SPE Production & Operations

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1930-1855 / 1930-1863
Published by: Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) (10.2118)
Total articles ≅ 824
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Latest articles in this journal

Laurie Duthie, Hussain Saiood, Abdulaziz Anizi,
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-11; https://doi.org/10.2118/204432-pa

Summary Successful reservoir surveillance and production monitoring is a key component for effectively managing any field production strategy. For production logging in openhole horizontal extended reach wells (ERWs), the challenges are formidable and extensive; logging these extreme lengths in a cased hole would be difficult enough but is considerably exaggerated in the openhole condition. A coiled-tubing (CT) logging run in open hole must also contend with increased frictional forces, high dogleg severity, a quicker onset of helical buckling, and early lockup. The challenge of effectively logging these ERWs is further complicated by constraints in the completion where electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) are installed, including a 2.4-in. bypass section. Although hydraulically powered CT tractors already existed, a slim CT tractor with real-time logging capabilities was not available in the market. In partnership with a specialist CT tractor manufacturer, a slim logging CT tractor was designed and built to meet the exceptional demands of pulling the CT to target depth (TD). The tractor is 100% hydraulically powered, with no electrical power, allowing for uninterrupted logging during tractoring. The tractor is powered by the differential pressure from the bore of the CT to the wellbore and is operated by a preset pump rate from surface. Developed to improve the low coverage in openhole ERW logging jobs, the tractor underwent extensive factory testing before being deployed to the field. The tractor was rigged up on location with the production logging tool and run in hole (RIH). Once the CT locked up, the tractor was activated and pulled the coil to cover more than 90% of the openhole section, delivering a pulling force of up to 3,200 lbf. Real-time production logging was conducted simultaneously with the tractor activation; flowing and shut-in passes were completed to successfully capture the zonal inflow profile. Real-time logging with the tractor is logistically efficient and allows instantaneous decision making to repeat passes for improved data quality. The new slim logging tractor (SLT) is the world’s slimmest and most compact and is the first CT tractor of its kind to enable production logging operations in openhole horizontal ERWs. The importance of the ability to successfully log these ERWs cannot be overstated; reservoir simulations and management decisions are only as good as the quality of data available. Some of the advantages of drilling ERWs, such as increased reservoir contact, reduced footprint, and fewer wells drilled, will be lost if sufficient reservoir surveillance cannot be achieved. To maximize the benefits of ERWs, creative solutions and innovative designs must be developed continually to push the boundaries further.
T. Jatykov, K. Bimuratkyzy
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-8; https://doi.org/10.2118/206751-pa

An industry-accepted standard for minifrac analysis for evaluating and improving design of hydraulic fracturing treatments originated from the original Nolte analysis (Nolte 1979) of pressure decline, followed by the introduction of Castillo G-function in a Cartesian plot (Castillo 1987). The latter provides a graphical method for the identification of fracture closure pressures and stresses with subsequent derivation of other parameters such as fluid efficiency and fracture geometry. With the introduction of a more advanced consideration of the G-function interpretation for various reservoir conditions (Barree et al. 2007), subdividing the interpretation into calculations based on flow regimes and leakoff modes, this approach has become even more sophisticated. Particularly, interesting flow regimes and leakoff modes during fracture closure include the fracture height recession mode. This mode tends to result in rapid screenout and difficulty in placing high proppant concentrations. Regarding interpretation, the G-function derivative curve for this mode can have more than one plateau, an outcome that is possibly indicative of features that have not been widely considered to date or on which little to no data have been published. This paper presents a case study as an example of such height recession mode, along with a subsequent G-function interpretation and analysis and with consideration of the vertical facies distribution along the wellbore. Considerable attention is paid to the G-function derivative plateau analysis. Three distinctive wells, namely X-1,X-2, and X-3, are discussed. Using this technique can lead to an improved fracture calibration, optimized fracture design, and adoption of a successful completion strategy; additionally, the confirmation of 1D facies distribution can provide new insights into the fracture closure period.
Qian Gao,
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.2118/195881-pa

