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Case Study of Multiple-Hydraulic-Fracture


Completion in a Subsea Horizontal Well,
Campos Basin
Article in SPE Drilling & Completion March 2010
DOI: 10.2118/98277-PA

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Case Study of Multiple-Hydraulic-Fracture


Completion in a Subsea Horizontal Well,
Campos Basin
L.F. Neumann, SPE, P.D. Fernandes, SPE, M.A. Rosolen, SPE, V.F. Rodrigues, SPE, J.A. Silva Neto, SPE, and
C.A. Pedroso, SPE, Petrobras; A. Mendez, SPE, BJ Services; and D. Torres, SPE, Halliburton

Summary
This paper provides a case history of the first hydraulic fracture on
a subsea horizontal well in the Quissam formation, a low-permeability limestone reservoir in Campos basin, Brazil.
The well was drilled in the direction of the expected fracture
growth, thus evolving longitudinal fractures along the horizontal
section. It is part of a research project to evaluate selective stimulation methods for subsea horizontal wells. Every aspect since the
drilling, completion, and evaluation of the well was handled with
the end in mind of hydraulically fracturing it in several stages.
Hydraulically fracturing a horizontal well has become a more
accepted practice in our industry. The procedures used in fracturing
vertical wells must be taken into consideration when fracturing a
horizontal well, to avoid refracturing work. Near-wellbore (NWB)
problems are usually the main reason that fracturing work is not
completed. This paper describes hydraulic-fracture treatments with
detailed discussion on analysis of calibration tests, fluid-efficiency
tests (FETs), and lessons learned.
Results of the pumping work will be presented showing theory
and how common practices played a key role for a successful
application of techniques used. Laboratory tests performed with
cores taken from the well itself, such as rock mechanics, proppant
embedment, compaction measurements, and basic mineralogy, are
presented.
Production results will be presented and compared to conventional
methods used on other subsea horizontal wells in Campos basin.
Introduction
The main reservoir of Enchova and Bonito fields is the Quissam member of the Maca formation. The Quissam is a Lower
Cretaceous, Albian-aged carbonate reservoir. The Enchova field
is elongated southwest to northeast (Fig. 1), is in water depth
from 106 to 130 m, and was discovered in 1976 while drilling
Well 1-RJS-22. The Quissam carbonate is characterized by lowto-medium porosity (1525%) and low permeability (110 md),
exhibiting a typical thickness of 4070 m. The drive mechanism is
gas expansion combined with some water influx of a weak aquifer.
The undersaturated oil had an initial pressure and temperature of
approximately 3,550 psia and 190F, respectively, with Rs value of
2,750 scf/STB and a viscosity of 11 cp. The Enchovas Quissam
reservoir can be divided into three main groups: the south area,
naturally fractured; the central area with lower permeabilities and
porosities; and the thinner north area that has preserved the original porosities. The field came on production in 1983, and it is on
primary production until today.
Throughout the producing life of Quissam formation, completion and stimulation methodology has proved to be a challenge. In
many aspects, it followed its counterparts in the North Seathat
is, the Dan, Valhall, and Eldfisk fields (Owens et al. 1992; Norris
et al. 1998; Cook and Brekke 2004), among others. All of those fields
started development by the middle of the 1980s, using variations
Copyright 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers
This paper (SPE 98277) was accepted for presentation at the International Symposium and
Exhibition on Formation Damage Control, Lafayette, Louisiana, 1517 February 2006, and
revised for publication. Original manuscript received for review 7 October 2005. Revised
manuscript received for review 28 April 2008. Paper peer approved 6 May 2008.

March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

of heavily stimulated vertical and deviated wells, allowing greater


initial productivity. And all of them faced the same disappointing
post-stimulation results because of the lack of sustained mediumand long-term high productivity.
The stimulation strategy for Quissam reservoir field comprises
three main periods. The first period started in the 1980s, and it
was characterized by massive acid fracturing using up to 1,000
gal/ft of 28% HCl and evolving alternated stages of cross-linked
pad or matrix treatments using up to 300 gal/ft of 28% HCl. The
second period began in the 1990s, and it was characterized by
matrix treatments with much smaller volumes, up to 75 gal/ft of
15% HCl. The results, in terms of initial productivity, or in the
lack of sustained productivity, were almost the same. The third
main period started in 1995 with the drilling and completion of
the first horizontal wells in the Quissam formation of the Enchova
and Bonito fields. The usual completion for these horizontal wells
has been preperforated liners. A standard stimulation treatment
includes alternating stages of nonviscous acidviscous acid up
to 30 gal/ft of 15% HCl and self-diverting acid pumped below
fracture rates and spotted by the use of a dedicated stimulation
string or coiled tubing inside the horizontal liner.
After realizing that these matrix treatments in such horizontal
wells have not presented sufficient results, the operating company
launched a research project, included as part of an advanced
oil-recovery program, and formed a project team. Following the
North Sea operators experience, the project team realized that
the creation of a limited number of discrete fractures, with proper
length and conductivity, widely separated and well distributed,
could stimulate horizontal wells and provide sustained productivity in them. In its search for alternative methods for new and old
horizontal wells, the project involved the stimulation of an existing horizontal well, described elsewere (Rodrigues et al. 2005;
Surjaatmadja et al. 2005), resulting in the drilling, completion,
and multiple stimulation of the first cemented subsea horizontal
well offshore Brazil, called HRMF (an acronym for the Portuguese
words for horizontal, cased, and multiple-fractured well).
The well was drilled in the direction of the maximum far-field
horizontal stress, thus evolving longitudinal fractures throughout
the horizontal section. Every aspect was considered for drilling,
cementing, perforating, well orientation, and creation of multiple
hydraulic propped fractures, and their isolation, completion, and
evaluation.
Planning the Well: The Main Challenges
The well had to be horizontal and have multiple fractures. This
was the only aspect of the new well that was defined. The project
team studied the following aspects:
In-situ stresses and the choice of the creation of transversal
or longitudinal fractures
Well design (short radius vs. long radius)
Selection of the fracturing treatmentthat is, propped fracture, acid fracture, or a combination of both
Cementation of the horizontal section of this subsea horizontal well
Method to isolate each fracture
Perforation of the well and related issues regarding the orientation of the well
113

Fig. 1 Structural map of the Quissam formation.


