Coreflood Studies Examine New Technologies That Minimize Intervention Throughout Well Life Cycle
- Myles M. Jordan (Nalco Co.) | Ian R. Collins (BP Exploration) | Angeli Gyani (BP) | Gordon M. Graham (Scaled Solutions Limited)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- May 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 161 - 173
- 2006. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 7.1.5 Portfolio Analysis, Management and Optimization, 5.7.5 Economic Evaluations, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 3.1.6 Gas Lift, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2.2.2 Perforating, 4.3 Flow Assurance, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2 Well Completion, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 7.5.3 Professional Registration/Cetification, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.8 Formation Damage, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation
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With the development of more and more subsea fields, the challenge for scale-inhibitor squeeze treatments is to reduce intervention frequency by extending squeeze treatment lifetime while concomitantly reducing any potential damage in both low water-cut and high water-cut wells. This paper discusses the technical problems and examines new technologies for treatment of such production wells through their life cycle. This paper covers the findings from late 2001 through early 2002. Because even newer technologies have been developed since the writing of this paper, it should be read as the history of technological development.
Scale control technology available to control scale formation within the reservoir and near-wellbore area of production wells will be outlined with a focus on the current developing technology to control scale within low water-cut wells. Moreover, this paper shows that the new technical area of emulsion-scale-inhibitor-delivery systems, originally designed to control scale within low water-cut wells, has applications in both low and high water-cut wells.
This study assists in developing an understanding of the mechanism of interaction of emulsion-based products—in particular, the impact of the level of water saturation within the core system. In addition, it demonstrates that the emulsion particles are retained in the core matrix during both crude and brine flowback. This paper indicates that the emulsion product offers the potential for extremely long squeeze lifetimes with minimal damage in oil-production wells with rising water cut. It also demonstrates how different technologies have their own place in the life cycle of a production well.
Flow assurance is an essential aspect of the economic production of crude oil. It can be considered the ability to produce petroleum fluids economically from the reservoir to a production facility over the lifetime of a field. Scale control is one of the key aspects of the flow-assurance issue. The increasing number of subsea fields, together with deepwater production, raises particular issues and evolving challenges for flow assurance beyond those seen for simple vertically drilled wells. The complexity of new well completions in terms of horizontal and multilateral wells, subsea tiebacks, and commingled flow presents particular challenges. Where scale-inhibitor treatments are required for such complex wells, they are often associated with very high intervention costs.
Scale control issues need to be addressed as part of asset life cycle management, whereby the issues are tackled before field development/production [i.e., capital expenditure (capex) phase] rather than being reactively confronted once water breakthrough occurs [operational expenditure (opex) phase]. Such an approach allows for the selection of an appropriate economic technology. Indeed, the anticipated problems may influence the plans to develop a field, for example, in terms of water-injection strategies or implementing appropriate technology upon well completion.
Scale control within life cycle management is based on varying challenges seen with the increase in water cut as a field and its wells move from dry production to high water cuts. This is associated with four phases of field development—project, plateau, decline, and decommission (Fig. 1). At the project stage, scale control treatment strategies can be developed. The scale issues at subsequent stages depend on the nature and severity of the anticipated scale problem. Fig. 2 outlines the scale issues associated with the injection of seawater into a reservoir with barium and bicarbonate present in the formation water.
The process of evaluating the risk of scale in a field under appraisal is briefly outlined below. The factors to be taken into account when evaluating the risk of scale formation and control are described in detail, along with currently available technologies and the gaps that exist in a recent SPE publication (Jordan et al. 2001).
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