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Fishbones can support reservoir stimulation demands Stateside

20 February 2023

Commentary by Robert Gill, Business Development Manager, Fishbones, North America

From my base in Houston, Texas, I have witnessed several significant changes in the North American oil and gas market over the last few years. From the growth of the Permian Basin, the transition towards renewable energy sources and innovation in the development of new technologies, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the North American sector is in a constant state of change.

This in turn has led to a complex and dynamic market, creating a real environment of opportunity. With this context in mind, I have noted a sizeable increase in operators considering the use of reservoir stimulation

Looking beyond traditional stimulation methods

Reservoir stimulation is one of a number of important techniques used by American oil and gas operators to increase production from existing reservoirs. Traditionally, this process involved injecting fluids or gases into a reservoir to create or enhance fractures, in turn helping to increase the flow of hydrocarbons to the wellbore. There are a variety of methods in which to do so, from hydraulic fracturing and acidization, to the injection of CO2.


Arguably it’s hydraulic fracturing, widely known as ‘fracking, which is the most well-known and widely used method of reservoir stimulation. It involves injecting a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into the reservoir at high pressure to create fractures in the rock. These fractures act as pathways for oil and gas to flow to the wellbore, which can increase production. Elsewhere, acidization is another commonly used method. This involves injecting an acid solution into the reservoir to dissolve rock and create pathways for oil and gas to flow. We have seen this technique most commonly being used in limestone and sandstone reservoirs.


Fishbones takes a different approach

At Fishbones, we have a different way of doing things. It’s an approach that increases production, with less environmental degradation than those traditional methods listed above.  We have developed a solution to reservoir stimulation that utilizes advanced multi-lateral technology. This technology has been proven to increase precision and accuracy, providing a level of performance that surpasses the traditional methods that are currently available on the market.


Our operational activity sees the use of jetting and drilling technology, allowing us to connect the well and the reservoir through an open-hole liner completion. By using this method, we are able to create multiple laterals simultaneously in a short pumping operation, either by the use of drilling or jetting, depending on the type of formation.


These solutions allow us to bypass damaged zones around the wellbore, penetrate low permeability areas, connect to natural fractures and expand the radius of the wellbore. This ultimately results in a more efficient and effective stimulation process, a point which is quickly being understood by North American operators.


Fishbones supports operators at all levels

I think it’s fair to say that over the last 18 months I have seen demand for our solutions across offshore, onshore and geothermal. A large part of this has been associated with the costs associated with traditional methods, in turn pricing out smaller, or less-established operators.


Take fracking, by way of an example. I’m sure that most of you reading this will be aware aware that fracking is a complex and resource-intensive process, which leads to significant costs.


For successful activity, fracking requires a significant amount of specialized equipment, such as high-pressure pumps, sand and chemical storage tanks, and drilling rigs. Additionally, the materials used in the fracking process, such as water, sand, and chemicals, can be costly.


Of course, not only that, but fracking will usually take place in remote areas, which can increase these costs when considering transportation and logistics. Preparing a site for fracking also requires a significant amount of work, such as clearing the land, building access roads, and installing pipelines. It’s clear to see that the costs can add up quickly.


Our solution is helping to overcome these challenges, providing a cost-effective option that delivers results.

When I speak to those on the ground, there are three key advantages that I focus on:

  • Fishbones ensures a reduced environmental impact. Our well tested deployment process, which drills all laterals at the same time, results in a smaller environmental footprint than larger fracking spreads.

  • Cost-effectiveness: our solution accelerates production, increases the flow rate and improves accuracy, while also being cost-effective.

  • Fracking-free: Within the context of North American regulations, our fracking-free approach can be used widely in all markets, even where fracking is prohibited.


Geothermal outlook – supporting the growth of the sector

Last year saw our entrance to the geothermal market, a sector we see real growth potential for in North America. By using only water or water-based fluids, we are able to offer a geothermal technique that is safer and more environmentally friendly than other solutions. Additionally, our approach aligns with the ongoing energy transition as it has been shown it can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 95% compared to fracking alternatives.


Not only that, but we can deliver geothermal connectivity across all types of rock formations. Our subs, which are run on a reservoir liner string, work in conjunction with our open-hole anchors and activation shoe to successfully install and maintain drilling systems while in the reservoir. This method allows us to connect fractures in the rock formation, revolutionizing geothermal technology and increasing the chances of success.


We take great care to work with clients on initial planning phases, allowing us to ensure that the final outcome not only maximizes resources but also eliminates the need for additional drilling and its associated costs, time, and environmental impacts.


Production is important, but we can’t lose sight of green targets

Those in the energy industry continuously work hard to keep up with the growing demands of the world. As a company, we believe that it's crucial we facilitate these demands in a way that doesn't hinder progress towards achieving net-zero emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources. We've been encouraged by the recent rise in awareness among our clients and stakeholders about the environmental benefits of using our products, which require less energy and resources, and this is something all the team take great pride in.

As the energy industry faces increasing pressure to become more sustainable and efficient, it's crucial for companies to find ways to maximize their assets and minimize expenses. By collaborating with our clients from the start, we are helping them to achieve this goal.

Our multi-lateral approach enables us to decrease the number of wells needed in a reservoir while simultaneously increasing the number of recoverable resources. This is especially beneficial in fields with complex reservoirs, like those found in North America, and we believe that our solution is the driver to increasing sustainable production. I know first-hand that there is a real demand for this in the States, and it’s something we look forward to supporting our customers on over the coming months and years.

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