Fig. 2 Electrical image log of dedicated well.

Best spacing of the fractures and fracture length, height, and


width and characteristics of the tip screenout (TSO)
Best use of calibration tests to optimize the pad and proppant
laden fluid volumes
Ways to control proppant flowback
Methods to evaluate each fracture without testing each one
individually
Direction of the Minimum Horizontal Stress. It is widely agreed
that previous knowledge of induced-fracture direction in a field to be
developed with propped-fracture wellsor even acid-fracture-stimulated horizontal wellsis extremely important. The project team
realized that the far-field fracture direction in the Enchova field could
not be well defined solely upon data from offset wells. Therefore,
it was decided to drill a dedicated well to collect these data. This
dedicated well was drilled in June 2004, and fracture-orientation data
were gathered by two microhydraulic fracturing treatments (microfrac test), followed by recovering three oriented cores and by the run
of an electrical image log (Fig. 2). In the cores, complementary tests
were conducted: anelastic-strain recovery and velocity-anisotropy
measurements. The data showed good agreement among them and
indicated a general west/east fracture direction for the Enchova field.
In addition, the magnitude of the principal stresses was estimated,
and this indicated that previously planned stimulation equipment (on
stimulation vessels) and planned completion/production equipment
could withstand fracturing pressures and movement effects associated with the stimulation processes.
The selection of transverse-fracture (the wellbore is drilled in
the minimum-horizontal-stress direction, and the hydraulically
induced fracture will be perpendicular to the wellbore axis) vs.
longitudinal-fracture (the wellbore is drilled in the maximumhorizontal-stress direction, and the hydraulically induced fracture
will be parallel to the wellbore axis) completions was considered
carefully. Points considered were the position of this new HRMF
well in the Enchova field, considering the permeability of the
reservoir, desired well deliverability, economics, proppant placement, and the long-term production, especially taking into account
that the Quissam formation of Enchova field is depleted and the
average pressure is below bubblepoint. The first and the last points
mentioned in the preceding sentence were decisive in completing
the HRMF well with longitudinal fractures.
Another consideration was the number of fractures to be
placed on the HRMF well. Published data report from four to 18
fractures in a single horizontal section (Owens et al. 1992; Norris
et al. 1998; Cook and Brekke 2004). The literature also shows
that for most reservoirs, a horizontal well with multiple fractures
114

outperforms a horizontal open hole when there are more than three
fractures (Lietard and Hegeman 1998). It has also been shown that
when steady-state flow is established, the flow into the outermost
fractures can be much larger than that into the interior fractures.
However, if the well produces both oil and gas, the NWB pressure drop increases dramatically because of the reduced effective
fracture permeability, and this results in more-uniform inflow
distribution.
Considering that, it is implicit that the number of fractures
would be greater than three to show significant oil-productivity
impact, and, on the other hand, the number of fractures should be
minimized for reasons concerning logistics and cost-intensive rig
time in the offshore environment.
An in-house semianalytical model has been used for calculating
productivity index and production rate vs. time for a horizontal
well with multiple transverse or longitudinal fractures, and it was
used to define the optimum number of fractures. Finally, the number of fractures was established as seven.
It should be mentioned that this optimum number (seven)
of fractures on the first HRMF well in Campos basin has other
considerations. Seven fractures would not produce as much as 10,
14, or 18 fractures but, even so, would provide enough oil deliverability to demonstrate that this HRMF well should outperform
the openhole horizontal wells in Enchova and Bonito fields, and
it would be done in a shorter period of time.
Well Design. The objective set for that first HRMF well was to drill
a 1500 m (4,900 ft) horizontal section, 30 m (65 ft) below of the
top of the Quissam formation ( 2380 m or 7,810 ft total vertical
depth) and 7090 m (230295 ft) above the oil/water contact.
The main difference between the HRMF well and previous
horizontal wells drilled and completed in the Quissam formation is related to the liner cementation. Even so, it was decided to
keep the same design used on horizontal open holes; that is, plan
the well with a long radius, using experience previously gained,
and be able to use more-conventional drilling equipment from the
spud to total depth. As usual, in all Campos basin horizontal wells,
the HRMF well was drilled with a semisubmersible rig equipped
with topdrive.
The casing program included a 30-in. conductor jetted to 215
m, a 20-in. casing from wellhead to 500 m, a 1338-in. casing from
wellhead to 1600 m, a 958-in. casing from wellhead to top of Quissam, and a 7-in. liner through the horizontal section.
Selection of Fracturing Treatment. To select the best fracturing
method and to obtain a simulation of the effectiveness of each
March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

