Technical papers

Valhall Field: Horizontal Well Stimulations “Acid vs. Proppant” and Best Practices for Fracture Optimization (SPE 84392)


Aggressive propped fracs are clearly superior to acidized completions in Valhall, with current wells receiving 10 to 14 propped fractures along each lateral requiring 2.5 to 3.7 million lbs proppant.  Frac width is maximized with TSO treatments to accommodate non-Darcy, multiphase flow and embedment.


Proppant fractures along the horizontal laterals in the Valhall Field have become a standard completion method for the last eight years with over 150 proppant fractures completed to date. The development of the flank regions of the Valhall Field began, with the first of 14 wells completions, in March 2003. Lateral lengths of up 2,000 meters will be drilled from two new platforms placed on the North and South edges of the field. The chalk formation in the flank regions is expected to be more competent then the crestal part of the field, so the question was raised as to whether fracturing should be done with acid or proppant. From a proppant fracturing perspective, each flank well will require between 10 to 14 prop fractures along its lateral requiring 2.5-3.7 Million pounds of proppant per well.

Three different methods have been used to determine whether the wells should be acid or proppant fractured. These consist of reviewing the historical well performance, analytical and numerical modeling. All three methods clearly showed proppant fracturing was the preferred stimulation for the Valhall Field regardless of it's location. Acid fracturing becomes the stimulation of choice only if the well does not come in contact with enough OOIP (e.g. 5 MMSTB) to justify the proppant fractures.

Proppant fracturing is expensive, so in conjunction with identifying the best stimulation method for the flank region, optimization with respect to fracture spacing along the horizontal lateral, fracture length and width have been numerically modeled for both the crestal and flank wells. This is an evolving process that should be considered an industry “Best Practice” as it enables real time optimization of ‘prop’ fracturing along a horizontal lateral during the drilling and completion phase. Since the start of this “Best Practice” in 2002, the wells stimulated in the crestal part of the Valhall Field have had the highest productivity in the field's history.

Author(s): Karen E. Olson, Eivind Olsen, BP Norway; Sami Haidar, Fracture Technologies; Alexandre Boulatsel, Schlumberger; Kristian Brekke, PTI

Paper Number: SPE 84392



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