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SpecialReport: Frac Tech
pany may write down or type in that it
pumped a given stage from 10:00 to
11:00 when it actually started at 10:13
and ended at 11:20. Not long after that,
the wireline company may record that it
was setting a plug from 11:10 to 11:30,
not realizing a stage was being pumped
for the first 10 minutes of that period. "
When each service provider's data is
shared with the operator, the contradictory
timelines must be reconciled before they
can provide a reasonable picture of what
went on, Chell says. This process is
time-consuming, he warns, and even
when it is done well, data flaws offer an
imperfect picture.
Collecting data automatically improves
accuracy and precision, but the industry
has not adopted data standards, so companies label and report the same information in different ways, Chell reports.
He says this can make interpreting and
using the data a challenge.
By working with service companies
to understand their data structures and
connecting each company on site to a
communications hub that acts as a padwide controller, Chell says Cold Bore
can give operators and service companies
real-time visibility into completions.
" We put the data from each service
company on a common timeline that
everyone can see, " he describes. " To
create an unbiased timeline that does not
depend on how a specific service company
thinks, we analyze data from sensors on
the frac tree. For example, by looking at
which valves are open and closed, we
can tell when a stage is pumping. "
To ensure its timeline is trustworthy,
Chell says the communications hub automatically compares data from the frac
tree with relevant information from service
companies. For instance, stage start and
stop times can be verified by looking at
frac pumps' pressure curves.
According to Chell, the timeline is
accurate to one second. " It lets operators
track everything they would track today
at a much higher resolution and with
much greater accuracy, " he reports. " They
can watch what is going on in real time
and analyze nonproductive time, chemical
usage, water usage and other cost drivers
afterward. "
The Next Step
According to Chell, tracking information is only the beginning. " When
we are on site, all the services can send
information to and from each other by

New systems from NCS MultiStage automate the work involved in collecting tracer
samples. The company encourages operators to use tracers in most wells, explaining
that the insights they reveal can guide development plans and help diagnose and fix underperforming wells.

using the communications hub, " he says.
" This is the first step to a fully autonomous frac. "
To show how powerful bidirectional
communication can be, Chell points to
well swaps. " Some companies already
use automated systems to switch from
one wellhead to another during a zipper
frac. If we give these systems real-time
access to pump rates, they can see when
the rate starts to fall and initiate the swap
milliseconds after pumping stops, which
should eliminate switch time. "
Bidirectional communication also can
help mitigate frac hits, Chell adds. " Today,
we have a screen in our dashboard that
shows pressure information from offset
wells so operators can see when hits occur, " he says. " We are working with partners to automatically predict when a hit
will happen so we can slow the pumps or
make other adjustments to prevent it. "
According to Chell, Cold Bore's padwide communications hub has been deployed by several supermajors, 16 large
independents, and various smaller companies who may only frac two or three
pads a year. " We are nowhere near unlocking the system's full potential, but
we have already had clients use it to increase their frac operations' overall efficiency by 26%, " he shares. " In addition
to saving time and money, it is helping
operators track and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. "
Tracers
If Forrest Gump spent enough time
around petroleum engineers, it would not

take long for him to compare a horizontal
well to a box of chocolates, for even
ones in mature fields often contain surprises. That is why Dustin Ellis, vice
president of strategic initiatives at NCS
Multistage, recommends using tracers on
almost every well.
" Many people view tracers as a diagnostic for science wells, something that
should only be used until a completion
design or strategy has been optimized,
then abandoned alongside other cost savings measures, " he acknowledges. " In
reality, most tracer projects have minimal
impact on an overall completion AFE
(less than 1%) and provide invaluable information when wells either underperform
initially or suffer performance issues later
in their production life. Tracer data is
easy to interpret and gives the operator
increased confidence when determining
next steps in a development plan. "
Ellis adds that tracers can detect interwell communication and help operators
assess its source, a task that is becoming
increasingly important as operators try
to reduce their costs and footprint by developing more reservoir horizons from a
single pad. He says insights from tracers
can help operators adjust well spacing
and completion designs.
When they are used to evaluate production, tracers can unlock cost savings
or additional revenue, Ellis continues.
" We have had tracers confirm that toe
stages are producing prior to a clean-out
run, which allowed an operator to avoid
the expense of an unnecessary clean-out
operation. In other wells where a cleanAPRIL 2021 61



American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 5
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 6
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 7
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 8
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 9
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover3
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover4
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