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Baker Hughes unveils Deepfrac

New deep-water multistage fracking technology to cut down on time and cost

A new deep-water multistage fracturing service inspired by the approach used in unconventional plays speeds up or eliminates certain steps of conventional operations to save rig time.

Baker Hughes’ new Deepfrac service, launched on Monday at  the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, uses multi-position sleeves and flowback control technology to make it possible to rapidly stimulate over 20 tightly packed stages to increase reservoir contact.

The Deepfrac service has been deployed twice for a major offshore Gulf of Mexico operator.

Jim Sessions, BHI’s vice president for completions, said the Deepfrac service can complete and stimulate a well with 15 tightly packed stages in about 11 days, compared to conventional methods, that may provide two to three widely-spaced stages that take over a month to complete and stimulate.

In one of the deployments, Sessions said, the service saved 25 days and $40 million.

“It was the first-ever 15-stage deep-water completion,” Sessions said. “All the stages were pumped in under 60 hours. We reduced OpEx [operating expenditure] by 40%.”

Deepfrac stems from an operator request. Last year a deep-water Gulf of Mexico operator asked about taking unconventional fracking technology into deep water.

“We had to combine and marry the different technologies,” said Roy Woudwijk, product line director for lower completions.

Baker Hughes drew on existing products, such as its IN-Tallic disintegrating frack balls, which allows production to flow without intervention, and the BeadScreen flowback control technology, which minimises completion times, simplifies tool logistics, and enables rapid stimulation of 20-plus stages, according to the company.

“The system is limited to just over 20. That’s the stepping stone, proving” the technology, Sessions said. “But we have a line of sight to an unlimited number of stages.”

Jonathan Croy, sand control tools product line manager, said, “It’s not easy to take those tools and take them offshore.”

The initial job was carried out in the fourth quarter last year in the Lower Tertiary, while the second was in the first quarter this year.

The customer has “praised the collaboration and the successes they’ve had” with the well, Croy said.

Croy said the technology can be run in cased hole, but that would decrease the cost savings due to the need for cementing, perf runs, and cleanup.

“But, you’d still have the tight spacing of the system” and increased contact with the reservoir, Woudwijk added. “There is a lot of interest with different operators, and we’re following up on that. We expect more to come.”