Tangen, Geir Ivan (Lundin Norway AS) | Smaaskjaer, Geir (Lundin Norway AS) | Bergseth, Einar (Lundin Norway AS) | Clark, Andy (Lundin Norway AS) | Fossli, Børre (Enhanced Drilling AS) | Claudey, Eric (Enhanced Drilling AS) | Qiang, Zhizhuang (Enhanced Drilling AS)
In 2015, while coring in the carbonate reservoir in the second appraisal well on an oil and gas discovery in the Barents Sea (386 m water depth), the drill string fell 2 meters and a total mud loss was experienced leading to a well control incident. As a result, since 2016, the operator has introduced and used the Controlled Mud Level (CML) system. To date this system has been used on seven wells including two further appraisal wells on the same field and five exploration wells in the area.
In 2017 it was decided to drill a horizontal well in the same carbonate reservoir and to perform an extended production test in close proximity to the original loss well. Since it is not possible to predict where large voids (karsts) and natural fractures could be encountered, contingency to handle high losses, had to be implemented for the horizontal well. During the well planning, further risk reducing measures were implemented, including the use of wired drill pipe to improve the management of the wellbore pressure profile. This paper describes the planning processes leading up to the operation and the highlights of the operation itself together with the lessons learned. It elaborates on how wired pipe, used in combination with the CML system, added value to the operation. It shows how it was possible to drill the reservoir section with a low overbalance while managing severe losses associated with open karsts and natural fractures and still maintaining the fluid barrier. Despite the severe losses encountered it was possible to safely drill and complete the well without any well control event by use of the CML system.
In recent years, the oil and gas industry has gained greater operational efficiencies and productivity by deploying advanced technologies, such as smart sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning — all linked via Internet of Things connectivity. This transformation is profound, but just starting. Leading offshore E&P operators envision using such applications to help drive their production costs to as low as $7 per barrel or less. A large North Sea operator among them successfully deployed a low-manned platform in the Ivar Aasen field in December 2016, operating it via redundant control rooms — one on the platform, the other onshore 1,000 kilometers away in Trondheim, Norway. In January 2019, the offshore control room operators handed over the platform's control to the onshore operators, and it is now managed exclusively from the onshore one. One particular application — remote condition monitoring of equipment — supports a proactive, more predictive condition-based maintenance program, which is helping to ensure equipment availability, maximize utilization, and find ways to improve performance. This paper will explain the use case in greater detail, including insights into how artificial intelligence and machine learning are incorporated into this operational model. Also described will be the application of a closed-loop lifecycle platform management model, using the concepts of digital twins from pre-FEED and FEED phases through construction, commissioning, and an expected lifecycle spanning 20 years of operations. It is derived from an update to a paper presented at the 2018 SPE Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) that introduced the use case in its 2017-18 operating model, but that was before the debut of the platform's exclusive monitoring of its operations by its onshore control room.
To safely plan and execute MPD Influx Control operations, the limits of the primary barrier envelope must be communicated and understood. These safe operating limits have historically been represented with an MPD Operations Matrix. More recently, the development of the Influx Management Envelope (IME) has provided a means of communicating the primary barrier limits with improved accuracy and clarity. However, the generation of the IME currently requires performing a series of complex well control simulations with specialist engineering support. Because drilling operations are dynamic in nature, a practical method to generate the IME boundaries at the wellsite is required so that changes to mud weight, flowrate, surface and bottom hole circulating temperatures, trajectory, and bit depth can be accounted for, and the IME kept up to date.
This paper describes the development of a novel tool to quickly and automatically generate IMEs at the wellsite without the need for sophisticated modelling software and specialist personnel. The single bubble derivation that was originally presented by Culen et al was analysed further to obtain a more accurate and explicit relationship rather than an implicit one, which forms the basis for the calculations. The IME can be updated based on any well parameter changes, which allows field engineers to maintain an up to date and accurate IME throughout MPD operations.
CML (Controlled Mud Level) is a dual gradient type of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD). The CML system was developed and implemented on the Troll field to allow for reducing the annular pressures acting on the wellbore during drilling, thus allowing drilling areas weakened by faults and fractures and longer horizontal sections in the depleted normal pressured reservoirs. This paper will present a short introduction to the Troll field, a description of the system utilized, a summary of the rig integration, operations and experiences with the CML system on Troll.
