When designing a well, the main goal is to have the simplest completion possible while obtaining the greatest amount of information and, at the same time, maintaining the best well control. Simplicity and ability to obtain information and keep control are, at first, contrasting and/or conflicting drives, not to mention the duality of cost/benefit. One way to solve this issue is to take on the risk and increase the number of field cases. Sharing knowledge surely is the formula for success in achieving a mature technology.
In recent years, companies have taken the risk and embraced intelligent-field technologies. Applications of intelligent-well-completion technologies continue to increase. This increase often is the result of a greater expectation for increased profit and reduced operational costs. However, the major downside is system-life expectancy and risks associated with installation. Again, the right path is “to surf” along the learning curve.
Intrinsically, this technology has a variety of possible applications. Nowadays, two main trends have shown great progress, and maturity can be highlighted. The first is the installation of inflow-control devices (ICDs) to improve reservoir management. The second is use of real-time surveillance systems for production monitoring and optimization.
The use of ICDs can be useful for water- or gas-production control and for improving oil production in horizontal wells while avoiding water- or gas-cusping problems. These techniques have proved to be of great value for asset development. Aligned with cost reduction is the possibility to have wells that are “immune to intervention.” This feature is especially desirable for the growing number of deepwater production systems, in which intervention cost may be prohibitive and where intervention normally leads to operational risks. However, it is important to be aware of the rising cost of this type of equipment, with additional investment in equipment and installation.
The E&P segment has long strived to close the loop on information and achieve automated decision making for production systems. As a result, modern computer systems are gaining ground and replacing the old panels. Running information through many networks, associated with more-reliable sensors and controls, enables monitoring operational conditions and allows real-time advanced simulation modeling. Such modeling can provide a guideline for the expected operational conditions, permitting real-time comparison. Further, decision making and control can be applied to reach the highly desired optimized and economical smart-field concept.
Intelligent Fields Technology additional reading available at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org
SPE 128300 • “Real-Time Intelligent Production Monitoring of a North Sea Asset” by Ruud van der Linden, SPE, TNO, et al.
SPE 126246 • “Smart Operations With Intelligent-Well Systems” by A.S. Cullick, SPE, Halliburton, et al.
SPE 126089 • “Lessons Learned From 100 Intelligent Wells Equipped With Multiple Downhole Valves” by Saeed Mubarak, Saudi Aramco, et al.
SPE 127858 • “Perdido: The First Smart Field in the Western Hemisphere” by Robert K. Perrons, SPE, Shell