fracturing method on the Enchova HRMF well, core samples from


the Quissam formation were sent to three different laboratories.
From the tested core plugs, several conditions were reviewed,
including porosity, permeability, and mineralogy measurements;
geomechanical evaluations [Youngs modulus, Poissons ratio,
Brinell hardness number (BHN), and proppant embedment]; acidfracture-related measurements (acid-fracture conductivity vs. acid
system, reaction-rate coefficients, acid diffusivity, acid solubility,
and acid-effluents analysis).
Porosity and oil permeability displayed values of 1622% and
0.20.7 md, respectively. The permeability values were below
expectations.
The Youngs-modulus measurement shows variations between
2.34 106 to 3.34 106 psi, not as high as in hard formations and
not as low as in the soft North Sea chalk. The Youngs-moduli
values suggested that the rock would not be deformedfracture
widthas easily as first anticipated. Moreover, if high Youngs
moduli are associated with lower porosity, it could mean that a
fracture/fissure natural network can be activated under hydraulicfracturing conditions (Cipolla et al. 2007).
The hardness of Quissam formation was measured in terms of
the BHN, the ratio of the load in kilograms to the spherical area of 1
mm2 of indentation. Using the same general criteria as in the North
Sea (Cook and Brekke 2004), better results with acid fracturing
are expected in formations with BHN > 10 kg/mm2 (hard chalk),
while for soft chalks with BHN < 10 kg/mm2, a propped-fracture
treatment is recommended.
The BHN measurements of the Quissam formation showed
numbers between 9 and 39, but Fig. 3 depicts one of the results
gathered from a oedometer cell with the Quissam plug, filled with
2 lbm/ft2 of 20/40 synthetic ceramic after axial load of 5,000-psi net
closure stress, far beyond expected maximum drawdown. Although
the cores were relatively soft, the assays from the oedometer cell
suggest that a maximum proppant embedment of 13% would be
expected. It was also concluded that the primary cause of fracturewidth reduction would be from proppant compaction ranging from
515%, depending on bottomhole flowing pressure.
Acid-etch testing triggered low conductivity values, indicating
that the fracture/formation face etches almost uniformly and does
not give much of a differential etching to create adequate acidetched conductivity. In addition, taking the BHN as a direct measurement of Nierode-Kruk term RES or rock embedment strength,
low conductivity values from acid-fracturing can be expected. Furthermore, the project team had compared the production behavior
of all acid fractured wells in the Enchova field (see Introduction,
first main stimulation period) and had realized that the most likely
explanation for such behavior is related to the collapse of all acidcreated fractures. However, the project team also had considered
that that well should be treated as a laboratory well, and it offered
a specific scenario to compare propped and acid fractures directly.
Therefore, it was decided to perform at least one acid fracture in
this HRMF well.

Fig. 3 20/40-mesh ceramic embedment in Quissam formation.


March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

The test program also included the measurement of acid reaction rates, reaction order coefficients, and acid diffusivity to obtain
proper data for acid computer simulations.
Horizontal-Section Cementation. Lack of bond between the
pipe (7-in. cemented liner) and formation is thought to be one of
the most important factors that can lead to stimulation-treatment
failures. Higher stress levels at perforations and multiple high-pressure cycles during multiple fractures impose tremendous stresses
on cement sheaths. So, unless the cement sheath between each
pair of fractures presents full seal of the pipe/formation annulus
with very-low-permeability cement, the fracturing fluid, under
high pressures, may travel through lower-stress sites instead of
propagating the fracture. The fracturing fluid during early stages
may clean up cement channels, allowing proppant placement
along these channels. Literature shows that in one case there were
evidence that proppant traveled approximately 100 ft behind the
casing, re-entering the casing and damaging the work string (Kogsbll et al. 1993). Low-quality cement may add tortuosity, enhance
premature-screenout risk, compromise zonal isolation, and, in
more adverse situations, damage the fracturing string.
In this HRMF well, despite careful planning, the cement operation presented a few problems because the liner could not be rotated
immediately before pumping the cement slurry. Cement evaluation
through sonic and ultrasonic logs was not straightforward because
of the tools eccentricity. The logs were interpreted, and a mud
channel in the lower part of the well was diagnosed along most of
the horizontal section. To deal with the mud channel, the following
procedures were adopted: (a) intervals of good cement, generally
close to casing centralizers, were highlighted; (b) each planned
perforation interval was relocated on the basis of the good-cement
intervals; (c) it was assumed that the indication of pressure-dependent leakoff behavior in the pressure-decline analysis could also
be because of the mud channel; (d) in case of pressure-dependent
leakoff, slugs of 1- to 2-ppa 100-mesh sand were pumped in the
main treatment pads to fill the mud channels.
Regarding cement planning and execution, the significant
change for the next HRMF wells in Campos basin was the replacement of low-torque, low-drag ordinary centralizers with flexible,
integral centralizers. This decision was made after exchanging
ideas with more-experienced Danish personnel.
Isolation Method of Each Fracture. Three common methods to
isolate fractures during multiple-fracture operations are (a) the use
of recoverable or millable bridge plugs; (b) plugs-and-guns method
(Cook and Brekke 2004); and (c) the method that allows perforation, stimulation, and isolation in one trip (Damgaard et al. 1992).
The project team evaluated the pros and cons of each method and
decided to use the third method.
This completion method allows each zone to be mechanically
isolated during both stimulation and production. This is an important feature, even in a subsea well, because it allows better reservoir
management, since was expected, and later confirmed, that there
were great differences in reservoir pressure along the horizontal
section of the well.
Another excellent feature of this completion method is that the
annulus between the work string and the liner is kept open during
stimulation, providing direct access to bottomhole pressure, using
the static annulus pressure, or live annulus.
Perforation of the Well. The HRMF well was planned to be drilled
along the direction of the expected fracture growth, thus evolving
longitudinal fractures throughout the horizontal section. However,
even in this favorable situation, one is to assume the risks associated with misalignment of fracture and wellbore and develop ways
to overcome them.
When perforations are misaligned with respect to the preferred
fracture plane, hydraulic fracturing often results in increased NWB
complexity (e.g., tortuosities and high frictional pressure losses). In
addition, this generates multiple competing fractures that may lead to
NWB proppant bridging, rapid or premature screenout, incomplete
fracture placement, and fractures lacking enough conductivity.
115