Berg, Christian (Kelda Drilling Controls) | Stakvik, Jon Åge (Kelda Drilling Controls) | Kulikov, Stanislav (GNS Ltd) | Kaasa, Glenn-Ole (Kelda Drilling Controls) | Dubovtsev, Aleksandr (Gazpromneft-Vostok) | Korolev, Sergey (Gazpromneft-Vostok) | Gurban, Veliyev (GNS Ltd)
In this work we present field results from a series of drilling operations where advances in sensor and control system technology enables a high degree of automated pressure control in under-balanced drilling (UBD) operations in Siberia, Russia. Traditionally this fractured carbonate field was drilled conventionally using water as drilling fluid, accepting losses after hitting the first fractures, resulting in wells with access to only two or three fractures and not reaching target depth (TD) of the productive section. For these operations a combination of Nitrified water and crude oil was used. Applying automated pressure control with UBD equipment enables drilling with a controlled draw-down from the fractures, enabling drilling of significantly longer wells, maximizing discovered fractures per well. In this paper it will be shown how the drilling of these wells have been achieved with the combination of sensors for MPD and UBD and an automated pressure control system that keeps a constant drawdown throughout operations.
Capillary desaturation experiments are combined with high-resolution microtomography imaging to understand the impact of wettability on the global and local distribution of fluids in the pore space of sandstone outcrops. Small cylindrical rock samples are cored, imaged in dry state then successively prepared at irreducible water saturation before steps of waterflood. Several samples also go through a wettability-alteration phase in order to expand the range of wettability conditions: namely, oil-wet to mixed-wet. Waterflooding is done at various capillary numbers and injected brine volumes, depending on the case. The entire rock is imaged at voxel resolutions of typically 2 or 4 µm, to ensure a high-quality segmentation.
Global oil saturation results show how the wettability impacts the shape of capillary desaturation curves, in particular, the existence of a critical capillary number. In the nonwater-wet experiments, oil saturation is controlled by a large, highly-connected oil cluster percolating from the inlet to the outlet of the sample. Such results are important for pore-scale flow modeling strategy and validation. We demonstrate that the wettability is not always uniformly distributed along the core despite of the use of classical wettability-alteration protocols, highlighting potential biases in traditional SCAL tests.
A novel method of measuring steady-state relative permeability, called the intercept method (IM), was recently introduced. The IM entails a modification of a standard steady-state procedure that incorporates multiple total flow rates at each fractional flow rate. The objective of the method is to measure data at each fractional flow rate that will permit simple analytical calculations to correct differential pressure (hence relative permeability) and saturation data for the effects of capillary pressure. The IM is intended to provide a corrective technique without the need for additional supportive analyses, such as capillary pressure and in-situ saturation monitoring (ISSM), or as an alternative approach to the current considered best practice of numerical coreflood simulation, which generally requires the specified additional data.
Consequently, the IM is of interest to the global industry in regions and/or laboratories that do not possess state-of-the-art equipment, or for its cost-saving potential. However, before employing this new method, it was important to the authors to investigate its validity across a wider range of rock properties, sample dimensions and wetting states experienced in commercial special core analysis laboratory (SCAL) coreflood experiments. This study thus draws on a variety of relative permeability curves (and supporting data) from various global core studies, originally derived by typical relative permeability methods plus coreflood simulation. From these data, we use SCORES (an open-source coreflood simulation software) to simulate the expected results of multiflow-rate steady-state experiments and use the IM to derive and compare the corrected relative permeability curves. Results highlight criteria under which the method does not provide fully corrected data. The paper explores these criteria in more detail.
In-situ saturation monitoring (ISSM), using X-rays or gamma rays, has become a common method to determine fluid saturations in commercial coreflood experiments. The most common method in commercial laboratories entails 1D saturation measurements as a function of core-plug length and of experimental time. Laboratories often employ ISSM as the only method of determining fluid saturations, assuming an almost infallible accuracy of 1 to 2 saturation units (s.u.). However, as for all measurement methods, there are possible sources of uncertainty in ISSM data. Previous papers have discussed some of these uncertainties, such as X-ray drift, and inappropriate calibration scans or changes to core or fluid properties during testing. Despite this evidence, some laboratories continue to use ISSM measurements alone, assuming negligible uncertainty.
