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A customer in Alberta, Canada was having difficulties milling out composite frac plugs due to casing deformations caused by fracturing operations in offset wells. In addition to increasing plug preset risks during run-in, these casing irregularities—and in some cases, partial casing collapse—made it risky, if not impossible to run a full-drift mill to total depth (TD) to drill out the plugs.

Facing growing coiled tubing (CT) intervention costs and risks, as well as potential lost production due to stranded plugs, the customer decided to explore disintegrating frac plug options. Elimination of post-frac intervention would solve the milling challenges, as well as reduce the completion time and cost associated with CT operations. But switching over to disintegrating plugs came along with another challenge.

The target wells, which were located in the Duvernay formation near Fox Creek, were highly corrosive and had relatively high bottomhole temperatures that reached up to 255°F (124°C). These conditions increased the risk of disintegrating plugs reacting too early (either prior to or during fracturing operations), potentially resulting in failed treatment diversion and/or the need for extra plug runs. Additionally, there were known risks around using partially disintegrating plugs containing metal slips or carbide buttons because they leave debris in the wellbore, increasing the risk of casing damage.

Taking all of the customer’s challenges in consideration, the Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), team recommended the SPECTRE™ disintegrating frac plug because, unlike competitor plugs, it doesn’t prematurely degrade during stimulation operations, nor leave debris downhole.

Download the PDF to read the full case study.

Challenges & Results
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Challenges

  • Running a full-drift mill to TD through deformed/collapsed casing
  • Customer wanted to use disintegrating frac plugs to eliminate post-frac milling
  • Highly corrosive well with temperatures reaching 255°F
  • Downhole conditions increased the risk of premature degradation of disintegrating frac plugs
  • Customer did not want any plug remnants left in the wellbore

Results

  • Maintained mechanical integrity of plugs during run-in and throughout the fracturing process
  • Ensured no plug debris remained in the section of the well where the SPECTRE plugs were installed
  • Eliminated CT post-frac intervention
  • Reduced completion time and cost