Technical papers

Results of a Large-Scale Refracture Stimulation Program, Kuparuk River Unit, Alaska (SPE 24857)


One of the most convincing demonstrations of the benefit of fracture conductivity is in the Kuparuk Field on the North Slope of Alaska. By 1992, over 880 stimulation treatments, including over 200 refracs had allowed ARCO to further improve production. Optimization involved switching to CarboLite, then to progressively larger proppant sizes, higher concentrations and reduced pad size


An aggressive hydraulic fracture stimulation program on program previously fractured wells in the Kuparuk River Field has increased production by 50,000 BOPD. The Kuparuk River Field is the second largest producing field in the united States with sixty-five percent of the reserves contained in a 20-100 md permeability sandstone. This paper describes results of a series of design improvements in an ongoing refracture program of oil wells in this moderate permeability formation. Over 185 of the 380 production wells have been refractured during the past five years. Long term production data are presented comparing productivities after the initial stimulations carried out in the early 1980's to the recent refracture stimulations. A twofold improvement in long term productivity is shown with changes in the treatment design: increased job size, different proppant types (ceramic vs. sand), proppant mesh sizes (10/14 and 12/18 vs. 20/40 and 16/20), and fluid types (gelled water vs. gelled diesel). The average productivity increase from 30 to 60 BOPD/net foot pay provided the economic justification for refracturing some wells a second time. Additionally, wells with high flow potential after initial stimulation have been refractured for substantial increases in oil rate.

Author(s): Pospisil, Gordon, ARCO Alaska Inc.; Lynch, K.W., ARCO Long Beach Inc.; Pearson, C.M., Rugen, J.A., ARCO Alaska Inc.

Paper Number: SPE 24857




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