In the authors’ experience, uncertainties not only exist in measurement errors, but also may be introduced by inappropriate processing and interpretation methods. This paper first considers the stipulated 1 to 2 s.u. accuracy and the necessary signal-to-noise ratio, i.e., counts required, to achieve this; as well as providing a suggested approach, where plausible, to correct saturation data compromised by incorrect calibration scans. It also considers the uncertainties in use of ISSM production volumes in determining unsteady-state relative permeability; specifically, pre- and post-breakthrough data and the assumptions surrounding selection of breakthrough from flood-front scans. In addition, ISSM profiles are often used in coreflood simulation of relative permeability to aid correlation of the capillary end effect; incorrect data processing may compromise this correlation. The paper considers several sources of error in ISSM data and provides a recommended approach to acquisition, processing and interpretation of ISSM data for calculation of fluid saturations.
While distributed temperature sensing (DTS) has become a commonly used tool in reservoir studies, the technology has not seen widespread use in SCAL projects. Most core-scale experiments attempt to control temperature at a constant value rather than monitor temperature changes within a sample during a test. High-resolution temperature arrays are available that measure changes in temperature of 0.1°C at 1-mm resolution. The optical backscatter reflectance (OBR) fiber senses both temperature and strain that can be separated through experiment design and signal processing. These OBR fibers are sensitive enough to monitor temperature changes associated with endo- and exothermic chemical reactions associated with mineral dissolution/precipitation, or fluid-front movements in steam-assisted gravity drainage of heavy-oil tests. An example of the use of a distributed temperature array is in the monitoring of natural-gas-hydrate formation and dissociation in a sandpack as CO2 is exchanged with the naturally occurring CH4 in the hydrate structure. A fiberoptic array was placed within a narrow-diameter PEEK tube as the sandpack was constructed. The PEEK tube held the fiber optic in place so that the sensed signal was temperature only and did not include any strain effects. The OBR was set up to acquire a temperature array every 30 seconds during the test at 5-mm spacings. The core holder was placed in a MRI instrument that provided additional spatial information on hydrate formation during the test that was compared with the OBR results. Initial hydrate formation resulted in a several degrees increase in temperature at the inlet end of the cell that with time, progressed down the length of the cell. The temperature array and MRI images both showed the nonuniform nature of hydrate formation and subsequent dissociation of the hydrate when N2 was injected into the cell as a permeability enhancement step. The faster response of the OBR array compared to the time required to acquire MRI images provided additional detail in the sequence of hydrate formation and dissociation during CH4-CO2 exchange. The limitation to the OBR array was that it only sensed temperature fluctuations proximal to the fiber as a function of the hydrate system’s thermal conductivity.
Lin, Qingyang (Imperial College London) | Bijeljic, Branko (Imperial College London) | Krevor, Samuel C. (Imperial College London) | Blunt, Martin J. (Imperial College London) | Rücker, Maja (Imperial College London) | Berg, Steffen (Imperial College London / Shell Global Solutions International BV) | Coorn, Ab. (Shell Global Solutions International BV) | van der Linde, Hilbert (Shell Global Solutions International BV) | Georgiadis, Apostolos (Shell Global Solutions International BV) | Wilson, Ove B. (Shell Global Solutions International BV)
In the context of digital rock analysis, pore-scale imaging of multiphase flow experiments using X-ray microtomography can be used to obtain fundamental insights into pore-scale displacement physics. This provides a basis to better calibrate numerical pore-scale simulators, or it can be used to understand local fluid distributions, while simultaneously measuring average properties, equivalent to a traditional SCAL experiment. Imaging studies in the literature have historically been conducted on small water-wet plugs, using kerosene, or another refined oil, as the non-wetting phase. Prior to conducting waterflood experiments, the initial water saturation has been established by dynamic flooding. The disadvantage with this is that a nonuniform saturation profile is established due to the capillary end effect. This will result in a higher average initial water saturation compared with, for instance, standard SCAL techniques, such as the porous-plate method or centrifugation.
In this paper, a methodology for initializing multiple small rock samples to the same connate water saturation and wettability state has been developed by adopting best SCAL practices, namely the porous-plate method or centrifugation using crude oil, followed by aging. We drill multiple small plugs from a full-size SCAL core sample, without losing capillary continuity with the base of the original sample. In the example presented, for Bentheimer sandstone, the initial saturation was established using centrifugation. The experiment is designed to prevent a nonuniform saturation profile in the small plugs. We use in-situ imaging to determine the water saturation after primary drainage and show that it is indeed uniform across the sample with a value consistent with larger-scale SCAL measurements and the measured mercury-injection capillary pressure. We also show that a significant wettability alteration had occurred by measuring in-situ contact angles.