Reasons For Smartness

An Overview to the Benefits of Smart Well Technology

Ameneh Sobhani

smart Well Technology as a significant role player regarding oil industry could propose numerous applications, yielding many operational and economic benefits such as enhancing reservoir management, Capex and Opex reduction, accelerated production, increase ultimate recovery, water production control, risk reduction, and environmental benefit that are discussed below:

First, Enhancing Reservoir Management

Smart Well Technology as a key factor regarding petroleum industry, altering reservoirs remotely without intervention. While traditional wirelines are not only cheap, but also influential in dealing with easily accessible wells, they are unsuitable for subsea and extended reach completions as prevalent technologies. It costs a lot to perform the interventions in order to maintain deep-water work platforms, besides all, since the risk of manipulating valves thousands of feet below

the surface of the ocean mechanically is very high, Smart Well Technology utilizes hydraulic and electrical power, and provides a way to adjust the valves

indirectly. Furthermore, Smart Wells have become vital tool for accelerating the recovery.

The valves can be adjusted to minimize the production of water and other undesirable effluents in order to maximize oil recovery. The downhole sensors provide real time collection of flow rate, pressure, temperature, and even seismic data, allowing analysis of each production zone. This data can be used in one of two ways: “reactive mode,” with valves reset, as problems are detected, or,

less commonly, “defensive mode,” where the data is used in conjunction with production models and simulations to optimize performance and lift costs. Smart Well Technology is particularly useful to regulate different branches or segments of the well independently, that is valuable for multilateral wells and wells with complex or fragmented structure. Smart Well Technology also provides a solution to the problem of small, closely spaced reservoirs. Before the appearance of Smart Well Technology, such reservoirs usually had to be produced sequentially, which was wasteful and sometimes economically unviable. Now such reservoirs can be commingled, with each branch controlled separately using the variable valves by the help of Smart Well Technology.

Second, Capex Reduction

Reduction in capital cost can be categorized as the most important aspect of smart well technologies. Nowadays, considering the maximum NPV and the profit are the most important issues for oil and gas companies to drive any development projects. The time value of money concepts implies that high capital expenditures will delay the payback period along with an overall reduction of NPV. Therefore, the applications with lower CAPEX are the desired ones for industry which can be achieved by Smart Well technology.

Third, Opex Reduction

Operating expenditure (OPEX) is one of the most significant aspects in determination of the economic feasibility of a project. High OPEX will yield a high abandonment rate

and reduce the project life. Smart Well Technology can reduce OPEX through several means such as reduction in the number of wells, less intervention and less workovers. Although the Smart Well Technology may reduce the number of rig workers that results in less expenditure for clients.

Fourth, Accelerated Production

Accelerated Production considered as a substantial factor of current hydrocarbon production strategies. In terms of oil price increase along with the future market conditions, acceleration of production will optimize the NPV of the project. Smart Well systems can play a vital role in accelerating production especially in multi-layer reservoirs, also commingled production from different reservoirs in the same well can be detrimental to the ultimate recovery. Crossflow and fluid dumping from different zones will cause unflattering recovery values. Drilling different wells to produce these zones can be very costly and will require high initial development cost. However, wells equipped with inflow control valves which are Smart Wells can produce different layers without reservoir communication.

Fifth, Increase Ultimate Recovery

As energy demands increase rapidly, the goal of energy companies is to maximize ultimate recovery both economically and technically. The experts considered it really hard to maximize ultimate recovery while operating under the economic limits. Intervention costs such as workovers, coil-tubing operations and other production enhancing operations are the main reasons for limiting the increase of ultimate recovery. However, the new Small Well technology minimizes the future costs, associated with intervention and reduce the safety issues that can be costly for operators. Maximum ultimate recovery for current producing fields and future development will be an important role takers in the future oil demands.

Sixth, Water Production Control

One of the major challenges for engineers is to manage the produced water in oil fields. When the water production rate increases and extends the limits the well can face shut-in. This phenomenon definitely is not desired for clients and results in increasing costs and wasting precious time substantially. Water coning, water breakthrough in the water flooding process, natural fractures, hydraulic fracturing the rest are the main reasons of this problem. These problems can be controlled through Smart Well Technology. A Smart Well contains the assembly of downhole instruments including sensors, downhole interval control valves (ICVs), installed on the production or injection tubing. These products are designed to monitor well operating conditions downhole such as flow, pressure, temperature, phase composition, water PH, etc. they also can track

and display the distribution of some reservoir characteristics such as resistivity and acoustic impedance away from the well. Controlling the inflow and outflow rates of segregated sections of the well. Downhole interval control valves which are briefly called ICVs are really useful to control unconventional wells efficiently. They are even applicable in the heterogeneous

reservoirs. The Smart Wells are able to control each perforated layer independently in real time. The Smart Wells increase the oil production and also they can minimize unwanted fluid production by monitoring and controlling the fluid flow with no intervention.

Seventh, Risk Reduction

Operational risk is a very crucial factor in the selection of any method to operate. Petroleum experts investigate the operational risk for the application of Smart Well Technology. Risk Reduction can be considered for both operational risk safety and reservoir uncertainties. In terms of safety, the fields that are suitable for Smart Well Technology may require smaller number of wells than conventional fields. The possible reduction of number of wells should reduce the risk of having safety problems that might cause operational failure. The risk of having operation problems in Smart Wells is present but the risk discussed in this section is about the overall well drilling and completion risk. The second type of risk reduction is associated with reservoir uncertainties. This type can be linked to multi-lateral wells with many uncertainties in the reservoir such as fractures, faults and super-k zones. Inflow control valves (ICV) can eliminate pre-mature fluids breakthrough that might reduce the productivity of the well and affect production from other laterals in the well.

Eighth, Environmental Benefits

The Smart Well Technology proves to be environmentally friendly and reduce the pollutants of common oil and gas wells. In common wells the usually produced water containing high concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS), has been brought to the surface and reinjected that pollutes environment. While by the application of Smart Well Technologies the water is not brought to surface and hence does not require injection from the surface to the environment. Therefore, the environmental pollution caused by large volumes of produced water is reduced noticeably both exiting and re-entering the well upon minimization of injection. In addition, surface brine disposal operations, which may be comprised of pumps, pipes, tank batteries and other storage facilities may also be reduced in size and extent on even some of them may be eliminated. Hence, the potential of leaking and exposure to the produced fluids via fluid runoff to surface water results in the reduction of percolation and contamination of shallow ground water.

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