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The past decade has witnessed many changes in hydraulic fracture-stimulation technology and completion operation techniques used in the development of low-permeability reservoirs. Most of these changes have been effective in improving our ability to economically extract hydrocarbons from these unconventional reservoirs. By reviewing the stimulation and completion techniques used in Jonah field over the past decade, a best-practice methodology has emerged of how to treat these low-permeability gas reservoirs from both a hydraulic fracture-stimulation view and a completion practice perspective to identify damage mechanisms and to maximize productivity. The methods discussed here can be applied to low-permeability reservoirs in other basins. However, the techniques discussed here are evolutionary and will one day become dated as new innovations are developed.

The Lance Formation in Jonah field consists of several hundred feet of stacked, lenticular sandstones with reservoir permeability to gas ranging from 1 to 20 μd. The completion of multiple sandstone packages requires 5 – 12 stages of hydraulic fracturing. Spatial sampling and artificial neural networks, guided by an understanding of the reservoir, were used to compare specific stimulation types and completion practices in a well to its immediate offsets. The results suggest the following best practices:

  • (1)

    Never shut a well or a fracture stage in for extended periods of time.

  • (2)

    Never kill a well or fracture stage with fluid once the hydraulic fracture treatment is cleaned up.

  • (3)

    Use composite flowthrough fracture plugs instead of bridge plugs to isolate fracture stages.

  • (4)

    Fracture stages should be no longer than 350 ft (110 m).

  • (5)

    There should be no more than five entry points per fracture stage.

  • (6)

    Completion fluid should be near neutral pH and low gel loading.

  • (7)

    The stimulation treatment size should be based on the amount of net pay determined from wire-line logs.

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