Smart Horizontal Wells for Development of Thin-Oil-Rim Reservoirs

Topics: Directional/extended reach wells
Fig. 1: Progressive development of a thin-oil-rim reservoir by smart-horizontal-well drilling and completion in phases. Well count vs. estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) shows an optimum of 41 wells as limited by economics.

For thin-oil-rim reservoirs, well placement, well type, well path, and the completion methods must be evaluated with close integration of key reservoir and production-engineering considerations. This involves maximizing reservoir-fluid contact and drainage, optimizing well productivity, and optimizing the well life-cycle production profile along the wellbore. Field-implementation cases in Malaysia have shown that this integrated approach can significantly minimize the well count, enhance the well performance, and improve the ultimate recovery per well in thin-oil-rim reservoirs with varying reservoir complexity and uncertainties.


Development of oil-rim reservoirs in Malaysia has been improved progressively in recent years through a series of reservoir-engineering studies and successful field implementations. Although typical oil-rim reservoirs are characteristically wedged between a gas cap and an underlying aquifer, they can be structurally very complicated, with faults and flow boundaries having varying dips and saddles. Oil-rim reservoirs of various sand thickness can also be stacked and compartmentalized. Aquifer support varies from sector to sector, resulting in uneven pressure depletion and fluid-contact change.

Wells are completed with multiple strings to produce separately from ­various different stacked sands with significantly large pressure difference. Well life can be short producing at high water-cut and high gas/oil ratio (GOR) because of wells having partial penetration operated at high pressure drawdown. For such a well-development strategy, idle-well rate increases dramatically. Currently, active wells in some key oil-rim reservoirs number far less than 50%. Field oil recovery remains low even after 25 years of continuous production.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 17753, “Smart-Horizontal-Well Drilling and Completion for Effective Development of Thin-Oil-Rim Reservoirs in Malaysia,” by Keng Seng Chan, Rahim Masoudi, Hooman Karkooti, Ridzuan Shaedin, and Mohamad B. Othman, Petronas, prepared for the 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 10–12 December. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Smart Horizontal Wells for Development of Thin-Oil-Rim Reservoirs

01 November 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 11