Industry Article: Refracturing: Diversion Technologies and Improved Reservoir Understanding Give Depleted Unconventional Assets New Life

Refracturing: Diversion Technologies
Publication: Journal of Petroleum Technology
Publication Date: 07/01/2015

Game-changing technology combined with reservoir understanding has made oil and gas development economically viable in unconventional shale plays. Despite the fast pace of technological development, however, the industry has learned that reservoir heterogeneity and low-permeability rock can limit recovery potential. Production log analyses show that conventional completion designs, including the practice of placing perforation clusters evenly along the lateral, are not the best approach. Enhanced reservoir understanding and advances in fracture modeling software and diversion technologies have paved the way for introducing refracturing as a feasible, cost-effective alternative to drilling new wells in unconventional plays.

A team of Schlumberger geoscientists from the hydraulic fracturing and reservoir subsurface disciplines has developed a workflow to diagnose potential well candidates for refracturing. The team formed a consortium with several of the most active operators in the Eagle Ford to help identify refracturing candidates, with the objective of gaining back more than 60% of the IP while spending significantly less than 40% of the IP costs.

Among the technologies driving this effort is an engineered stimulation design software that integrates geological, geophysical, petrophysical, geomechanical and microseismic data from the reservoir into models that help operators to history-match IP rates in order to select viable refracturing candidates. Additionally, a new technology enables the temporary plugging of existing fractures, effectively diverting proppant and fluid to new, unstimulated rock during a continuous refracturing treatment pumped from the surface. Application of the diversion technology for refracturing has resulted in production returns of more than 60% over IP rates.

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