New Technologies Maximize Production in Viscous-Oil North Slope Field
- Adam Wilson (JPT Special Publications Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 72 - 73
- 2015. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 58 since 2007
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This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 171896, “The Use of New Technologies To Maximize Oil Production in a Viscous-Oil Field in Arctic Environment: The Nikaitchuq Experience,” by S. Raniolo, SPE, S. Mancini, and S. Vimercati, Eni E&P; and P. Gentil, D. Simeone, SPE, and A. Buchanan, Eni Petroleum, prepared for the 2014 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 10–13 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Oil quality and drilling-pad constraints for a viscous-oil field defined a development scheme that consisted of a waterflood line drive with horizontal producers and water-injection (WINJ) wells side by side. Different well designs for producer wells were implemented: a single horizontal trajectory undulating between the two sand bodies in counterphase with the related water injectors, a fishbone design with the main borehole in the lower sand and multiple branches in the upper sand, and a multilateral (ML) counterphase design with extended-reach undulating dual laterals. As a result of the ML campaign, well productivity doubled.
The field is located on the North Slope of Alaska in the Beaufort Sea in water depth less than 20 ft. The reservoir consists of four zones hydraulically communicating, named OA1, OA2, OA3, and OA4. The differentiation is mainly sedimentological; OA1 and OA3 are associated with a more-proximal depositional system, while OA2 and OA4 are characterized by a predominance of thin laminated silty sandstones because of a more-distal depositional system.
The crude quality and drill-pad constraints (one offshore, one onshore) drove a development concept that consisted of a waterflood line drive with alternating horizontal producers and WINJ wells with a 1,200-ft spacing. The lateral sections are 6,000–10,000 ft long through the reservoir with undulating counterphase trajectories across the two main sand bodies. Challenging very-extended- reach wells with a stepout ratio higher than 6 have been achieved (Fig. 1).
The undulating counterphase well trajectories were selected for producers and injectors to guarantee optimal pressure support and avoid early water breakthrough. The original design was based on predrilling assumptions; however, the reservoir was revealed to be more homogeneous than expected, with good petrophysical properties. These conditions led to the evaluation of ML concepts, with an expected low impact on water-cut trends and water breakthrough.
With the goal of increasing reservoir contact, the ML concept consisting of undulating counterphase dual laterals was tested in August 2013. The producer was modified to an undulating counterphase dual lateral throughout the two main sands. The injector maintained the original well concept in counterphase with the original producer mainbore. As a result, well production doubled with respect to the average before the intervention.
In parallel, key development wells were identified for data acquisition and appraisal activities that have resulted in derisking stepout opportunities as well as assessing the potential of challenging resources, such as the peripheral areas.
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