TABLE 1DISTRIBUTION OF PERFORATED AND


STIMULATED INTERVALS
Stage

PerforationsMD/TVD (m)

Type of Stimulation

41864188/2404.7

Hydraulic fracturing

40194021/2405.0

Hydraulic fracturing

38293831/2404.6

Hydraulic fracturing

36743676/2405.1

Hydraulic fracturing

34643466/2405.2

Hydraulic fracturing

32493251/2404.7

Hydraulic fracturing

30293031/2405.6

Acid fracturing

From horizontal wellbores, it was recognized that specific


considerations must be taken into account when planning the perforating operations for fracture treatments. Because of the redistribution of stresses immediately adjacent to the drilled wellbore, the
preferred initiation point of the fracture is near the top and bottom
surfaces of the wellbore. Then, for horizontal wells with longitudinal fractures, the recommended procedure is to align perforations
to the top and lower sides of the borehole, that is, 180 phasing
(Abass et al. 1994). With this phasing, perforations penetrate the
tensile areas of the wellbore and create the desired fracture initiation along the axis of the well. For this particular well configuration, the length of each perforated zone was approximately 610
ft along the wellbore, with 180 phasing and 46 shots/ft. Table 1
shows the distribution of perforated and stimulated intervals.
Fracture Length, Height, Width, and Agressivity of Net Pressure Gain. The known relationship CfD = kfw/kx denotes that to
increase the dimensionless fracture conductivity CfD, it is required
to increase the kfw product (Economides and Nolte 2000). In fact, it
is the only way to make multiple fractures work in such a scenario
of soft to medium-soft formations with reduced wellbore contact.
Thus, the fracture design must be planned to accomplish TSO by
arresting the length growth, inflating the fracture, and finally feeding it with crescent proppant concentrations.
Because the bottomhole flowing pressure was projected to be
1,800 psi, and assuming a minimum-horizontal-stress gradient for
Enchova field between 0.580.60 psi/ft at 7,810 ft, the calculated
closure stress on proppant was 2,730 psi. Therefore, high-strength
proppants were not needed to support the effective closure pressures during production. However, frac-pack experience in Campos basin (Neumann et al. 2002) suggests that a more-rounded
and -conductive proppant is useful to further improve fracture
conductivity.
The above-mentioned in-house semianalytical model predicted
the need to obtain conductivities between 3,000 and 4,000 md-ft.
Assuming a fracture half-length (x) of 165 ft (50 m) and 1-md
formation permeability (k), the estimated average CfD number was
18 and can be considered infinite. Calculations from a commercial
hydraulic-fracture simulator show that this result can be accomplished using 12 lbm/ft2 of high-quality proppant (i.e., 20/40- or
16/20-mesh ceramic or bauxite).
These simple estimations showed that the TSO was a need, but
not as aggressively as practiced in similar work in the North Sea.
Moreover, assuming that the average proppant concentration in the
fracture is a function of the net pressure gain and its increase after
TSOlarger increases result in higher proppant concentrations in
the fracturea net pressure gain of 300500 psi was estimated to
be enough to provide the desired conductivity. These numbers also
provide a quick way to decide if a fracture treatment should be
repeated or not, in case of problems during pumping operations. In
conclusion, TSO design and higher-quality proppant were selected
to allow better fracture/well connection and overcome embedment
effects on the fracture plane.
In an ideal condition, the longitudinal fractures needed to be
near tip-to-tip to maximize productivity, but it is not feasible in
Enchova field today. From a hydraulic-fracture point of view,
the Quissam formation is very homogeneous, with no barriers
116

to control fracture height, and fracture growth is expected to be


radial. In this situation, one must select another parameter to fix
the maximum fracture height. Moreover, in this HRMF well, the
design defined to allow fracture growth until the 50%-water-saturation (Sw) level is reached, to delay water breakthrough, once the
HRMF well is on production.
Definition and Best Use of Calibration Tests. Calibration tests
play a major role in horizontal fracturing treatments. Calibration
tests can help to determine presence or absence of tortuosity, fracture complexity, and fluid-loss behavior; they help to determine the
value of minimum horizontal stress; help to use, or not, proppant
slugs; and define pad volume; and proppant-laden fluid volume; to
achieve TSO, maximizing final fracture conductivity.
In this HRMF well, calibration tests consisted of three individual steps:
1. Injectivity test (IT) or FET with completion fluid.
2. Step-down test (SDT) with completion fluid.
3. Minifrac with seawater crosslinked guar gel.
Logistics and economics lead the initial frac design to be
performed on the basis of a fracture efficiency of 40%, calculated
from estimated leakoff coefficients of 0.0020.003ft/min for 30to 35-lbm/1,000 gal borate crosslinked guar gel.
Both IT and minifrac volumes and rates were defined based on
the preceding assumptions. The project team emphasized the use
of G-function analysis and its derivatives because it does uniquely
identify fluid-loss behavior. The project team also emphasized the
use of square root of time, in conjunction with G-function, to better
define fracture closure pressures.
And, because of the completion method elected, all of the
preceding analysis was planned to be conducted using bottomhole
treating pressure read from the live annulus.
Control the Proppant Flowback. Proppant flowback is a concern when deploying this type of completion because screens are
uncommon and the oil-flow path is through a limited number of
perforations. The use of resin-coated proppants is very common in
the North Sea, but Brazilian experience is limited. Logistics and
concern about premature screenouts associated with the amount
of resin-coated proppants used in the main treatment (100%,
50%, or only tail in) lead to the decision to use other proppantflowback agents, supplied by service companies involved in this
project. Thus, a liquid resin-coated system (Nguyen et al. 2002)
and deformable proppants (Stephenson et al. 2002) were used and
added in all proppant stages.
Evaluation of Each Fracture. A semisubmersible rig drilled and
completed this HRMF well. In an ideal world, the best way to
know the productivity of each created fracture is testing each one
separately. However, this is a cost prohibitive approach because one
can estimate that it takes 10 days to clean, flow, and perform a pressure-buildup test, which would mean a testing period of 70 days.
A solution given was to tag all individual stages of each of the
seven fractures with oil- and water-soluble tracers. Both types of
tracers are relatively inert, stable at reservoir conditions, and can
be analyzed at very low parts-per-billion levels.
Once the well is on production, collected water and oil samples
can be analyzed for presence of both tracers. The shape of the
tracer-concentration vs. time curve provides an estimate of flow
velocity from each of the fractures. A sharp pulse of tracer in the
backflow following by rapid decline of tracer concentration is an
indicator of good production of that zone. A relatively slow flow
will be observed from an individual zone if the tracer profile is
much shallower, associated with a tail concentration.
Well Construction: Highlights
General Operational Procedures. All seven fracture stages on
this HRMF well were executed deploying a work string, use of the
isolation system elected, which is using free circulation of stimulation fluids without any tool or string manipulation and the use of
direct bottomhole-pressure measurements, read from annulus pressure. Typical fracture treatments included the following stages:
March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

