Limitless™: A new frac technology for sustainable future

Limitless™ Frac System

The world is changing and the change is rapid. Everybody needs to adapt and evolve and become more aware of the ways we live and how that affects our future. This requires paying more attention to sustainable development of natural resources. A focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is the new norm for both operators and service providers.

Sustainable development of natural resources cannot be achieved without innovation. The recent industry downturn was extremely hard but it also sparked new ideas and fuelled creativity. Thus, Advanced Upstream Ltd., a Calgary-based oilfield equipment company specializing in the engineering and production of downhole completion tools, came to the market with a revolutionary frac system, the Limitless™ Frac System which is utilizing Contactless Sleeve Recognition (CSR) technology. Limitless enables any number of fracturing stages, non-stop frac stimulation without the need for well intervention and allows operators to reduce their carbon footprint.

Compared to Plug & Perf, which is currently the most common frac method in North America, Limitless has a smaller footprint, requires less equipment and personnel and has other benefits. In particular, it requires less water and fuel. This allows operators to increase operational efficiency, saving time and money, improving their ESG requirements.

Design and Performance

“In designing Limitless our intent was to set the gold standard in completions technology,” says Tom Watkins, the inventor of the system and CTO of Advanced Upstream. With decades of work history on the rig floor in different parts of the world and a passion for innovative solutions, Tom wanted to create technology for hydraulic fracturing which would be robust and effective and more environmentally friendly than what is available on the market. Commitment of Advanced Upstream to continual improvement through quality management system and rigorous testing has allowed the company to launch the Limitless Frac System and confirm field performance through a series of successful trials.

Limitless™ features a compact, intelligent, programmable dart made of magnesium alloy as shown in Figure 1. The dart is programmed and launched at surface to land in a specific sleeve. Reliable, miniature electronic onboard sensors allow the dart to track its location within the wellbore and “activate” the dart before landing on to the target sleeve. After the frac treatment, the dart dissolves leaving behind a large wellbore for production.

Figure 1. Limitless Frac System

A short video of Limitless™ is provided below.

LIMITLESS™ Fracturing System - Advanced Upstream

Several field trials in North America are ongoing. A recent full-scale field trial in the Montney formation in Canada showed flawless performance of the system. Limitless helps to simplify the frac process by reducing completion costs by eliminating potential complications associated with traditional frac completion techniques. Darts pumped downhole to date have functioned as expected and operated target sleeves correctly, with the darts beginning to dissolve shortly after pumping operations have been completed. The system allows continuous frac operation and more frac stages in longer laterals.

HSE and Environmental Benefits of Limitless Frac System

Limitless eliminates the use of wireline, guns/setting tools/plugs, coiled tubing milling and wellbore cleaning which are required in Plug & Perf operations. The HSE and environmental benefits of the system are as follows:

  • Reduced Safety Hazards
    • No perforation equipment required
    • No cranes with overhead hanging load exposure
    • No wireline or coiled tubing, easy installation and operations
    • Potentially less drilling
    • Fewer personnel on site
    • Less travel time
  • Lower Environmental Impact
    • Opportunity to drill lower number of wells due to the applicability of Limitless to extended reach wells and longer laterals
    • Less pumpdown water
    • Less fuel
    • Smaller environmental impact due to time and fuel savings
    • Lower overall footprint of the operations

Estimated value added/savings per a well for Limitless versus Plug & Perf for a well with 5.5” casing size, 4,400 m lateral length, 67 frac stages is provided in Table 1.

             Table 1.Estimated value added/savings per a well for LimitlessM versus Plug & Perf

 

Plug & Perf

LimitlessTM

Savings, %

Water, bbl

215,107

167,678

22.0

Fuel, L

243,678

158,499

34.9

Time, days

5.1

1.6

68.6

CO2, t

714

425

40.4

Summary

The industry is thriving to be more efficient and meet increasing environmental requirements and regulations. Lower consumption of water and fuel and lower project costs is the new name of the game in hydraulic fracturing. Limitless allows operators to eliminate many of the challenges of hydraulic fracturing and improve their ESG score.

For more information about Limitless, please contact Advanced Upstream at 403-862-3340 or info@advancedupstream.com and/or visit Advanced Upstream at www.advancedupstream.com.

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