Recently two multilateral horizontal wells have been completed offshore using dedicated multistage hydraulic fracturing completions. The first well, located in the Central North Sea (referred to as ML-CNS), was stimulated using acid fracturing; while the second well, located in the Black Sea (referred to as ML-BKS), was stimulated using proppant fracturing. This paper presents the different drivers, challenges and lessons learned for each well while emphasizing the well construction and stimulation methodologies developed for the different reservoirs and field characteristics.
The field development drivers for drilling and completing these offshore hydraulic fractured multilateral wells, a first of their kind globally, was different for each case. The objective of the first project, initially considered uneconomic, was to engineer a technical solution for completion and production of two separate reservoirs with only one subsea well. The second project was seeking to optimize infill drilling from the last available slot on the offshore platform to maximize reservoir contact and production in the same reservoir. ML-CNS was a TAML Level 2 completion with a 14-stage, 5 ½" multistage completion run in each lateral and set-up for sequential acid fracturing. Operationally, the first lateral was drilled and stimulated, followed by the drilling and stimulation of the second lateral, using the drilling whipstock to navigate through the multilateral junction. ML-BKS was a TAML Level 3 completion that had a 6-stage, 4 ½" multistage completion installed in each lateral, which were proppant fractured following a sequence designed to minimize the jack-up rig time required. Both legs were drilled and completed prior to starting the stimulation, access to either lateral was achieved with the existing workover unit on the platform by manipulating a custom designed BHA.
The lessons learned from the first project executed in the North Sea were able to be transferred and applied to the second project in the Black Sea to allow for a more efficient and confident completion solution. Led by varying economical and regional constraints, the key factor for both wells centered on delivering operationally simple and reliable multilateral completion designs to economically meet the field development strategy in place.
To the knowledge of the authors and following subsequent literature research, both wells are a worldwide first for an offshore multilateral well completed with multistage acid fracturing and multistage proppant fracturing, and together they represent a new trend in cost-effective offshore field development through well stimulation. The successful case studies for both wells with the combined analysis of the benefits, challenges, and lessons learned will provide a guide and instill confidence with operators who find this approach beneficial with a view to applying it in other assets.
Following the significant reservoir depletion on Elgin / Franklin fields since 2007, drilling infill wells was considered to not only be high cost but also carry a high probability of failure to reach the well objective. The recent campaign on the Elgin field, one of the most heavily depleted reservoirs worldwide, demonstrated that infill drilling can be achieved safely while improving performance.
Drilling of HPHT infill wells on the Elgin field faced increasing challenges arising from the reduction of reservoir pressure that changed the stresses in the formations above and influenced the overall pressure regime. This stress reorganization in the overburden has affected the fracture network in these formations resulting in reduction in Fracture Initiation Pressure (FIP) and increase of gas levels.
Challenges were faced during the drilling of three wells in the 2015-2017 campaign. Loss events in Chalk formations in the intermediate sections significantly decreased the already Narrow Mud Weight Window (NMWW). A strategy to define and validate the minimum required MWW in 12-1/2" and 8-1/2" sections was developed following a complex subsurface well control event. Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) technique was extensively used to safely manage gas levels and assess pore pressure.
Reservoir entry with more than 850 bar of overbalance remains the main challenge in infill drilling. A total loss event during first reservoir entry in the latest campaign confirmed the limitations of wellbore strengthening mud and stress caging materials available today.
Lessons learned from each well in this campaign were implemented to address these challenges and improve performance. This paper describes the Elgin HP/HT infill drilling experience and the specific techniques and practices that were developed to address these challenges and improve performance. The importance of Equivalent Circulating Density (ECD) management with very narrow MWW, successful high gas level management with MPD and depleted reservoir entry, shows that even in a highly complex environment, drilling performance can be improved allowing for further economical development drilling. The successful and safe delivery of the Elgin 2015-2017 infill drilling campaign demonstrates this at a time the industry moves toward unlocking the reserves of more challenging HPHT fields.
The Ekofisk oil field is in the North Sea, south of Norway, with an estimated 6.4 billion bbl stock tank original oil in place (STOOIP). It is a large, carbonate reservoir that has two zones, Ekofisk and Tor, that are high-porosity, fractured chalks with matrix permeabilities of approximately 1 md and effective permeabilities that range from 1 to 50 md. Discovered in 1969, the Ekofisk field was found at very high pressure [7,120 psia at 10,400 ft true vertical depth subsea (TVDSS)] but with an initial bubblepoint pressure that was 1,600 psi below initial reservoir pressure. Ekofisk's oil is 38 API, has a viscosity of approximately 0.25 cp, and has a solution gas/oil ratio (GOR) of more than 1,500 scf/STB. Primary production began in June 1971 and peaked in 1976 at 350,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) from 30 production wells (with 8 gas reinjection wells).
Maintaining a stable borehole and optimizing drilling are still considered to be vital practice for the success of any hydrocarbon field development and planning. The present study deliberates a case study on the estimation of pore pressure and fracture gradient for the recently decommissioned Volve oil field at the North Sea. High resolution geophysical logs drilled through the reservoir formation of the studied field have been used to estimate the overburden, pore pressure, and fracture pressure. The well-known Eaton’s method and Matthews-Kelly’s tools were used for the estimation of pore pressure and fracture gradient, respectively. Estimated outputs were calibrated and validated with the available direct downhole measurements (formation pressure measurements, LOT/FIT). Further, shear failure gradient has been calculated using Mohr-Coulomb rock failure criterion to understand the wellbore stability issues in the studied field. Largely, the pore pressure in the reservoir formation is hydrostatic in nature, except the lower Cretaceous to upper Jurassic shales, which were found to be associated with mild overpressure regimes. This study is an attempt to assess the in-situ stress system of the Volve field if CO2 is injected for geological storage in near future.
