Enform Canada has released for public comment a draft Industry Recommended Practice on Hydraulic Fracturing known as IRP 24: Fracture Stimulation. Enform Canada is a not-for-profit entity formed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors and the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada to serve as a hub of safety training for the Canadian oil and gas industry. An IRP 24 Committee within Enform Canada is responsible for developing IRP 24.

IRP 24 presents a process and set of recommendations to review, assess and develop controls to minimize risk, downhole and onsite, during fracture stimulation operations. It is the work of a group of fracture stimulation experts across Western Canada. Over 80 committee members representing 30 organizations, including operators, service companies and regulators, shared their expertise over three years to collaboratively develop IRP 24. It is the IRP 24 Committee’s intention that the processes presented in IRP 24 be the baseline for fracture stimulation operations in Western Canada.

IRP 24 recognizes that the fracture stimulation industry has rapidly matured in the past decade. Multi-well pads with multi-stage hydraulic fracturing operations are now the norm. Pressure to reduce pad sizes while increasing production potential has created congestion on the surface for workers and saturated downhole activity in a confined area.

The IRP 24 Committee has advocated for a philosophy of safety through shared knowledge in order to elevate industry acceptable practice in the hydraulic fracturing industry. The IRP 24 Committee believes that the best way to reduce the risk of a well control event or surface incident is through mindful planning and carefully designed control measures that reduce risk to an acceptable level. Therefore, IRP 24 has adopted a risk-based approach illustrated through the IRP 24 Fracture Stimulation Hazard Management Process (FSHMP). The FSHMP is an all-encompassing process that includes well integrity, interwellbore communication and surface operations pertinent to the hydraulic fracturing industry.

FSHMP set out a methodology of due diligence for operators and service providers to consider in the planning, execution and post-operational stages of a fracture stimulation operation. It is an iterative process built to accommodate change as a project evolves.

IRP 24 consist of four chapters:

  • Fracture stimulation overview
  • Subject well integrity
  • Interwellbore communication
  • Surface operations

Accompanying IRP 24 is a Hazard Register that is meant to put the recommendations in IRP 24 into practice. The purpose of the IRP 24 Hazard Register is to:

  • provide a shared location for industry identified hazard scenarios and associated risk severity,
  • facilitate operational planning by providing potential options to minimize risk and determine appropriate controls,
  • establish a baseline and industry standard for risk tolerance, and
  • provide a mechanism for contingency planning and development of site-specific control measures.

The IRP 24 Hazard Register is a living document which will be updated regularly by industry experts. As experts experience new hazard scenarios and develop new controls or mitigations, these hazard scenarios are to be documented in the IRP 24 Hazard Register for industry-wide use.

Enform Canada is accepting comments on IRP 24 until September 14, 2015.

IRP 24 may be accessed at: http://www.enform.ca/resources/detail/29/dacc-irp-volume-24-fracture-stimulation.