An Overview of Multistage Completion Systems for Hydraulic Fracturing

Disciplines: Production and Operations | Reservoir

Course Description

Shales and other low-permeability formations require multistage completions, hydraulic fracturing, and horizontal wells to produce at economic rates. This course focuses on the multistage completion systems that are used in these applications, including plug-and-perf, ball-activated systems (frac sleeves), and coiled tubing-activated systems (annular fracturing). Participants will learn the different types of multistage completion options and how they compare in different applications. They will also get an overview of low-permeability plays and learn the basics of hydraulic fracturing and refracturing.


  • An overview of applications that require multistage hydraulic fracturing
  • The basics of hydraulic fracturing and refracturing theory and design
  • Evolution of multistage completions
  • Wellbore completion options for multistage hydraulic fracturing
    • Plug-and-perf completions
    • Ball-activated completion systems (frac sleeves)
    • Coiled-tubing-activated completions systems (annular fracturing)
  • New multistage completion technologies
  • Benefits and considerations for each completion system
  • Application specific solutions for wellbore completion design
  • Refracturing options for existing wells

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the different types of multistage completions
  • Recognize the benefits and considerations for each type of completion system
  • Use knowledge gained to select completion based on their specific application
  • Understand basic theory and design of fracturing and refracturing wells

Learning Level

Introductory to Intermediate

Course Length

1 Day

Why Attend

In the last decade new production from shales and other low-permeability reservoirs that require multistage hydraulic fracturing has significantly influenced the price and supply of hydrocarbons. The success of these plays in North America has operators around the globe trying to identify similar reservoirs. In order to replicate these results in new plays and implement a more sustainable and improved approach to unconventional resource development in existing plays, it is important to understand and recognize the multiple options and challenges of multistage completion systems in these types of wells. 

Who Attends

This course is designed for all Oil and Gas Industry professionals involved in planning, drilling, completing, hydraulic fracturing, asset management, and operating wells with multistage hydraulic fracturing that want a better understanding of the different completion options available for this application.


0.8 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 1-day course. 

Additional Resources

This course has a supplemental book located in our SPE Bookstore entitled Hydraulic Fracturing Fundamentals and Advancements. Please check out this valuable resource!

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page. Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will. Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.


W. Aaron Burton’s career has been focused on the completion of shales and similar unconventional plays that require multistage hydraulic fracturing. In 2015, Burton started Unconventional Oil and Gas Training, a company specializing in training and consulting for unconventional multistage completions. Prior to starting the company, he was with Baker Hughes for nearly 8 years. During his tenure in operations he held the roles of field engineer, operations coordinator, and application engineer. Outside of operations he has been Product Line Strategist, Completions Manager for the Unconventional Resource Team, and Product Line Manager for unconventional multistage completions. He has completed wells, conducted training, and consulted on a variety of projects worldwide. Through his experience, he has developed a solid understanding of reservoir properties and stimulation design that are used in a data-driven approach to more effectively design completions in unconventional wells.

He is active in the industry authoring and instructing on the subject of unconventional completions. He has authored and coauthored three SPE papers, and continues to teach two SPE continuing education courses. He has written a variety of other documents including magazine articles and newsletters, and taught numerous classes in many different venues to operators, service companies, and other companies involved in the industry. Also, he has been a discussion leader, presenter, panelist, and participated in many other roles in industry events.

Burton holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University

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