Summary The impacts of formation layering on hydraulic fracture containment and on pumping energy are critical factors in a successful stimulation treatment. Conventionally, it is considered that the in-situ stress is the dominant factor controlling the fracture height. The influence of mechanical properties on fracture height growth is often ignored or is limited to consideration of different Young’s moduli. Also, it is commonly assumed that the interfaces between different layers are perfectly bounded without slippage, and interface permeability is not considered. In-situ experiments have demonstrated that variation of modulus and in-situ stress alone cannot explain the containment of hydraulic fractures observed in the field (Warpinski et al. 1998). Enhanced toughness, in-situ stress, interface slip, and energy dissipation in the layered rocks should be combined to contribute to the fracture containment analysis. In this study, we consider these factors in a fully coupled 3D hydraulic fracture simulator developed based on the finite element method. We use laboratory and numerical simulations to investigate these factors and how they affect hydraulic fracture propagation, height growth, and injection pressure. The 3D fully coupled hydromechanical model uses a special zero-thickness interface element and the cohesive zone model (CZM) to simulate fracture propagation, interface slippage, and fluid flow in fractures. The nonlinear mechanical behavior of frictional sliding along interface surfaces is considered. The hydromechanical model has been verified successfully through benchmarked analytical solutions. The influence of layered Young’s modulus on fracture height growth in layered formations is analyzed. The formation interfaces between different layers are simulated explicitly through the use of the hydromechanical interface element. The impacts of mechanical and hydraulic properties of the formation interfaces on hydraulic fracture propagation are studied. Hydraulic fractures tend to propagate in the layer with lower Young’s modulus so that soft layers could potentially act as barriers to limit the height growth of hydraulic fractures. Contrary to the conventional view, the location of hydraulic fracturing (in softer vs. stiffer layers) does affect fracture geometry evolution. In addition, depending on the mechanical properties and the conductivity of the interfaces, the shear slippage and/or opening along the formation interfaces could result in flow along the interface surfaces and terminate the fracture growth. The frictional slippage along the interfaces can serve as an effective mechanism of containment of hydraulic fractures in layered formations. It is suggested that whether a hydraulic fracture would cross a discontinuity depends not only on the layers’ mechanical properties but also on the hydraulic properties of the discontinuity; both the frictional slippage and fluid pressure along horizontal formation interfaces contribute to the reinitiation of a hydraulic fracture from a pre-existing flaw along the interfaces, producing an offset from the interception point to the reinitiation point.
Xinghui Liu, Jiehao Wang, Amit Singh, Margaretha Rijken, Dean Wehunt, Larry Chrusch, Faraj Ahmad, Jennifer Miskimins
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-20; https://doi.org/10.2118/204182-pa

Summary Multistage plug-and-perforate fracturing of horizontal wells has proved to be an effective method to develop unconventional reservoirs. Various studies have shown uneven fluid and proppant distributions across all perforation clusters. It is commonly believed that both fracturing fluid and proppant contribute to unconventional well performance. Achieving uniform fluid and proppant placement in all perforation clusters is an important step toward optimal stimulation. This paper discusses how to achieve such uniform placement in each fracturing stage by means of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling approach. A laboratory-scale CFD model was built and calibrated using experimental data of proppant transport through horizontal pipes available from several laboratory configurations. A field-scale model was then built and validated using perforation erosion data from downhole camera observations. With the field-scale model validated, CFD simulations were performed to evaluate the impact of key parameters on fluid and proppant placement in individual perforations and clusters. Some key parameters investigated in this study included perforation variables (orientation, size, and number), cluster variables (count and spacing), fluid properties, proppant properties, pumping rates, and stress shadow effects. Both laboratory and CFD results show that bottom-side perforations receive significantly more proppant than top-side perforations because of gravitational effects. Laboratory and CFD results also show that proppant distribution is increasingly toe-biased at higher rates. Proppant concentration along the wellbore from heel to toe varies significantly. Gravity, momentum, viscous drag, and turbulent dispersion are key factors affecting proppant transport in horizontal wellbores. This study demonstrates that near-uniform fluid and proppant placement across all clusters in each stage is achievable by optimizing perforation/cluster variables and other treatment design factors. CFD modeling plays an important role in this design-optimizationprocess.
, M. Ganjeh-Ghazvini, V. Hematfar
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.2118/206731-pa

