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Completing the Well

Canadian project puts high-horesepower frac pump into the field

The SPM QEM 3000 was designed for continuous-duty pressure pumping operations at a sustained 275,000-lb road load, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Texas-based Weir Oil & Gas has partnered with Canada-based Canyon Services Group to take Weir’s SPM QEM 3000 frac pump to the field. It is the industry’s first high-horsepower frac pump designed for continuous-duty pressure pumping operations at a sustained 275,000-lb rod load, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The pump is projected to reduce total cost of ownership by 17%.

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Next-gen microchip plots cracks, pores through frac fluids

The size of this newly developed microchip, including the on-chip camera and the pads, is only 0.55 mm by 0.85 mm.

Rice University’s Integrated Systems and Circuits (RISC) laboratory has developed a new generation of microchips, approximately the size of a grain of sand, that travels downhole through fracturing fluids to plot the cracks and pores through which oil and gas move to the surface. Activated by electromagnetic signals sent from an aboveground transceiver, the microchips return real-time data to create high-resolution maps of reservoirs and formations formed by hydraulic fracturing.

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Raising the sand bar

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In virtually every well worldwide, operators have to contend with some degree of sand production, a phenomenon that more often than not leads to erosion, sand accumulation, plugging, formation collapse and contamination. These issues have serious financial, safety and environmental implications for operators, often resulting in clean-outs, reduced flow rates and production, and unplanned shutdowns.

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A seismic shift in the subsurface

Technology developed by MicroSeismic Inc uses microseismic data to determine what proportion of the total stimulated reservoir (or rock) volume (SRV) has been propped and will likely be productive. It shows operators where the proppant went during fracturing. This microseismic-based discrete fracture network analysis shows SRV in red and productive SRV in blue/purple. The red areas are those that were fractured but have no proppant. The blue and purple sections are areas where fractures have been created and have proppant.

In the 15 or so years since the unconventional oil and gas boom began, the industry has learned that unlocking the secrets of the subsurface is the key to tapping additional resources. Operators now know that the complexity, heterogeneity and unpredictability of unconventional plays and tight oil and gas formations require a deeper characterization of the geology and an understanding of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on the rock. Today, models can provide a 3D view of the formation and simulate hydraulic fractures, with the capability of making real-time adjustments. They have become essential in designing completion strategies that enhance production. A pivotal piece of that process involves listening to the rock and detecting subsurface stress – microseismic monitoring.

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