Unconventional/complex reservoirs

Horseshoe and Drainage Wells: Should the Unconventional Sector Embrace the Truly Unconventional?

New studies examine whether two innovative well designs should have a bigger role to play in the race to get more value out of tight rock reservoirs.

A top-down view of perforation shot locations along a simulated U-turn of a horseshoe well.
Source: Ahmed Merzoug.

A pair of freshly published studies explore the question of whether horseshoe and augmented drainage development (ADD) well designs deserve a bigger role in the future of the unconventional oil and gas industry.

Presented at this month’s SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference, SPE 217792 claims to offer the first public-facing numerical simulation results of the ADD concept which leverages the long fractures that propagate out of horizontal wells by placing a slotted-liner wellbore directly in their path.

Its chief findings indicate that these passive producers may not be ideal in all tight rock plays, and where they do apply may only yield the equivalent of 5% of the oil that will ultimately flow from the active hydraulically fractured well. However, further simulation work not included in the paper is ongoing and suggests alternative ADD well placement locations may improve what appears to be a thin margin of error and profitability.

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