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03.22.18 4:02 ET
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Completing a well

Today, many new field discoveries are made in tight, relatively impermeable rocks, and natural gas will not flow easily from these tight reservoirs without some assistance. Completion includes the activities that prepare a well for production. The first step in the completion process is to perforate the steel casing. A perforating gun is lowered into the casing to the targeted section and creates small holes through the casing and cement and out a short distance into the shale reservoir. Southwestern Energy uses multi-stage fracture stimulation technology, also known as fracing, in horizontal wells. Through this process, high pressure, special fluids and sand are used to crack the rock, which opens up small pathways within the reservoir to help remove the gas. Multiple stages within the lateral portion of horizontal wells are perforated and fracture stimulated to connect more of the reservoir rock. Once frac operations are complete, plugs used to isolate each stage for safety are drilled out, allowing the well to flow gas and fluids to the surface. The next step is to install production tubing in the well, a permanent wellhead and other necessary surface production equipment. A pipeline is built to the well pad to transport the gas to the pipeline network. Learn more about the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids.... Learn more about our well integrity standards Learn more about our emission reduction activities