Self-destructing balls

SCHLUMBERGER has released alloy balls for well stimulation that can self-disintegrate within hours or days to boost productivity.
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The oilfield services giant said the "Elemental" alloy balls for multistage stimulation treatments would degrade in a wide range of downhole conditions, depths, temperatures, pressures and well fluids.

"Controlled degradation takes place without the need for chemical additives, low pH environment, retrieval operations or milling after fracturing," Schlumberger said.

The balls were successfully tested with Schlumberger's Falcon multistage stimulation system for uncemented wells in the Montney and Bakken shales at temperatures varying from 30 degrees to 127 degrees.

"One customer used the technology to complete and fracture a multi-lateral wellbore containing 42 Falcon stages, 21 per lateral," Schlumberger said.

"After each lateral was fractured, the well was allowed to flow back without any of the alloy balls being recovered at surface, validating the swift degradation behaviour of the technology."

Schlumberger completions president Mike Garding said the technology provided a step-change increase in operation efficiency, bringing production online faster in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

"The Elemental degradable alloy technology enables high stage count jobs to be carried out in both cemented and uncemented wells by eliminating the risk of stuck balls and the need to mill them out," he said.