Baker Hughes introduces cash saving deepwater frack service

Baker Hughes has introduced its DEEPFRAC deepwater multistage fracturing service, which, the company claims, can save operators hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore developments through efficiency gains across the completion phase.

Baker Hughes said that the service uses multiposition sleeves and patented flowback control technology to accelerate or eliminate certain steps of conventional multizone completion operations and enable rapid stimulation of 20+ stages.

“This translates into significantly greater reservoir contact, with an average opex savings of $30 to 40 million per well,” the company said.

Jim Sessions, VP of completions at Baker Hughes, said: “By adapting some of the technologies and techniques that delivered game-changing efficiencies in unconventional land to an offshore service, we’ve enabled a new level of deepwater completion design flexibility and streamlined operations.”

The DEEPFRAC service eliminates casing and cementing operations and simplifies fluid logistics by using ball-activated, multiposition sleeves that can be installed in open hole wellbores containing drilling mud.

Unlike conventional offshore systems which require tool running procedures and mechanical manipulation requirements, no tool movement is needed during the DEEPFRAC service’s stimulation process. The sleeve’s ball activation enables continuous pumping from the first stage to the last, and according to Baker Hughes’ claims, cuts the lower completion phase from weeks to days.

Conventional offshore stimulation systems are often limited to only five zones or ‘stages’ which can create long sections of ‘dead space’ that cover up hundreds of feet of viable pay.

The sleeves used in the DEEPFRAC service are modular and flexible, enable placement of 20+ tightly-spaced stages across the pay zone to ensure more uniform treatments and to maximize reservoir contact.

After stimulation operations are complete, Baker Hughes IN-Tallic disintegrating frac balls allow production to flow without intervention. Patented Baker Hughes BeadScreen proppant flowback control technology built directly into the DEEPFRAC sleeve’s production ports could increase reliability over conventional sand screens through higher burst/collapse ratings and improve erosion/plugging resistance.

Baker Hughes said that, during a recent job, the DEEPFRAC service saved an estimated 25 days of rig time and $40 million on a first-ever 15-stage deepwater completion in the Gulf of Mexico.