Summary During the years 2017–2020, when Iran faced restrictions on the sale of oil and gas condensate and due to the need for domestic consumption and gas sales commitments, it was inevitable to produce gas at full capacity. This coercion has led to significant production of gas condensates. Some of these condensates were sold, some were converted into products such as gasoline in domestic refineries, and some of these condensates needed to be stored, but the storage capacity was limited. For the purpose of underground condensate storage, a heavy oil reservoir was selected based on some technical and operational criteria. A feasibility study was conducted to evaluate the potential risks of condensate injection into the reservoir. The results of tests on asphaltene precipitation, as the most important risk, indicated no severe precipitation would occur even if high concentration of condensate mixed with the reservoir heavy oil. The recovery of condensate and the production performance of the reservoir were simulated in three different injection-production scenarios. The results showed a positive effect of condensate injection on production rate of the reservoir. Moreover, satisfactory volume of condensate could be recovered in a reasonable period of time.
Tarek Ganat, , Raoof Gholami, Taha Abouargub, Eghbal Motaei
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-16; https://doi.org/10.2118/205516-pa

Liquid-liquid phase flow in pipes merits further investigation as a challenging issue that has very rich physics and is faced in everyday applications. It is the main problem challenging the fluid flow mechanism in the oil and gas industry. The pressure gradient of liquid flow and flow pattern are still the topics of numerous research projects. In this paper, the emphasis is on further investigation to research the flow pattern, water holdup (HW), and pressure decrease for vertical, horizontal, and inclined flow directions of oil and water flows. Test section lines of 4.19-in. (106.426 mm) inner diameter (ID) and 5-m horizontal, 5-m inclined, and 5-m vertical test sections were serially connected. The experiments were conducted at 40°C using 2-cp viscosity oil and tap water, and oil density of 850 kg/m3, at the standard conditions. Fifty experiments were executed at 250 kPa at the multiphase flow test facility, with horizontal, upward (0.6° and 4°), downward (−0.6° and −4°) hilly terrain and vertical pipes. The oil and water superficial velocities were changed between 0.03 and 2 m/s. This evidence was obtained using video recordings; the flow patterns were observed, and the selection of each flow pattern was depicted for each condition. For horizontal and inclined flow, new flow patterns were documented (e.g., oil transfer in a line forms at the top of the pipeline, typically at high water rate, and water transfer at the lower part of the pipe at a high oil rate). The data were taken at each flow condition, resulting in new holdup and pressure drop. The results show that the flow rate and the pipe inclination angle have major impacts on the holdup and pressure drop performances. In the vertical flow, a clear peak was demonstrated by experiments after the superficial oil velocity reached a certain value. This peak is known as phase inversion point, where after this peak, the pressure starts declining as the superficial oil velocity increases. Also, slippage has been observed after varying inlet oil flow rates between the two phases. The experiments showed that with minor alteration in the inclination angle, the slippage was significantly changed. This study presented new experimental results (measured mainly at horizontal, inclined, and vertical flow conditions) of HW, flow pattern, and pressure drop. These findings are key evidence of the evolving oil-water and flowline estimate models.
Alyssia Janczak, Gaute Oftedal, Ehsan Nikjoo, Michaela Hoy, Christoph Puls, Thomas Florian, Martin Kornberger, Philipp Knauhs, Bogdan Davidescu, Olaf Huseby, et al.
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-18; https://doi.org/10.2118/205133-pa

Summary Horizontal wells are frequently used to increase injectivity and for cost-efficient production of mobilized oil in polymer-augmented waterfloods. Usually, only fluid and polymer production data at the wellhead of the production well are available. We used inflow tracer technology to determine changes in hydrocarbon influx owing to polymer injection and to determine the connection from various zones of the horizontal injector to the horizontal producer. Inflow tracer technology was introduced in horizontal polymer injection and production wells. In the production wells, tracers are released when they are contacted by water and oil. Oil and water tracer systems were used in the horizontal production wells. The changes in the observed tracer concentration were used to quantify changes in influx from various sections of the horizontal producers owing to polymer injection. The inflow tracer technology applied in the horizontal injection wells demonstrates connectivity between different sections of the injection wells and two surrounding vertical and horizontal production wells and opens the usage of this technology for interwell water tracer applications. Inflow tracer technology enables one to elucidate the inflow from various sections of the horizontal wells and the changes thereof, even quantifying changes in influx of various fluids (oil and water). The information shows which sections are contributing and the substantial changes in the influx of oil from the various zones due to polymer solution injection. The overall incremental oil could be allocated to the various horizontal well sections based on the tracer results. Even zones that almost exclusively produced water before polymer injection showed a significant increase in oil influx. The inflow tracer technology installed in the injection well allowed us to analyze the connectivity of the injector to producer not only globally but spatially along the horizontal well. These data are used for reservoir characterization, to condition numerical models, and for reservoir management. Conventional interwell tracer technology allows one to determine the connectivity and connected volumes of horizontal well polymer field developments. However, it reveals neither information about influx of the sections nor the connectivity of various sections of the horizontal wells. Inflow tracer technology closes this gap; it allows one to quantify changes in influx of the fluids. Furthermore, the newly developed installed injection well tracer technology gives spatial information about the connectivity of the horizontal well sections.
, Kamy Sepehrnoori, Ofodike A. Ezekoye
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-15; https://doi.org/10.2118/206716-pa