Fig. 4 G-function analysis, IT, Interval 1.

Fig. 5 Square-root-of-time analysis, IT, Interval 1.

1. Close blowout-preventer (BOP) rams and perform completionfluid IT.


2. Analyze IT data to determine fracture-closure pressure, fracture complexity, and fluid-loss behavior.
3. Perform SDT with completion fluid.
4. Analyze SDT data to determine NWB tortuosity, and determine the use of proppant slug in the minifrac.
5. Open BOP rams and circulate minifracs crosslinked gel to
near the end of the work string.
6. Close BOP rams and perform minifrac, flushing it with
completion fluid.
7. Analyze minifrac data to determine fracture-closure pressure,
fracture complexity, and fluid-loss behavior.
8. Analyze and compare IT, SDT, and minifrac together, and
determine the use of proppant slug in the main treatment. Calibrate
the simulation model and adjust pad size and proppant-laden-fluid
schedule, on the basis of the minifrac analysis.
9. Open BOP rams and pump main-treatment pad (with or without 12 ppa 100-mesh sand slugs, and 12 ppa of 20/40- or 16/20mesh ceramic slugs), circulating completion fluid at low rate.
10. Close BOP rams as soon as the main-treatment pad reaches
the vicinity of perforations, and increase rate to fracturing rate.
11. Pump proppant-laden fluid, adding designed proppantflowback agent in all stages.
12. Flush treatment with completion fluid at fracturing rates.
13. Shut down and start forced closure procedures.
The preceding procedures were developed on the basis of
published North Sea chalk fracture-stimulation practices (Owens
et al. 1992; Norris et al. 1998), especially Cipolla et al. (2007), and
specific experience of fracturing and packing on Campos basin, as
well as Quissam data.

same IT pressure decline but using square root of time and its
derivative dP/dt. Inspection of Figs. 4 and 5 shows a very good
agreement between them, in regard to the definition of fractureclosure pressure.
In the sequence of calibrations tests, an SDT was performed,
and Fig. 6 depicts its interpretation. The pressure drop is approximately 300 psi, accepted as normal, and no slug was deployed to
remove such restriction.
Figs. 7 and 8 show the minifrac pressure decline, G-function,
and square root of time. They define the same fracture-closure
pressure that is in very good agreement with that closure pressure
from IT pressure-decline analysis.
The G-function of Fig. 7 also shows a normal decline with a
minimum signal of height recession.

Calibration Tests: Ideal Decline and Low NWB Tortuosity.


Fig. 4 shows Interval 1, 41864188 m, IT pressure decline using
G-function, and its semilog derivative, G dP/dG. Fig. 5 shows the

Calibration Tests: Nonideal Decline and High NWB Tortuosity.


Fig. 9 shows the pressure decline using G-function and its semilog
derivative, G dP/dG. Fig. 10 shows the same pressure decline but
using square root of time as its derivative dP/dt from IT performed
in Interval 4, 36743676 m. Inspection of the curves of Figs. 9 and
10 shows a very good agreement between them, defining the same
fracture-closure pressure.
In the sequence of calibration tests, an SDT was performed,
and Fig. 11 depicts its interpretation. The pressure drop is approximately 800 psi, and it was considered abnormal. Thus, this result
recommended the use of proppant slug in the main treatment to
remove such restriction.
Figs. 12 and 13 show the minifrac pressure decline, G-function, and square root of time. They define almost the same fracture-closure pressure that is in very good agreement with closure
pressure from IT pressure-decline analysis.
However, the G-function now shows a very distinct behavior.
Instead of the ideal behavior, one now can see pressure-dependent
leakoff signature, not strong, that lasts until G-function of 0.3, followed by a height recession that lasts until G-function of 1.3.

Fig. 6 SDT analysis, Interval 1.

Fig. 7 G-function analysis, minifrac test, Interval 1.

March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

117

Fig. 8 Square-root-of-time analysis, minifrac test, Interval 1.


Fig. 9 G-function analysis, IT, Interval 4.

Fig. 10 Square-root-of-time analysis, IT, Interval 4.

Fig. 11 SDT analysis, Interval 4.

