NCS Oilfield Services frac technology completes 50 stage frac on two-mile lateral

NCS Oilfield Services frac technology completes 50 stage frac on two-mile lateral by Luke Geiver, March 06, 2013, The Bakken Magazine
The successful completion of three two-mile lateral wellbores in the Bakken formation has NCS Oilfield Services, a technology and services company focused on multistage completions, looking to expand its presence in the Williston Basin. Using its trademarked Multistage Unlimited system, the company was able to complete 50 discrete frac stages in a single well. The technology used by the company eliminates the need for perforations, (the process of puncturing a well casing to connect to the liquid reservoir), plugging (a process that closes off a segment of casing to allow perforation in closed sections) and ball dropping (ceramic balls dropped into the wellbore that plug a section of casing), allowing for multiple sequential fracture stages in a single wellbore. Eric Schmelzl, NCS vice president of strategic business, said the technology “provides operators with the ability to access more of their reservoir with fewer wellbores.” The principal components of the completion technology include ported fracture sleeves and a bottom hole assembly (BHA) the company calls its Mongoose  tool. The process for completing multiple fractures starts at the lowest planned stage. The mongoose tool is sent to the lowest stage where a resettable frac plug connected to the tool isolates the zone to be fractured. If a frac sleeve is used, the sleeve is shifted open with the Mongoose tool, or if preferred, abrasive slurry can be pumped through high velocity jets on the tool, cutting through the casing and cement housing the casing. Frac fluid is then pumped through the newly created openings and the formation is fractured according to the treatment design. Coiled tubing allows circulation of the wellbore in case of a screenout, and also provides a conduit to measure “live” bottom-hole frac treating pressures, which can be very helpful in preventing or cleaning up screenouts should they occur, according to Schmelzl. If an operator chooses to place fracs by pumping fluid down the inside of the coiled tubing string, the process can cut water usage during completion by up to 50 percent when compared to bullheading fluids down casing. After each zone is fractured, the BHA is positioned at the next targeted frac interval, and the process is repeated. Subsequent frac stages can be initiated only minutes after completing the prior frac stage. “You can drill a two-mile lateral,” according to Schmelzl, “but in the past, your ability to place an unlimited amount of discrete fracture stages in the lateral simply didn’t exist.” According to Schmelzl, the application of coiled tubing and BHA’s with frac sleeves has only recently gained a foothold in the Bakken play south of the Canadian border.  “Even though several of the largest producers in the Bakken formation in Canada use the NCS multistage completion process extensively, North Dakota is an emerging market for us,” he said.  “To date, the North Dakota field results have been very encouraging, and we continue to grow our business in that market as operators get the opportunity to see first-hand what we can do and come to understand just what they can achieve using our equipment and methods.” NCS is currently combining the Multistage Unlimited  process with openhole hydraulic packers. This provides operators with the opportunity to apply an openhole completion, but without the balls, seats or plugs that typically accompany that design. Additionally, when used with openhole packers, the Mongoose BHA provides definitive evidence to quantify the effectiveness of the openhole packers in isolating each of the fractured intervals of the wellbore. This can be invaluable in benchmarking well performance and treatment designs, Schmelzl said, and can provide an understanding of where additional stimulations may be needed within the wellbore. “Pumping an unlimited number of frac stages is valuable – but pumping effective frac stages demands an understanding of what is happening down-hole, and how the reservoir is responding to each frac treatment,” he said. [Emphasis added]

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