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Infinite Zone Multistage Fracturing using Single Frac ball

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000240568D
Publication Date: 2015-Feb-09
Document File: 4 page(s) / 942K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

There is a limit on the maximum number of zones that may be fractured using the conventional method owing to the fact that the baffles are of graduated sizes - dropping smallest ball first, then progressively larger ones. This invention tackles the limitation on the number of zones by detailing the use of a single-sized ball actuation system to trigger the opening of frac-sleeves. A single ball is pumped down which latches onto a sleeve with an integrated collet design ahead of a production zone. Pressuring up on the well will make the system transition into a second position that opens the sleeve to allow communication with the zone, and the fracture process can begin. Once fracturing is completed, the well is further pressured up and the integrated collet sleeve transitions into a third position. In this position, the sleeve closes communication to the reservoir and the ball is released downhole. This allows the ball to be pumped further down until lands on an identical system in the next zone and the operation is repeated. Thus, a single frac ball allows fracturing of an unlimited number of zones.

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Infinite Zone Multistage Fracturing using Single Frac ball

Abstract

There is a limit on the maximum number of zones that may be fractured using the conventional method owing to the fact that the baffles are of graduated sizes - dropping smallest ball first, then progressively larger ones. This invention tackles the limitation on the number of zones by detailing the use of a single- sized ball actuation system to trigger the opening of frac-sleeves.

A single ball is pumped down which latches onto a sleeve with an integrated collet design ahead of a production zone. Pressuring up on the well will make the system transition into a second position that opens the sleeve to allow communication with the zone, and the fracture process can begin. Once fracturing is completed, the well is further pressured up and the integrated collet sleeve transitions into a third position. In this position, the sleeve closes communication to the reservoir and the ball is released downhole. This allows the ball to be pumped further down until lands on an identical system in the next zone and the operation is repeated. Thus, a single frac ball allows fracturing of an unlimited number of zones.

Purpose of the Invention:

Currently, one of the popular methods of multistage fracturing operations is to place sliding sleeves at the different zones which are separated by zonal isolation packers. Opening one particular sleeve permits zonal stimulation by diverting flow through the ports in that sleeve. This is to help ensure that the stimulation treatment provides maximum coverage throughout the target zone by the most efficient means.

These fracture sleeves may be shifted open remotely from the surface by using a ball-drop/baffle system which involves dropping frac balls in sequence to seal against the correct sized baffle/seat, smallest to largest, which will isolate the target sleeve, starting from the bottommost sleeve moving uphole. Applying increased pressure from the surface shifts the target sleeve to the open position. Thus, the ball-baffle system acts as the actuation mechanism for shifting the frac-sleeve open. When the fracturing operation is complete, the baffles can be drilled to return the casing string to a full bore ID. The use of such apparatus and method is described in the article "Considered approach improves hydraulic fracturing in horizontal open holes," E&P Magazine, Jul. 1, 2009.

This invention aims to tackle the following shortcomings of the existing system -

i. There is a limit on the maximum number of zones that may be fractured using the conventional method owing to the fact that the baffles are of graduated sizes (dropping smallest ball first, then progressively larger ones). This invention tackles the limitation on the number of zones by using a one-sized ball actuation system (as opposed to the descending-size ball-baffle system currently used) to trigger the opening of frac-sleeves.

ii. Conventional multistage fracturing technolog...