Hart Energy researchers completed interviews with nine industry participants in the downhole completion segment in the Permian Basin area. Participants included two consultants working for oil and gas operators, one coiled tubing completions specialist, one frac equipment supplier, two oil and gas operators, and three managers or sales persons with well service companies. Interviews were conducted during the second week of December 2014.
Part I. – Survey Findings
Among Survey Participants:
- Slickwater Reported as Main Fracking Practice [See Question 1 on Statistical Review]. Nearly all respondents reported slickwater dominates their fracking practices. One consultant believes his use of gel gives far better distribution of high sand volumes, however. All acknowledge that sand volumes are much higher now than in earlier cycles.
- Mid-Tier Service Provider: “We will continue to see these high sand volumes because more sand has proven to help produce more oil. Slickwater is definitely dominant as well.”
- Slickwater Continues to Dominate [See Question 2 on Statistical Review]. All nine respondents expect to see little change as operators seem to be settling in on their preferred methods for Permian horizontals and the use of slickwater downhole.
- Completions Consultant: “We have become known for recommending the coil frack with sleeves. Several clients now have tests running to compare similar wells completed with each system. We continue to see 20% to 40% improved production using coiled tubing fracks with sleeves.”
- Spacing Varies between Technique Practices [See Questions 3a, 3b, 3c on Statistical Review]. Spacing ranges between 100-ft. to 300-ft. in the play. Standard plug and perf fracs average 225-ft. between stages. Longer stages with three perf sets are being replaced with more, but closer stages on laterals completed with the new sleeves. Some respondents said sleeve technology provides a more pinpointed and accurate frack. Spacing in wells using sleeves ranges from 100-ft. to 125-ft.
- Mid-Tier Service Provider: “Spacing remains about the same with each type of frack. The main difference is a 300-ft. stage with three perf sets is being replaced with three stages with spacing of 100-ft. Total sand volume also remains the same with either method.”
- Plug and Perf Most Common Fracking Technique [See Question 4 on Statistical Review]. Eight of nine respondents reported that Plug and Perf completions are the most common fracking technique in the Permian. However, the use of sliding sleeve technology continues to grow. While this technology still comprises only a small percentage of fracks overall, it is is a recent change and is rising in market share.
- Completions Consultant: “We continue to provide consulting with operators using both methods. Plug and perf is still the most common method, but total completion cost comparisons show the methods within 10% of each other. We find the sleeve method getting better production.”
- 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 within the region. No new tools or methods were reported among these respondents.
- Top-Tier Service Provider: “There has been the right amount of service providers for everyone to stay busy. If the oil price slows things down, that could change rapidly. We could see oversupply quickly. We are stable through first quarter. Hopefully, the oil price recovers by then.
- Multi-Well Pad Growth Has Horizontal Operators Searching for Efficiency [See Question 6 on Statistical Review]. The average number of wells per pad reported remains at about three. Overall usage of the multi-well pad continues to grow as operators become more efficient. Several operators have moved from single wells to two wells per pad and others are now drilling four to six wells per pad.
- Zipper Fracks Account for ~42% of Completions Among Current Respondents Using Standard Completion Methods [See Question 7 on Statistical Review]. The percentage of zipper frack completions among respondents averages ~42%; the remaining 58% of wells are fracked using the Stack Frack method. Three respondents performing coiled tubing fracks reported these completions are done one at a time.
- Natural Sand Remains Most Common Proppant; Quantity Continues to Increase [See Question 8a and 8b on Statistical Review]. Natural sand is reported as the most common proppant in the region and averages ~6 million pounds per well among respondents. Respondents said 30/50 Ottawa is the most common, followed by 40/70 and 100 mesh sand. Natural sand is used as the key proppant on 99% of all wells. Respondents reported average sand volume has increased 20% over the past few months.
Part II. – Statistical Review, Downhole Completions
Total Respondents = 9 [Consultant for Oil and Gas Operators= 2, Coil Tubing Specialist = 1, Frack Equipment Suppliers= 1, Oil Operator = 1, Frack Service Providers= 3]
1. What common practices are used in your area for completions?
Crosslink gel: 1
2. Do you see that changing over the next 3 to 6 months?
No changes expected: 9
3a. Is spacing between stages closer now than a year ago?
Same spacing: 9*
*Spacing between stages decreases for sliding sleeve fracs since more, but smaller stages are utilized.
3b. What is the average distance between frac stages in your area?
Spacing P&P* SS**
200’-250’ spacing: 2 -
250’-300 spacing: 3 -
100’ spacing: - 3
100’-125’: - 5
Average: ~255-ft. ~108-ft
3c. How are you fine tuning your frac program downhole?
Sliding sleeves with coil tubing: 5
Slickwater w/heavy loading of sand for each stage: 3
Crosslink gel and heavy sand loads with sleeve frack: 1
4. What fracking technique is most common in your area?
Plug and Perf Only: 1
Both Plug and Perf and Sliding Sleeve: 8
5a. Would you characterize the supply of downhole tools in your area as excessive, sufficient or insufficient to meet early 2014 demand?
5b. Are there any new downhole tools being tried in your area?
Nothing new: 9
6. What is the average number of wells being completed per pad in your area?
2-4 wells: 4
4 wells: 4
2 wells: 1
7. What percentage of fracs drilled from pads are zipper fracks vs. individual fracks?
Zipper Frac Solo Frac # Responses
25% 75% 1
75% 25% 2
50% 50% 4
Avg: 42% 58% 6*
*3 respondents use coiled tubing fracks which are done one well at a time.
8a. How much proppant (in lbs.) are you using per well?
2.4-5 million lbs: 1
3-12 million lbs: 1
4 million lbs: 1
5-6 million lbs: 1
6 million lbs: 2
6-8 million lbs: 2
7-8 million lbs: 1
Average per well: ~6 million pounds*
*This volume up from ~5 million lbs. reported earlier
8b. On a percentage basis, how much proppant in your area is used by type?
Average Among Respondents
Natural Sand* only: 99%
*Respondents reported 30/50, 40/70 and 100 mesh sand most common.
Check out the latest technologies and services offered for the upstream oil and gas industry.
In this special section, E&P highlights some of the latest products and technologies for shale and examines how they will benefit companies in their ongoing search for improved production and more effective operating techniques.
SPE ATCE will showcase innovative products and services for overcoming industry challenges.