An Operator’s Perspective on Benefits and Challenges of In-Well Monitoring

Topics: Offshore
Fig. 1—Challenges that monitoring information can address. FBHP=flowing bottomhole pressure.

In-well monitoring can improve the quality of surveillance in subsea wells, enabling low-cost, nonintrusive well and reservoir surveillance, provided that the industry overcomes the technical challenges and gaps and improves the reliability of the system. However, significant challenges remain in the selection, qualification, and deployment of these technologies in deepwater subsea wells. This paper provides an operator’s viewpoint of in-well monitoring, covering some of the key challenges.

Defining Monitoring-System Value

The interest in downhole monitoring has been well-documented, and much effort and money have been spent to obtain such information as needed to evaluate reservoir potential, optimize operations and production, and manage cost and risk. The primary measurement historically has been single-point downhole pressure and temperature. The value of additional measurements, such as production logging, downhole sampling, and compaction logging, is high, but they require well intervention. Permanently installed monitoring systems, distributed multipoint sensors in particular, provide unique real-time, on-demand information. General methods using coupled temperature-/pressure-transient interpretations offer unique information not previously attainable if the sensing systems are available, be they electrical or optical. Useful measurements cover a broad range of applications and include the following:

  • Gas lift monitoring/optimization
  • Electrical-submersible-pump optimization
  • Production/inflow monitoring
  • Injection profiling
  • Water management
  • Well- and completion-integrity monitoring
  • Compaction monitoring
  • Fracture-height monitoring
  • Real-time stimulation monitoring
  • Sand detection

These surveillance objectives have a place in both onshore and offshore wells. Greater value is often seen in deep water, in subsea-well applications in particular, because of intervention cost and risk as well as high-pressure and -temperature conditions.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper OTC 25085, “In-Well Monitoring for Deepwater Wells—Operator’s View,” bySandeep Patni, SPE, Shell, and Dennis Dria, SPE, Myden Energy Consulting, prepared for the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 5–8 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2014 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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An Operator’s Perspective on Benefits and Challenges of In-Well Monitoring

01 May 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 5

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