Producing From Exploration Wells
- Christian Romano (Schlumberger Wireline & Testing)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1995
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 871 - 871
- 1995. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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Temporarily producing a well or wells allows extended testing for evaluatinga reservoir before incurring large additional drilling expenses to develop afield. It is also useful for determining the capacity and specific process apermanent production facility should have if one is justified. As an additionalbenefit, such production provides cash flow early in a field's developmentcycle; even at the exploration stage.
For these reasons, the use of temporary facilities for early production andextended well testing is increasing, both on- and offshore. In response,standardized modules and process skids that can be kept in stock to shortendelivery lead time were developed. As a result, the time typically needed todesign, fabricate, and install a 10,000- to 40,000-BOPD early productionfacility (EPF), such as the one in Fig. 1, has been reduced to 14 weeks. Thisstandardization permits capacity to be added or cut back as required, makesmobilization faster and easier, lowers upkeep and maintenance costs throughimproved reliability, and often saves transportation costs by allowing shipmentfrom fabrication site to wellsite by common carrier.
An EPF constructed from such standardized modules can be configured to fitpractically any available space. This allows a facility for offshore use to beinstalled on a semisubmersible, jackup rig, barge, floating productionplatform, production jacket, or tanker. For use on land, a modular EPF can bemounted on skids or trailers.
If the EPF must be transported a relatively long distance or installed at aremote site, the overall time required will exceed the typical 14-week period,but not by a large margin. As an example, an EPF made up of standardizedmodules was recently designed, prefabricated, and transported to and installedon a semisubmersible rig drilling in the Machar field in just 19 weeks from thetime the operator approved the project. The Machar field is on Block 23/26a in279 ft of water in the U.K. sector of the North Sea [110 miles east ofAberdeen.
This EPF, which is processing the produced fluids from two wells forreservoir evaluation, has a standard capacity of 20,000 BOPD. However, owing tocustomization and the properties of the Machar crude, actual sustainedproduction is 30,000 BOPD, with two-stage separation of gas and oil. The gas isflared with two 60-ft booms with low-pressure flare tips and a high-pressureflare tip on the 150-ft-high derrick. Processed oil is stored on a dynamicallypositioned tanker that is linked to the EPF on the semisubmersible rig by a0.62-mile subsea flow line.
This discussion has concentrated on the use of modular EPF's to providereservoir evaluation information and cash flow during exploration and earlystages of field development. However, it should be noted that EPF use is notlimited to such situations. For example, it is not uncommon for an EPF to beused to produce a marginal field offshore because a full-scale permanentproduction facility would be prohibitively expensive in relation to theanticipated return on investment. In this type of application, the EPF is oftencalled a mobile production facility (MPF). Whether called an EPF or MPF, thisfast-track approach minimizes negative cash flow while allowing a decision onfield development to be made at a later time.
bblx1.589 873 E-01 =m3
ftx3.048* E-01 =m
milex1.609 344* E+00 =km
*Conversion factor is exact.
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