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A major operator working in the Gulf of Mexico was looking for a way to significantly reduce OPEX across its Lower Tertiary developments. While these deepwater plays can be lucrative investments, the conventional approach to complete and stimulate them can be time consuming and cost-prohibitive.

Typically, a cased-hole multizone frac-pack completion is executed, and can take more than a month of rig time and can cost up to $100 million USD—or more. In addition, conventional lower completion tools are typically limited to only five zones, resulting in uneven treatment distribution across long intervals. They also have configuration requirements that create ‘dead space’ along the reservoir, restricting contact.

Recognizing a huge opportunity to reduce costs and also improve pay zone contact, the operator worked closely with Baker Hughes, a GE company, (BHGE) to explore an alternative approach. Some of the operator’s requirements included: performing an openhole completion; delivering treatments to 15 stages in a single trip, and at significantly lower cost than the status quo; providing proppant flowback control without using conventional sand screens; and enabling flowback without post-treatment intervention. The combination of the stage count and the openhole requirement were unprecedented for offshore completions. Jobs of this nature had only ever been performed on land.

With significant field-proven experience in these types of applications on land, BHGE recognized that the best starting point for this challenge was its ballactivated multistage fracturing sleeves. Engineering teams worked to adapt the technology not only to meet the operator’s specifications, but to also meet deepwater traceability requirements. They also incorporated patented BeadScreen™ proppant flowback control technology directly into the new sleeve as an alternative to using conventional sand screens. The customized tools are key enabling technologies of the new DEEPFRAC™ deepwater multistage fracturing service, which was used to complete the target well.

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Challenges & Results
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Challenges

  • Lower tertiary formation
  • Well drilled to more than 25,000-ft (7,620-m) total measured depth in 10,000 ft (3,048 m) of water
  • Conventional completion options were time consuming and cost-prohibitive
  • Customer needed to reduce OPEX and wanted to explore a radically new completion approach

Results

  • Shortened and even eliminated entire steps of a conventional cased-hole multizone completion
  • Significantly reduced OPEX, saving an estimated 25 days rig time and $40 million USD
  • Completed 15 stages in a single trip and in less than 60 hours pump time