Integrated Completion Sensitivities for Horizontal-Well Design in the Vaca Muerta

The boom in organic shale plays has revealed the critical need to size hydraulic-fracture treatments correctly to achieve commercial success. The right balance must be found between the cost of fracturing and the additional production achieved by increasing the formation-to-wellbore contact area. The complete paper examines a range of completion scenarios to evaluate the relationship between hydraulic-fracture design, production, and well profitability by use of numerical simulations to guide completion of horizontal wells in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta Shale.

Introduction

The Vaca Muerta Shale is the source rock of most of the producing formations in the Neuquén Basin, with high potential as a standalone reservoir. The first well aiming at testing production from the play was drilled and completed in 2010, and, at the end of 2016, the production from the formation involved more than 600 wells. Well-construction practices have moved from creating vertical wells to creating horizontal wells.

In any organic shale play, completion has a significant weight in the total well cost and must be sized adequately. Completion design is composed of the volume and number of hydraulic fractures to be created along the lateral, and it must be engineered according to the specific features of each formation.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 185499, “Fracturing-to-Production Integrated Completion Sensitivities for Horizontal-Well Design in the Vaca Muerta Shale,” by S. Pichon, F. Cafardi, G.D. Cavazzoli, A. Diaz, and M.R. Lederhos, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2017 SPE Latin America and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference, Buenos Aires, 17–19 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Integrated Completion Sensitivities for Horizontal-Well Design in the Vaca Muerta

01 September 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 9

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