Microproppants Deliver Macro Returns
Proving its Potential
To date, Deeprop® 1000 has been pumped in the Barnett, Woodford (SCOOP), Utica and Wolfcamp (both the Delaware and Permian basins) shales. Highlights of these field applications are discussed below.
Barnett Shale (Texas)
Devon conducted an 11-well trial in Wise County, Texas, the first Deeprop® field application reported in the literature.1
Four of the wells were treated with Deeprop® 1000, with the remaining seven offset wells used as a control. A total of 4,200 lbs of Deeprop® 1000 mixed in a liquid slurry was added to the pad at a concentration of 0.1 lb/gal. As Figure 5 shows, the wells start at about the same average cumulative BOE production but the Deeprop® 1000 wells begin to take off, with the uplift continuing to improve over time. This is consistent with the idea that Deeprop® helps open up a larger conductivity propped fracture area.
The lateral length of the Deeprop® wells varied from 3,792 ft to 5,252 ft and from 3,952 ft to 6,124 ft for the offset wells. Normalizing the data on a per-foot basis and using a lateral length of 4,000 ft, the operator achieved an average production increase of 25,187 bbls with Deeprop®, a 40% jump over non-Deeprop® wells.
Woodford Shale (SCOOP) (Oklahoma)
Industry knowledge of the SCOOP suggests that two years ago, the drilling operation made up 60% of the cost of constructing a well, with the remaining 40% taken up by completion activities. Advances in drilling automation have recently flipped this cost breakdown. Today, 35% of a well’s cost is attributed to drilling and 65% is due to completion operations.
For a well that costs $5 million to drill and complete, it is not uncommon to spend $3.5 million of that on the completion. A well might lose as much $700K (20%) of that completion cost when using traditional fracturing techniques, because a conventional proppant like 100-mesh sand cannot reach the secondary fracture network of the reservoir. SCOOP operators were interested in testing the premise that for an additional investment of just $200K or less on microproppant, they could reach the smaller fractures and achieve vastly superior stimulation to quickly recover any additional cost.
An operator in the SCOOP conducted a study of seven Deeprop® 1000 wells offset by 12 wells. As with the Barnett wells, 4,200 lbs of the Deeprop® 1000 were added as a liquid slurry into the pad at a concentration of 0.1 lb/gal. The subsequent production data was converted to BOE, plotted for all wells and normalized to BOE/1,000 ft of lateral (Figure 6). After three months the Deeprop®-treated wells began to outperform the offset wells The Deeprop® wells showed a 72% uplift after 24 months and an 81% uplift after 36 months.
Deeprop® also helped this operator reduce their treating pressure by 800 to 1,100 psi, which placed it well below the wellbore pressure limit of 11,500 psi. The treatment could then be placed at a higher pump rate, which improved fluid efficiency and exposed more rock.