​What’s a zipper frac? Chinook’s new Montney completion system

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

Pure play Montney operator Chinook Energy says it is encouraged by a new fracking completion system that it plans to incorporate in future drilling.

The company says that during the second quarter it successfully completed four wells at Birley/Umbach in northeast B.C. using a “zipper frac” technique.

In a zipper frac, Chinook says adjacent wells are fracked in an alternating stage sequence.

“This technique assists adjacent well fractures to avoid each other while maximizing the exposure of new reservoir rock,” the company explains.

The wells were also completed using more frac stages and less proppant per stage, Chinook says, from 65 tonnes/stage to 55 tonnes/stage, as well as tighter frac spacing, from 65 metres to 52 metres.

The new wells have test rates averaging 1,762 boe/d, which GMP FirstEnergy analyst Robert Fitzmartyn noted is ahead of the firm’s type curve expectation of 943 boe/d.

“While we view the Birley/Umbach results positively, we would look to longer term production history for a better understanding of Chinook’s improved completion design and liquids profile,” Fitzmartyn wrote in a research note on Thursday.

The new wells will be equipped and will commence production at restricted rates in October, Chinook says.

The company also continues the construction of a compressor expansion at Birley/Umbach that will increase capacity from 25 mmcf/d to 50mmcf/d of raw natural gas. The expansion is expected to be completed in early December.