  • Completing wells next to each other on lease boundaries to equalize drainage patterns to minimize the depletion effect when infill wells are completed;
  • Optimizing completion designs by modeling the depletion effects as a viable predictive tool for infill drilling;
  • Use of near-wellbore and far-field chemical diversion techniques to help increase child well production and limit interwell communication;
  • Refracturing the parent well before completing the offset infill wells to boost production; and
  • Use of enhanced oil recovery techniques to increase production.

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