Future planning for drilled but uncompleted wells

NOV’s Burst Port System (BPS) offers operators a reliable application for toe initiation for drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) after achieving the longest recorded time, 18 months, of being left in the wellbore.

The U.S. shale sector faces an unprecedented impact from the sudden decrease in global demand due to COVID-19. Unlike previous downturns, WTI priced $0 at noon on April 20th, 2020, and by that afternoon, it was priced at negative $35/bbl, truly creating an unprecedented time.

Many operators continue with drilling a minimum number of wells to maintain lease ownership, amongst other reasons. As an adoptive strategy to such market behavior, many operators turned to drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) since the downturn in 2014. The graph below shows DUCs in the Permian Basin since Q1 2014 and projected to Q4 2020, given the oil price stays under $30/bbl for the Q2 2020.

Permian horizontal drilled uncompleted wells by quarter

By Q4 2020, only one out of five wells drilled will be completed. Rystad forecasts a 10% increase in DUCs contributed by publicly traded companies and a 16% increase by private operators.

The first operation after DUCs are drilled, cemented, and left for months is toe-injection, which is done via a toe-valve or tubing-conveyed perforation. A toe-valve must be reliable as it is activated after months of being dormant in a well under high pressure, high temperature and reservoir fluid condition. NOV’s Burst Port System™ (BPS™) offers a reliable application for toe initiation for DUCs, and has proven its reliability after being left in multiple wells for more than 18 months. The BPS was pressure tested, activated and required flow rate was established for the subsequent plug and perf operation. Compared to other applications, such as a wet shoe sub or a traditional toe sleeve, the BPS offers higher reliability due to no moving parts, higher flow area, and a proven track record of opening months after the initial installation.

An optimized practice suggests that several BPS subs be used at the toe for not only toe-injection, but also toe stimulation. This type of practice, which has found its place in many shale plays, enables the successful stimulation of several feet of horizontal section that would have otherwise been wasted.


Mohammed Munawar

Global Product Line Manager

Mohammed Munawar

Mohammed Munawar, Global Product Line Manager, Multistage Completions, provides guidance and managerial direction for multistage fracturing and stimulation technologies within the NOV Completion Tools business unit. He is a recognized technical expert in cased-hole, open-hole/cemented multi-zone frac completions, heavy oil, and sand control techniques. He has coauthored several technical papers in multiple SPE publications. Between Weatherford and NOV, Munawar spent about 15 years in the well completion space and held positions in many world-wide regions, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and the United States. He holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Al-Baath in Syria.

Reza Rastegar

Global Application Engineer

Reza Rastegar

Reza Rastegar, Global Application Engineer, has served in multiple disciplines of completion engineering and technical support, as well as business development. During the past few years, his work has been focused on multistage completion technologies, hydraulic fracturing, and deployment of extended-lateral wells. Currently he is the Global Product Line Champion for unconventional completion systems and provides world-wide technical support and trainings. He has co-authored several technical papers and peer magazine articles published in multiple SPE and IADC publications. He graduated with a Master of Science in petroleum engineering from the University of Louisiana.

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