The SDT and the minifrac results also receommended the use
of two slugs. The first slug included 100-mesh sand to overcome
or minimize the pressure-dependent leakoff effects. The second
slug included 12 ppa of 20/40-mesh ceramic to remove or reduce
the NWB tortuosities.
Fig. 14 shows a zoom of the main treatment of the Interval 4
at the moment when both slugs hit the perforations. The line with
x marks is the surface rate, the line with circle marks is the
measured bottomhole pressure, and the line with the square marks
is the bottomhole proppant concentration.
When the 100-mesh sand hits the perforations between 30 and 33
minutes, the increase in the bottomhole pressure suggests the sanding out of the fissures. When the proppant slug hits the perforations,
between the 35 and 40 minutes, the bottomhole pressure drops rapidly
by 200300 psi, clearly suggesting the removal of NWB tortuosity.

Fig. 15 depicts the Nolte-Smith plot of the main treatment of


Interval 4. The figure clearly shows the radial trend of that fracture
treatment and the generation of 300400 psi of net pressure gain
after the TSO event.
Fig. 15 illustrates the analysis process and results for one fracture treatment stage of this HRMF well. The minifrac results were
fed into the simulator model, and it iterated to define a solution
by simulating the observed pump-in net pressure and by matching the closure time, fluid efficiency, and Youngs modulus. The
resulting leakoff coefficient in each case was in good agreement
with the estimated value in the first design, hence the pad volume
was increased only to generate the desired height and length and
to ensure correct generation of tip screenout. The Interval-4 main
fracture treatment consisted of a 350-bbl pad (with 70 bbl of
1-ppa 100-mesh sand and 80 bbl of 1-ppa proppant slug) followed

Fig. 12 G-function analysis, minifrac test, Interval 4.

Fig. 13 Square-root-of-time analysis, minifrac test, Interval 4.

118

March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

Fig. 14 Reaction to sand and proppant slugs in Interval 4.

Fig. 15 Interval 4, Nolte-Smith net pressure match.

by 1,430 bbl of proppant-laden fluid with some 200,000 lbm of


20/40-ceramic.
On the basis of the same model, an average CfD number of 21
was estimated for that propped treatment. Basically, this is the
same CfD used in the design phase of the project.

Circulate the completion fluid out of the well completely.


Completion fluid, for having very low viscosity, may penetrate more
easily into the eventual natural fractures/fissures system and thus
open the way to more-viscous fluid to follow it. On the other hand, if
only viscous gel is used, one can assume that one wider fracture will
be created, decreasing the possibility of multiple smaller fractures.
Change the proppant-ramp schedule, using a less-aggressive
and more-conventional ramp.
Deployment of proppant slugs in the main pad.
That more-conventional proppant schedule was fed into the simulation model and showed good results in terms of delaying the TSO
event, softening the net pressure gain, and achieving enough fracture
conductivity. And, of course, this proppant schedule was adopted in
all subsequent hydraulic-fracturing treatments in this well.
The modifications worked well, and the treatment was performed as planned, shown in Fig. 17, where the line with x
marks is the surface rate, the line with circle marks is the measured
bottomhole pressure, and the line with the square marks is the bottomhole proppant concentration.

Interval 3, Effect of Completion-Fluid Injection and Proppant


Schedule. The first frac attempt in Interval 3, 32893831 m, ended
soon because of a premature-screenout event. Fig. 16 shows the
treatment data for the first hydraulic-fracture treatment. Again, the
line with x marks is the surface rate, the line with circle marks
is the measured bottomhole pressure, and the line with the square
marks is the bottomhole proppant concentration.
Two points deserve mention in Fig. 16. The first one is the
absence of circulation of completion fluid, which can be noticed by
the immediate growth of the bottomhole treating pressure as soon
as the treatment began. The second point is the designed proppant
ramp, which had no relation to equipment malfunctioning on the
stimulation boat. The proppant schedule was just as depicted on
Fig. 16, as odd as that appears to be.
The assumption behind this strange proppant schedule showed
in Fig. 16 was an attempt to delay the TSO event. Fractures 1
and 2 had either too -aggressive net pressure gain after the TSO
event or too little net pressure gain after the TSO event. Clearly
this proppant schedule did not work as planned in the fracturing
of Interval 3.
The decision taken by the project team was to repeat the
hydraulic fracture in Interval 3, making a few changes in the
treatment design:
Higher fracturing rate, increased from 25 to 30 bbl/min.
Use of more-viscous gel, increasing its polymer load from
35 to 45 lbm/gal.

Final Results
By the end of May 2005, the HRMF well was completed and
declared ready for production with six propped fractures and one
acid fracture. All fractures were mechanically isolated with packers
and sliding-sleeve (SLV) doors.
At the end of well drilling, the reservoir-pressure data collected
showed a large reservoir-pressure distribution along horizontal section
with differences up to 400 psi or 30 kgf/cm2. By manipulating SLVs,
one can choose which interval will be placed in production, preventing unwanted crossflows caused by pressure difference. And, on the
basis of reservoir simulations, it was expected that the bottomhole
flowing pressure would be approximately 2,1002,300 psi or 150

Fig. 16 First treatment in the Interval 3.

Fig. 17 Second treatment in the Interval 3.

March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

119

Fig. 18 Formation pressure vs. lateral extension and SLVs


situation.

