​Schlumberger HEAL System deployment and refracturing among techniques bolstering shale play recovery

Working with Calgary-based Production Plus Energy Services Inc., inventor of the HEAL System, Schlumberger said it has used the technology for several oil and gas customers in B.C. to increase productivity by an average of 75 per cent in 25 horizontal wells in the Montney Shale.

HEAL System technology is designed to lower production costs by mitigating multiphase slug fluid flow—caused by the separation of oil and gas in the horizontal pipes—and excessive gas interference during the production phases of horizontal unconventional wells.

With no moving parts, the HEAL System integrates into standard horizontal well completions and is designed to perform over the life of the well, according to Production Plus. The technology has now been introduced in all major liquid-rich shale basins in North America land.

In reporting its year-end results this week, the world’s largest oilfield services company also said its BroadBand Sequence fracturing service deployed in two shale plays to refracture wells for Calgary-based Encana Corporation resulted in significant production increases.

In the Eagle Ford Shale, the Broadband Sequence service increased oil production in one well from approximately 50 bbl/d to 650 bbl/d and increased flowing pressure from 250 psi to 5,000 psi.

In the Haynesville Shale, the BroadBand Sequence service helped increase gas production in one well from 100 mscf/d to 5,000 mscf/d, with flowing pressure increasing from 1,500 psi to 6,000 psi, Schlumberger said. Selection of the wells for refracturing was based on the quality of the reservoir, completion and production history, and location relative to offset wells.

The refractures were delivered by the company’s OneStim business, which is being expanded with the purchase in December of the U.S. hydraulic fracturing and pumpdown perforating businesses from Weatherford for $430 million. Schlumberger took ownership of Weatherford’s U.S.-based facilities, field assets, and supplier and customer contracts related to these businesses.

Schlumberger also reported it will exit the marine and land seismic acquisition market and instead turn its WesternGeco product line into an asset-light business. An in-depth evaluation of the present and future return prospects for all of its product lines determined that “the only product line that does not meet our return expectations going forward, even factoring in an eventual market recovery, is our seismic acquisition business,” Paal Kibsgaard, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Of the company’s $3.041 billion of pretax charges recorded during the fourth quarter, the WesternGeco seismic restructuring accounted for $1.114 billion. A write-down of its Venezuela business accounted for another $938 million.

“Over the past three years of unprecedented market downturn, we have proactively sought to strengthen our technology offering and our market presence in key markets around the world, with the expansion of our hydraulic fracturing presence in North America land being the most recent example,” Kibsgaard said.

In other technology news, Schlumberger reported:

  • BP will be a strategic partner on the DrillPlan digital well construction planning solution and on a future execution solution focused on the drilling of a well. BP will pilot these solutions during its development of the Khazzan field in Oman. The DrillPlan solution is the first step in the DELFI cognitive E&P environment. This technology has the potential to deliver a well planning program in days rather than weeks and is part of a fully integrated well construction offering.
  • The company commercialized the GROVE IST integrated seat technology ball valve that requires up to 70 per cent less torque, reducing wear on moving parts, resulting in lower total cost of ownership. The GROVE IST valve also weighs up to 40 per cent less than conventional ball valves, which is a key benefit in harsher environments where larger-sized valves are typically required. In addition, GROVE IST technology uses a patented seat-on-ball design that exceeded the industry standard on sealing performance by a factor of 100 during qualification pressure testing.
  • In Argentina, Drilling & Measurements used a combination of technologies for a major oil producer to drill the longest lateral section in the Vaca Muerta Shale play. The horizontal section in the Pampa de las Yeguas field is 3,152 metres in length. The technologies included the PowerDrive Orbit rotary steerable system and the PowerDrive Archer high build rate rotary steerable system.
  • In the Mexico sector of the Gulf of Mexico, IDS used a combination of technologies for Hokchi Energy to reduce drilling time by 154 days and improve the rate of penetration by 50 per cent in a four-well campaign, enabling Hokchi to drill a fifth appraisal well—all within the time frame and budget of the initial project scope.

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