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What is an oil and gas well “re-stimulation project”?

  • Definition of Re-Stimulation:

    Initially many reservoirs have sufficient hydrocarbon saturation to be attractive but lack either enough pressure (actually the difference between the pressure in the reservoir and the pressure in the wellbore when producing), thickness or permeability or low enough viscosity (or some combination of these) to allow the reservoir to produce fluids at an attractive rate. Limited reservoir thickness is now usually overcome by drilling horizontally (a relatively recent development that also overcomes the problem of low permeability but it's expensive) and viscosity can be improved near wellbore by heat (steam usually). We can't normally increase the reservoir pressure unless it has been depleted by prior activity and then some form of pressure maintenance is used (water injection usually). However, improving the permeability of the reservoir can sometimes be achieved by either injecting acid to remove some of the carbonate material (if present) or fracturing the reservoir which provides an easier pathway to the wellbore for the fluids. Acidizing and fracturing are the two most common methods of stimulation. However, over time the benefits of acidizing and fracturing can diminish and some reservoirs benefit from being "re-acidized" or "re-fractured" (re-stimulated) a second or even a third time. In many cases, a sponsor looks at other wells in the area producing from the same formation to see if re-stimulation has been attempted and if so what affect it had.

  • Benefits:

    • Less dry hole and mechanical risk than drilling a new well.
    • The cost per barrel of oil or per thousand cubic feet of natural gas recovered can be significantly less than drilling a new well.

  • Risks:

    • Wellbore failure as a result of the high pressures required.
    • Limited improvement for a number of reasons.

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