160 kgf/cm2. On the basis of this assumption, it was decided not to


produce from all zones at once. Instead, it was decided to isolate
Intervals 3, 4, and 5, to avoid crossflow effects related to pressure
differences once they were below expected bottomhole pressure.
The original plan was to follow up the evolution of the reservoir
pressure of the Quissam reservoir from a pressure downhole gauge.
This feature will allow deciding to move a rig back to the well as
soon as the downhole-pressure-gauge data shows that the reservoir
pressures are matched with actual pressures of Intervals 3, 4, and 5.
Fig. 18 shows the distribution of the reservoir pressure (upper pressure line is the pressure at the measured depth and lower pressure
line is the pressure at the datum) and the status of the SLVs on this
well, with SLVs 1, 2, 6, and 7 opened and SLVs 3, 4, and 5 closed
by November 2005, when the well was put on stream.
As planned, water and oil samples were collected from the well
once it was on production. Those samples were analyzed for presence of both tracers. The results are presented in Table 2. Below
are some outputs from the tracer analysis:
Stage 1 returned 2% of the tracer injected, with 90% of that
in 61 hours.
Stage 2 provided the majority of the production with 7.6%
total tracer returned, and 90% of that had returned in the shortest
time at 47 hours.
Stage 3 was reported to have the SLV closed, but 0.45% of the
tracer that was used in this stage had returned, similar to Stages 6
and 7. The time frame was similar to Stage 2. It can be inferred from
this output that the SLV is leaking, or there is some communication
between Intervals 3 and 2, indicating a bad cement sheath.
Stages 4 and 5 were also reported to have their SLVs closed,
and the small amounts of tracer (0.015% or less) seen from these
two stages indicate that those sleeves are closed.
Stage 6 returned 0.45% of the total tracer injected, but over
a significantly longer time frame, suggesting lower production
caused by possible lower permeability or pressures in that stage.
The acid frac (Stage 7) returned 0.47% of the total tracer
injected, with a flow rate compared to Stage 1. The tracer-return
responses suggest that the majority of the tracer from this stage
should have been in the initial few hours of production.

In summary, this information in combination indicates that the


major oil production is from Stage 2, with Stage 1 producing less than
15% of the total production, followed by small production from Stages
3, 6, and 7. Stages 4 and 5 do appear to have the SLV closed because
no significant tracer was returned from these two stages. The flow
timing of the tracer curves from most stages shows first tracer response
in the samples 4 hours after production started, except for Stage 6,
which had a much longer time to flow to surface, at 7 hours.
After a few days of production, it was also noted that the actual
bottomhole flowing pressure of 1,1001,150 psi or 7580 kgf/cm2
was far below the anticipated bottomhole flowing pressure of
2,1002,300 psi or 150160 kgf/cm2.
The project team had decided to move back to the well to open
SLVs 3, 4, and 5 to improve the oil production because the pressure
drop was favorable for those intervals to give additional oil.
In April 2006, a semisubmersible rig was moved to the well
and SLVs 3, 4, and 5 were open after an unplanned coiled-tubing
trip to clean the well of an unexpected proppant bed.
Another unexpected event was a massive but short-lived proppant
flowback. For a period of 810 days, the proppant was produced
in quantities that could have jeopardized the production facilities.
After those 10 days, the proppant flowback vanished. Production
data were reanalyzed, and some minor proppant flowback has been
observed since the beginning of the well production but without
jeopardizing the production facilities. Both results were easily correlated with the kind of proppant-flowback-prevention agent used. The
liquid resin-coated system presented much superior performance.
Finally, Fig. 19 shows the average monthly well production
from November 2005 to January 2008. Both oil production [square
marks, of 820 BOPD (130 m3/d)] and gas/oil ratio (GOR) (circle
marks, of 250 m3/m3) is increasing.
In addition, one can note that opening the remaining SLVs in
April 2006 added, on average, some 125190 BOPD or 2030
m3/d to the well production.
Considering that this HRMF well has been on production for a
relatively long period of time, that is, more than three years, it is
possible to confirm on maintenance of oil-production levels.
Independent Post-Job Evaluation
An independent stimulation company was contracted to evaluate
fracture-treatment data and post-fracture well performance of that
HRMF well. The objective of the study was to provide a post-job
evaluation and recommendations for future completion strategies.
Below are some of the main study conclusions:
The majority of fracture treatments were pumped successfully
and appear to have achieved reasonable stimulation while avoiding
downward growth into the transition and water zones.
On the basis of modeled fracture geometries, estimated fracture
coverage along the horizontal wellbore is approximately 35%.
The actual water production closely tracks the oil-production
profile, indicating that most of the water is currently coming from
the main pay zone and not coning upward from the water zones
below, which would result in a steadily increasing water rate. This
also confirms that the hydraulic fractures did not grow downward
into the transition and water zones.

TABLE 2TRACER RESPONSES IN HRMF ENCHOVA WELL BY NOVEMBER 2005


Stage

Tracer Return (%)

Initial Tracer
Return (hours)

25% Tracer
Return (hours)

50% Tracer
Return (hours)

90% Tracer
Return (hours)

Sliding
Sleve

2.01

17

25

61

Open

7.62

17

20

47

Open

0.45

17

22

49

Closed*

0.005

15

21

47

Closed

0.015

18

24

53

Closed

0.476

31

47

153

Open

0.477

17

24

61

Open

*Closed but leaking.

120

March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

Fig. 19 Average monthly production of HRMF Enchova well.

Provided that economic success is achievable with current


production, it is recommended to continue longitudinal-proppedfracture treatments by applying the lessons learned from this well.
Increasing current fracture conductivities appears to have a
limited impact on production. Thus, it is recommended to consider
increasing the coverage along the lateral by adding more stages.
The economic and technical feasibility of increasing the number of
stages to 10 (50% fracture coverage) or more for a 1500-m lateral
should be evaluated. Increasing treatment size is not recommended
at this point because more height growth leads to a higher risk of
penetrating the transition zone.
Production modeling indicates that there is no significant production difference between longitudinal and transverse fractures.
This confirms the project-team decision that longitudinal fractures
are the better option in this case because they have less operational
risk and are easier to place.

