Eagle Ford Shale operators are working through the commodity price downturn by standardizing downhole completion packages and drilling and completing fewer wells. The number of wells drilled but not completed is rising. Meanwhile pad-drilled wells are still zipper fracked two-thirds of the time, only operators have reduced the numbers of wells completed on pads. Representative programs now may zipper frack two wells on a four-well pad, leaving the remaining two until pricing improves. Standardization in downhole completions means slickwater and plug and perf in the Eagle Ford corridor and cross link gel to the northeast in the Eaglebine extension. Sand use is down on a per well basis in this report to 9.3 million pounds per lateral vs. 11 million pounds in the June 2015 Eagle Ford downhole report. However, this report includes more participants in the Eaglebine play than the previous report. Sand use is averaging between 300,000- to 350,000 pounds per stage with most wells exhibiting 26 stages per lateral across 6,250 feet. Eaglebine pads incorporate an average six wells while central Eagle Ford pads average four wells. Bulk commodity sand accounts for the overwhelming proppant at an 87% share among survey respondents, with some resin coated sand comprising the remaining. Watch for the next Eagle Ford downhole completions report in December 2015.
Part I. – Survey Findings
Among Survey Participants:
- Slickwater Dominates Completions
[See Question 1 on Statistical Review]
Five of eight respondents reported that slickwater is most used in the Eagle Ford and three respondents reported 50% of wells are fracked using crosslink gel to enhance production. This is a slight change from the June report when all respondents reported using slickwater only. The increased use of crosslink gel was reported by respondents working mainly in the northern part of the Eagle Ford in an area known as the Eaglebine.
- No Changes Expected In Near-Term
[See Question 2 on Statistical Review]
All respondents expect few or no changes in the near term. All reported the same methods are in use and there are few reasons to change until market conditions change.
- Mid-Tier Provider: “Most clients have settled in on their methodology and continue unchanged other than the general slowdown of drilling and completing.”
- Spacing Between Frack Stages Averages 286 Feet
[See Questions 3a, 3b, 3c on Statistical Review]
Spacing ranges between 200 feet to 330 feet in the play and averages about 286 feet. Most respondents have kept spacing about the same this year.
- Mid-Tier Operator: “We haven’t really changed spacing and average about 300 feet between stages. Our typical 6,000-foot lateral will have 20 or so stages with 350,000 pounds of sand per stage.”
- Plug And Perf Most Common Fracking Technique
[See Question 4 on Statistical Review]
All respondents reported that plug and perf completions are the standard fracking technique in the Eagle Ford now. None of the respondents are using sleeve technology currently.
- Mid-Tier Service Provider: “Plug and perf remains the method of choice in the Eagle Ford. Few operators ask for sliding sleeves currently.”
- Downhole Tools, Service Providers Sufficient
[See Question 5a and 5b on Statistical Review]
All respondents reported that the number of downhole tool providers is sufficient. No new downhole tools or methods are reported in the play.
- Mid-Tier Operator: “There are no big changes expected since production results from large sand volume slickwater fracks keep methods stable for now.”
- Multi-Well Pads Average 4-6 Wells Per Pad
[See Question 6 on Statistical Review]
Average number of regional wells reported per pad is about five. There are more four well pads in South Texas and more six well pads further north in the Eaglebine.
- Mid-Tier Operator: “We still see some plans for multi-well pads, but there are definitely more delayed fracks lately.”
- Zipper Fracks Account for 63% of Completions; Solo Fracks Account for Remainder
[See Question 7 on Statistical Review]
The percentage of zipper frack completions reported among respondents is 63%, similar to findings in the June report. The remaining 37% of wells are fracked using the solo frac on one well at a time.
- Mid Tier Operator: “Zipper fracks may still be used, but on fewer wells at a time in light of the number of wells delayed for frack.”
- Sand Remains Most Common Proppant
[See Question 8a and 8b on Statistical Review]
Natural sand is reported as the most common proppant in the region and averages about 9.3 million pounds per well, slightly down from the about 11 million reported in the June report. Respondents reported 40/70 sand and 100 mesh are most common. A total of 87% of proppant is natural sand and about 13% is resin-coated sand.
End Survey Findings
H A R T E N E R G Y researchers completed interviews with eight industry participants in the downhole completions segment in the Eagle Ford region. Participants include five sales professionals with well service companies and three completions consultants or engineers for E&P companies. Interviews were conducted during third week of August 2015.
Part II. – Statistical Review
Total Respondents = 8
[Fracking Service Providers = 5, Operators = 3]
1. What common practices are used in your area for completions?
50% slickwater and 50% crosslink gel:
2. Do you see that changing over the next three to six months?
No changes expected:
3a. Is spacing between stages closer now than a year ago?
3b. What is the average distance between frack stages in your area?
3c. How are you fine tuning your frack program downhole?
Large sand volumes:
Doing some crosslink with some resin-coated sand:
4. What fracking technique is most common in your area?
Plug and perf:
5a. Would you characterize the supply of downhole tools in your area as excessive, sufficient or insufficient to meet late 2015 demand?
5b. Are there any new downhole tools being tried in your area?
6. What is the average number of wells being completed per pad in your area?
~5 wells per pad
7. What percentage of fracks drilled from pads are zipper fracks vs. individual fracks?
8a. How much proppant (in pounds) are you using per well?
7-10 million pounds:
8-12 million pounds:
10-15 million pounds:
Average per well:
~9.3 million pounds
8b. On a percentage basis, how much proppant in your area is used by type?
Average Among Respondents:
Natural sand* only:
*Sand usage: 40/70 most common; and 100 mesh second most common.
End Statistical Survey
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