The average lateral length in today’s shale plays has blown up in recent years. In fact, one of the biggest development constraints in regions such as the Permian and Bakken is now actual leasehold configuration, rather than downhole technology itself. In Q4 of 2016, for example, the average lateral in the Permian’s Wolfcamp Midland play was 7,107 feet1. In Q4 of 2017, the average lateral length was reported as 9,938 feet2, and by 2018 it had reached 10,931 feet3. As an industry, we’re mastering the techniques and technologies that enable maximized production, and long lateral designs are a big part of getting the most from every hydrocarbon asset.
But some challenges persist. Without pushing past the limitations of intervention media such as coiled tubing, it’s difficult to bring consistent reliability to long-lateral applications. Designing a completion string to go past 18,000 feet in lateral length requires more consideration. It’s not a matter of ability. Coiled tubing work strings have been run up to almost 35,000 feet. Rather, when such cumulative tubing weight adds up, it’s more a matter of efficiency, reliability and cost. That’s where dissolvable frac plugs are making a huge difference in our capacity to optimize long-lateral hydraulic fracturing operations—so much so that they are even giving drilling engineers and well planners a new level of freedom in well design.
This recently enhanced high-performance dissolvable frac plug is bringing a whole new caliber of consistency and confidence to long lateral wells. Not only does it dissolve predictably in a matter of hours to days, but it also activates in a range of temperatures—including the relatively low temps of the Permian Basin. In fact, it is the first dissolvable wellbore isolation technology of its kind to be compatible with Permian wells. Composed of an advanced thermoplastic, this welcome new innovation dissolves more predictably than any other dissolvable frac plugs on the market. This means operators can now plan wells in a way that pushes beyond the constraints of even the longest possible millout operation. All without giving up reliability.
Time for 5 1/2" Magnum Vanishing Plug™ Low-Temperature (4.30) Degradation
The fastest millout is no millout at all. And that’s good news for today’s operators. In many plays around the country, intervention resources such as coiled tubing and wireline are back in demand. Service companies are reactivating fleets, adding yards and deploying resources to active areas such as the Permian. But waiting on an available CT unit can mean longer time-to-production, regardless of the technical proficiency of the operation itself. Operators aren’t interested in waiting.
Time for 5 1/2 Magnum Vanishing Plug™ Mid-Temperature (4.30) Degradation
As part of the team that brought the world’s first dissolvable frac plug to the market, we’ve seen this technology evolve from “possible” to “profitable,” and now onto “essential.” And the difference has been not so much the speed of dissolvability as the predictability of dissolution. Contemporary dissolution rates for these plugs are now every bit as predictable as your standard millout. That means the best of all worlds—hyper-efficient completion that performs well, eliminates the need for millout and helps completion teams plan more accurately.
Time for 5 1/2 Magnum Vanishing Plug™ High-Temperature (4.30) Degradation
2Well Site Market Report, Hart Energy