Summary Hydrates are ice-like solids composed of a water-based lattice “encaging” gas molecules. They form under conditions of high pressure and low temperature. In the oil and gas industry, where these conditions are easily met, hydrate formation may cause pipe blockages and severe financial implications, making its prevention (and remediation) one of the main flow-assurance concerns. Desired hydrate inhibition may come from electrolytes naturally dissolved in the water that is produced in conjunction with the hydrocarbon stream, or alcohols can be deliberately injected for such a purpose. When trying to predict hydrate conditions in real-world production systems, computer simulation should ideally integrate hydrate and multiphase-flow calculations. Failing to do so [by performing a decoupled analysis with a flow simulator and a separate pressure/volume/temperature (PVT) package for example] may generate misleading results under certain flow conditions. This paper presents an integrated wellbore simulator to deal with this issue. A hydrate model is added to verify hydrate formation for specific pressure, temperature, and composition of each gridblock. Integration with a geochemical package allows consideration of electrolyte inhibition coming from the associated brine. After successfully comparing results with the available simulators and the experimental data, it is demonstrated that when flowing gas/water ratios (GWRs) exceed 105 scf/STB, water condensation throughout the flow may dilute the beneficial effect arising from the brine composition, thus reducing electrolyte inhibition. Conversely, mineral precipitation along the flow path has shown a nearly negligible impact on this effect.
Hamdi Mnasri, Matthew A. Franchek, Taoufik Wassar, Yingjie Tang, Amine Meziou
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-21; https://doi.org/10.2118/205508-pa

Summary Presented is a model-based methodology identifying subsea field architectures that satisfy prespecified multiphysics constraints. The proposed methodology prioritizes the identified subsea system using a multiobjective optimization approach considering two objective functions, which are minimizing pressure drop reflecting the maximization of production flow rates and minimizing capital expenditures. The architecture solutions produce manifolds positioning and optimal pipeline routing/sizing. A convex combination approach creates the multiobjective optimization criterion enabling weighting among constraints such as hydraulic, topological, structural, and flow assurance, as well as technical issues and financial limitations. The optimization problem is computationally solved using a hybrid method with a global multistart algorithm that combines a scatter search process with a gradient-based local nonlinear problem solver. A case study is provided to test the proposed methodology including the effect of varying the weights among the constraints. This deep-dive analysis demonstrates the potential offered by the proposed methodology, illustrated by the ability to perform several investigations such as wells-grouping analysis and insulation effect on the overall optimization procedure, as well as to provide a tracking tool for flow-assurance factors, namely erosion and corrosion rates along the subsea layout. Hence, we present a demonstration of the capabilities of the proposed model-based subsea field layout optimization procedure.
T. G. Ahmed, P. A. Russell, N. Makwashi, F. Hamad, S. Gooneratne
SPE Production & Operations pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.2118/205517-pa

Summary In the first part of this work, the development of a capital cost optimization model for sizing three-phase separators was described. The developed model uses generalized reduced gradient nonlinear algorithms to determine the minimum cost associated with the construction of horizontal separators subject to four sets of constraints. In the second part, an experimental test rig was designed and used to investigate the effect of gas flow rate, liquid flow rate, and slenderness ratio (L/D) on the separation performance of horizontal three-phase separators. The results indicated an inverse relationship between an increase in gas and liquid flow rate and the separator outlet quality. It also indicated a direct relationship between an increase in slenderness ratio and separator outlet quality. The results also showed that the gradient change of the percentage of water in the oil outlet with respect to slenderness ratio decreased to ratios of 6:1. Hence, the separation rate increased. At ratios greater than 6:1, the separation still increases, but the gradient change in separation drops off, implying that the benefit in terms of separation is diminishing beyond this point. Therefore, the optimal slenderness ratio for technical reasons is 6:1.
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