6. The few data available suggest that the injection of completion


fluid ahead of the main pad may significantly increase the aperture of natural fractures/fissures in the Quissam formation.
7. The major oil production is from Interval 2 in this HRMF
Enchova well.
8. The production result from Interval 7 appears to confirm that
acid-created fractures are not able to sustain medium-and longterm high productivity in the Quissam formation.
9. The resin-coated-type material presented superior performance
to avoid proppant-flowback issues.
10. The relatively low water production suggests the fracture can
be allowed to grow downward until it reaches the 50%-watersaturation (Sw) level.
11. The relatively stable oil production suggests this HRMF well
reached its objective in providing a more sustained long term
productivity.

Future Work and Improvements


For future HRMF wells in Campos basin, some factors will need
to be considered:
The study mentioned in the preceding section suggests that
there is not a real need of more-aggressive treatments; that is, not
larger net pressure gain after TSO may be attempted
How to obtain larger net pressure gain if Youngs modulus is
greater than 3 106 psi
It is necessary to further evaluate if there is a relationship
between higher porosities and higher Youngs modulus and if it
means activation or dilation of natural fractures/fissures during
hydraulic-fracturing conditions
The need for better understanding the real problems caused
by poor cementation of horizontal section
The need to use better proppant-flowback-prevention agents
The need to improve fracture coverage to at least 50% of the
horizontal wellbore

Nomenclature
CfD = dimensionless fracture conductivity
k = formation permeability
kf = fracture permeability
Rs = solution gas/oil ratio
xf = fracture half-length
w = fracture width

Conclusions
1. Adequate fracture height, length, and fracture conductivity were
obtained from most fracture treatments on the HRMF well,
Quissam formation.
2. The combination of G-function and square root of time pressuredecline analyses of both IT and minifrac resulted in a much morereliable and -consistent interpretation of fracture-closure pressure.
3. The application of G-function and G dP/dG derivative analysis of
minifrac data can aid in the identification of pressure-dependent
leakoff, thus providing an indication of potential fracture-treatment problems.
4. The application of SDT analysis is very useful in identifying
NWB tortuosities and in defining the need of deployment of
proppant slugs.
5. The available data from the Quissam formation suggest that
excessive fluid loss from activation or dilation of natural fractures/
fissures can be controlled with the use of 100-mesh-sand slugs.
March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to express their appreciation to the management of Petrobras, BJ Services, and Halliburton for their permission to publish this paper.
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SI Metric Conversion
bar 1.0*
bbl 1.589 873
cp 1.0*
ft 3.048*
ft3 2.831 685
F (F 32)/1.8
lbm 4.535 924
psi 6.894 757
*Conversion factor is exact.

122

Factors
E+05 = Pa
E01 = m3
E03 = Pas
E01 = m
E02 = m3
= C
E01 = kg
E+00 = kPa

Luis Fernando Neumann is a stimulation and sand control


specialist in the Petrobras headquarters at Rio de Janeiro.
He is a chemical engineer and graduated from FENGE PUCRS (Faculdade de Engenharia da Pontifcia Universidade
Catlica do Rio Grande do Sul). Neumann joined Petrobras
in 1987 and worked with stimulation fluids quality control. In
1991, he moved to Macae and worked as a well completion
engineer in Campos basin, offshore Brasil. Neumanns main
focus is frac pack and hydraulic and acid frac stimulation.
Currently, he is a master degree student in the Universidade
Estadual de Campinas. P.D. Fernandes is a well engineer in
Petrobras Research Center (CENPES) where he has worked
with stimulation and sand control since 1992. He holds a BS
degree in electrical engineering from Universidade Federal
de Juiz de Foar and holds MS and PhD degrees in petroleum
engineering from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas.
Marcos Antonio Rosolen is a well engineer in the Petrobras
headquarters at Rio de Janeiro, where he has coordinated
the stimulation area since 1975. Before this, he worked as a
well completion and reservoir engineer at Reconcavo basin,
in Bahia. Rosolen holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from the Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto and a PhD
degree in mechanical engineering from the Universidade
Estadual de Campinas. His main interest is hydraulic fracturing. He has also acted in knowledge management activities
and given courses to Petrobras trainees. Valdo F. Rodrigues
is a Well Engineering Consultant with Petrobras University
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is a doctorate student in the
North Fluminense University. He is involved with completion
design. J.A. Silva Neto is a well engineering consultant with
Petrobras at Campos Basin asset, Maca, Brazil. He joined
Petrobras in 1987 and worked with well completion operations since then. C.A. Pedroso is a well stimulation and sand
control consultant with Petrobras Maca, Brazil. He holds an
MS degree in petroleum engineering from the Universidade
Estadual de Campinas. Alfredo Mendez graduated from
Texas Tech University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has spent 13 years in the service sector and has completed assignments in Venezuela, Brazil, and the Middle East.
Mendezs main interest and experience has been in hydraulic fracturing, sand control, and stimulation techniques. He
has authored or co-authored several SPE papers and has
participated in numerous SPE workshops throughout the
world. Mendez is currently the Eastern Hemisphere Technical
Manager for Weatherford based in Dubai, U.A.E. Daniel
Torres works with Halliburton. His current position is Production
Enhancement Country Operations Manager in Mexico. Torres
is a civil engineer who graduated from UFRN (Universidade
Federal do Rio Grande do Norte) in Natal Brazil and has a
specialization in petroleum engineering by Universidade
Estacio de S in Maca Brazil. He has more than 13 years of
experience in the industry working in Brazil and Mexico as
a field engineer, a senior field engineer, an account representative, a sales leader, and a Latin America technology
manager for production enhancement. During this time, he
also supported other areas in short term assignments like the
Gulf of Mexico and Malaysia.

March 2010 SPE Drilling & Completion