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New well perf systems reveal efficiency, evolution in shale

By Luke Geiver | March 15, 2017

DynaEnergetics is doing its part to make the unconventional oil and gas industry more efficient. After requests from customers to help them lower completion costs during the recent industry downturn, Frank Preiss, vice president and general manager of the company’s Americas unit, said his team began thinking of new ways to perforate a well. Their efforts, rolled out last year, could change the process required to perforate a well.

The Houston-based firm has designed a factory-assembled, performance assured well perforating system that can provide operators with a more efficient system that improves safety at the well site.

According to Preiss, normally service companies buy individual components for perforating systems and assemble them in-house. The components can range from shape charges to metal carrying parts. DynaEnergetics new approach allows the service companies to order the type of system they want for their specific purposes or well design plans.

The pre-fabricated system also eliminates the need for service employees to handle explosives and wire the system prior to use. The new system is like putting a battery into a flashlight, Preiss said. The perforating set-up features a built-in wired connection with pre-installed wire contacts. Since the set-up is delivered to a shop or well site fully assembled, the wireline customers DynaEnergetics serves don’t have to re-open, permit or staff the remote gun loading facilities that may have closed during the downturn. Using the pre-fabricated system also eliminates the needs for customers to preplan all of the steps necessary to create a perforating unit prior to fracking a well.

The perf guns are assembled south of Fort Worth, Texas. If demand continues for the products, Preiss said his team will consider restarting its facility in Pennsylvania.

In addition to its new perf gun design and delivery process, the company has also created new shape charges that can enhance fluid flow through a well during the pressure pumping process. The company released the product late last year and has already published case studies from results in the Permian Basin.

The HaloFrac and FracTune products are different, but offer a new, enhanced option for puncturing a well bore. During a typical fracture procedure of a horizontal well, the perf guns loaded with charges will always be laying on the low side of the well bore. The position of the gun will always create different sizes of holes in the casing above or below the gun. The hole on top will typically be smaller. As Preiss explains, when the fluid starts pumping through, the bigger hole won’t have as much pumping resistance and an unproportionate amount of fluid will go to the larger hole. The new shape charges designed and tested by DynaEnergetics accounts for the placement of the gun in the casing and utilized different types or sizes of charges to create similar hole sizes around the entire well casing. “The feedback we have gotten from customers,” Preiss said, “is that by using this type of technology they’ve been able to decrease the amount of sand and water they pump.”

Although the new pre-fab, pre-checked perforating system or shape charge design may be more expensive up front, the speed at which wells can be production increases significantly using the systems, according to Preiss. Frack crews can spend less time on a well, in some cases, by a matter of days.

DynaEnergetics is a subsidiary of globally traded technology company DMC Global Inc. The company trades under the NASDAQ ticker symbol BOOM.