Ely was working on one of the first fracture jobs in deep, high-temperature shale, where the operator was faced with extremely foreboding conditions. The PVT analysis had revealed that fluids in the reservoir were retrograde. Permeability was less than one hundred nanodarcies.
We knew from experience that hydrocarbons in this type of formation didn’t come primarily from the matrix. A successful well in low-permeability, fractured rock relies on interconnected fracture systems, and if treated effectively, this well would, indeed, produce.
The treatment we designed would need to deliver proppant evenly throughout a vast fracture system. By utilizing a process unique to Ely, we avoided creating tortuous paths through the formation, and were able to open up large amounts of surface area. The well outperformed most others in the area by a multiple of ten, and gave birth to hundreds of similar wells in the area.
The type of design process that we pioneered has spread throughout the industry, and is the dominant technique in achieving not only the maximum initial production, but sustained productivity over the life of the well. Additionally, lessons learned from this project have shaped our understanding of fluid dynamics and proppant delivery, and are crucial to developing effective, low-chemical treatments that dominate fracture treatment today.
Because of our experience and capability, many of the most impermeable, difficult shale and conventional plays are completely viable.