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Intelligent Completion in Laterals Becomes a Reality

Fig. 1—ERC electrical communication.

A producer and a service company have collaborated to develop a downhole system to merge multilateral technology and intelligent completions to create “smart laterals.” This approach is known as the extreme-reservoir-contact (ERC) approach to reservoir management. The complete paper discusses ERC completion technology that segments laterals into multiple compartments to provide flow rate, pressure, temperature, and water-cut measurements, together with variable choking in each compartment.

Technology-Development Program

Even the most-experienced and -diligent development teams cannot deal with an “unknown unknown,” defined here as a serious problem so deeply hidden that it eludes discovery by all laboratory prototype test methods. Therefore, full-scale tests and preliminary field trials must be conducted early as part of the development exercise. This approach was used successfully in Well Trial 1, which verified well-construction practices, and Well Trial 2, which tested prototype electrical control valves.

Executing Well Trials 1 and 2 revealed “unknown unknowns” in the pressure-gauge electronics and the assembly of the water-cut sensor. Because these were tool failures, they were relatively simple to correct. During Well Trial 3, an application failure was encountered when the drilling bottomhole assembly (BHA) tracked the liner outer diameter for several hundred feet after exiting the casing window. The resulting intersection of the electric umbilical on the outside of the 7-in. intelligent liner destroyed the downhole communications capability in the well. This problem could not have been prevented by effective planning; being an application failure, it could be discovered only in a field trial.

The application failure caused a program halt. A team was formed to redevelop lateral exit methods and drilling-sensor usage. A new project plan was made that required three additional parallel trials. Well Trial 4 was planned to prove umbilical avoidance by use of resistivity logging and revised procedures; further details are contained in the ERC Well Construction subsection of this synopsis. Well Trial 5 was a reduced-scale trial. Well Trial 6 was a full-scale installation similar to that previously attempted in Well Trial 3 and is the primary focus of this paper.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 183949, “Intelligent Completion in Laterals Becomes a Reality,” by Brett Bouldin, Robert Turner, Isidore Bellaci, and Yousif Abu Ahmad, Saudi Aramco, and Steven Dyer, Thales Oliveira, and Ali Bin Al-Sheikh, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2017 SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, 6–9 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Intelligent Completion in Laterals Becomes a Reality

01 May 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 5

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