Insights

Posted onJuly 18, 2018

Houston, TX

Dissolve your worries: A new option for extended reach completion design

Dissolve your worries: A new option for extended reach completion design

North American operators are reporting longer and longer average lateral lengths in the quest to drive efficiencies for their operations. For instance, a large operator in the Permian Basin has increased their average lateral length from ~5,000’ in 2016 to almost 10,000’ in 2018.

This effort has proven to be successful at increasing the ROI of their completions. Most of these wells are completed using the Plug & Perf methodology. This involves setting a plug, perforating the zone, fracing that zone, and then repeating for the entire length of the lateral. Once the well has been completed the plugs must be removed to allow for production. With striving for longer laterals, the removal of the plugs at the toe of the well become a concern.

Fully Dissolvable Plugs

One solution for this concern is for operators to deploy fully dissolvable plugs at the toe of the well. These plugs are designed to withstand the demands of the plug and perf operation (pump down and frac) and then through interactions with the wellbore fluids dissolve away, removing the need to mill them out. This solution is quite expensive 5-7.5x the cost of a standard composite plug and the performance is based on how well you match the right plug with the wellbore conditions.

In most wells, a considerable amount of the value coming from the clean out of plugs at the end of the completion operation comes from clearing the wellbore of sand and frac debris separate from the plugs. In many instances where fully dissolvable plugs are used, operators will still push their milling assemblies to bottom through the “dissolvable” zones to clean the well as much as possible.

The benefit of the fully dissolvable plug comes from creating an easier milling/cleaning operation at the toe of the well, not necessarily in eliminating the operation.

The benefit of the fully dissolvable plug comes from creating an easier milling/cleaning operation at the toe of the well, not necessarily in eliminating the operation.

 

RzrFRAC + Dissolvable Ball

Another option to achieve the same goal has now proven successful. This option is to deploy the RzrFRAC Composite Frac plug in the entire lateral and then where deemed appropriate utilize a dissolvable ball.

The RzrFRAC Composite Frac Plug provides several benefits. It is a fully optimized plug and perf solution, utilizing up to 70% less material by being very short and having a large ID. For instance, the 5.5” 20# RzrFRAC plug is 13” long and has a 3” ID. When run with a dissolvable ball, after dissolution, the remaining plug has only 6.3lbs of material.

Several customers who have utilized fully dissolvable plugs at the toe of their well, due to the inability to mill out traditional plugs in the past, have switched to running RzrFRAC with dissolvable balls. They have found that even in the furthest reaches of their completion they’ve been able to mill through the RzrFRAC plugs. Selecting this option over a fully dissolvable plug provides several benefits:

  • 60-70% cost savings over a fully dissolvable option
  • Fully composite optimized design has proven millable, even in the furthest reaches of the lateral
  • Large ID allows for production through the tool in the event it cannot be milled out
  • Simplifies completion operation by requiring only one plug design for the entire lateral
  • Dissolvable balls can be sourced in several different materials and tailored for the conditions of your completion

When exploring a dissolvable option for the toe of your completion consider utilizing the RzrFRAC paired with a dissolvable ball to simplify your completion design, reduce your investment, and tailor the completion to your specific well environment.

Cutting Edge Simplicity

The RzrFRAC has been designed to provide the most optimized plug and perf completion solution and the results prove it has achieved its goal. The plug provides a high pressure competent seal using 70% less material than the industry accepted alternative and is constructed entirely out of composite material. With close to 29,000 runs the RzrFRAC continues to delight our customers. Please contact me if you’d like to experience the RzrFRAC in your well at matthew.crump@rubicon-oilfield.com.