Completions Matter

Completions Matter

Evolution of Completion Techniques

The optimization of completion techniques, most commonly referred to as “fracing,” has been a driving force for the evolution of the oil and gas industry for over 150 years. In the 1850s, it was common to throw gunpowder downhole. Today, optimization involves adjusting fluid mixtures, and changing pump designs. Through technological advancement and successful designs, the industry has been able to continually improve completions, with the goal of increasing recovery factors.


Some formations are blessed with good rock. These reservoirs are highly productive without much dependency on the completion. However, much of that low-hanging fruit has been developed. The shale reservoirs and other complex unconventional reservoirs, which are now driving the US onshore oil boom, are not so blessed. These reservoirs are rich in hydrocarbon, but are only productive if completed effectively. This has put pressure on the industry to further optimize fracing techniques. The industry definitely understands that completions matter, but to what extent?

Wattenberg Completion Analysis

To understand the impact of completion design in the Wattenberg field, in Weld county, Colorado, the LandGate technical team analyzed a radical completions test.

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In 2014, two different completion methods, “standard” and “strategic”, were tested on 2 adjacent 5 well pads.  The standard design required 17 bbls of fluid per foot, at a cost of ~$4.5MM. The strategic design required 50 bbls of fluid per foot, at a cost of ~$6MM (data from public sources). The team ran the economic valuation at the NYMEX Price Deck on 07/17/2018, assumed a working interest of 100% and net revenue interest of 80%.


The wells produced for the last 4 years and the results were intriguing.

  • The “strategic” design produced 50% more oil (1,076 MBbl vs 709 MBbl) and 130% more total hydrocarbons (3,104 Mboe vs 1,356 Mboe)
  • The “strategic” NPV was over 4x higher ($13.873 MM vs $3.14 MM) despite having higher capital investment due to the larger completion volumes

Click this link to view the full analysis by the LandGate team (analysis done prior to the company brand update under our former name, PetroValues).


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