Challenging conditions in a HP/HT well in the UK Central North Sea, led to the deployment of a contingent expandable liner. Under-reaming tools were needed to facilitate running of the contingent liner. Under-reaming operations are associated with a degree of uncertainty on the final hole diameter. A technology was deployed to monitor cutter position, wear and vibrations. With the aim of removing the above uncertainty. An open-hole calliper run was performed to validate the technology.
The monitoring system utilizes an arrangement of sensors to measure variables that are critical to under-reaming operations. The sensors are housed within the expandable cutting structure of the under-reamer and comprises of a cutter block position indicator and a PDC cutting structure wear sensor. The monitoring system can also record downhole dynamics at the under-reamer. The system can therefore determine, via memory data, the actual under-reamer extension size at any point during the run, therefore allowing the minimum hole diameter to be derived. Providing immediate feedback at the rig site once the tool is at surface.
The first run globally of the 12 ¼" × 14" size is presented, the monitoring system recorded 187 hrs of data. The cutter blocks position sensor showed the cutting structure was fully expanded as required whilst pumping at drilling flow rate once the tool was activated. The wear sensors were fully active and showed no wear for the duration of the systems battery life. A combination of the positional and wear sensors indicated full gauge hole to the recorded depth. Due to the type of contingent liner the delivery of gauge hole was critical. As such, the data was validated using a dedicated open-hole calliper run on wireline. The calliper confirmed the open-hole diameter calculated based on data provided by the wear and position sensors. Based on this result the requirement for an open-hole calliper run can be reconsidered. In addition, the acceleration recorded was well correlated with the MWD recorded vibration data and allowed parameter recommendations to be generated.
The ability to monitor the position and status of the under-reamer cutting structure eliminates uncertainty on the final hole size following under-reaming operations and identifies any problem areas and their probable causes prior to running casing/liner. In turn this has the potential to eliminate the need for wireline runs and therefore reduce the open-hole time in a potentially unstable formation.
This paper is based on the analysis of the ultrasonic/sonic data of the 9 5/8-in. casing logging of the 14 wells of the Varg field within the Norwegian Continental Shelf. While writing this papper Varg field was undergoing a plug and abandonment (P&A) phase after 19 years of production. High-quality bonding is observed behind the 9 5/8-in. casing far above expected theoretical top of cement within single casing areas. This bonding is attributed to the formation influence. Formation is used as an alternative to traditional cement barriers during P&A, and its use is regulated by the legislation.
The paper aims to develop better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for formation bonding development. The percentage of observed bonding at "high" and "high and moderate-to-high" quality is calculated within each well and is related to the various factors that could influence formation bonding development. Factors such as duration of time lapsed from well completion to well logging, type of well (producer versus injector), geological formation, type of drilling mud used, duration of production periods, volumes of production, and well deviation and azimuth were looked at to determine observable trends and relationships.
The results of the study allowed us to conclude which factors are critical or influence formation bonding. Based on the observations, recommendations can be made for the selection of the first well to be logged on the planned P&A campaigns. Correct selection of the first well saves time and resources on the formation testing for the qualification of the formation as a barrier.
Some of the first high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) development wells from Elgin and Franklin have been exposed to sustained casing pressures in their "A" annulus, threatening the integrity of the wells. The sustained pressure in the annulus was attributed to ingress through the production casing of fluids from the overburden chalk formations of the Late Cretaceous. The mechanism triggering the ingress into the "A" annulus was uncertain until access to the production casing was achieved. A recent campaign to abandon development wells of Elgin and Franklin that had sustained "A"-annulus pressure brings new evidence on the mechanism causing the ingress. Temperature surveys have been acquired in the production tubing to identify the fluid-entry points in the production casing. Multifinger calipers have been run in the production casing, revealing several shear-deformation features. These deformations are localized along various interfaces, and are attributed to the stress reorganization associated with the strong reservoir depletion. A detailed analysis of the surveys shows that fluid ingress is occurring at distorted casing connections, if located close to weak interfaces along which shear slip occurs. The shear deformation is suspected to cause a loss of the sealing capacity of the connection, leading to gas ingress into the "A" annulus. This conclusion emphasizes the need to consider any potential for localized shear deformations in designing casing for HP/HT wells.
A high level of reservoir depletion (greater than 8,000 psi) has resulted in significant changes to the drilling envelope that has added complexity to the drilling practices required to exploit the remaining reserves successfully. Managed-pressure-drilling (MPD) technology was implemented in conjunction with drill-in liner and wellbore-strengthening technologies to successfully deliver the first well in a redevelopment campaign and prove the techniques required to prolong field life. Shearwater is an HP/HT gas/condensate field discovered in 1988. Primary production is from the Fulmar, a sandstone reservoir with virgin pressure of 15,400 psi and temperatures greater than 360 F. The field came on stream in 2001. The large field-pressure depletion resulted in compaction at the Fulmar formation level and led to mechanical failure of the production liners because of shear deformation.
Produced water chemical compositional data are collected from a carbonate reservoir which had been flooded by North Seawater for more than 20 years, so there is an opportunity to analyse the large amount of produced water data collected, understand the brine/brine and brine/rock interactions and explore the impact factors behind them. In some publications, core flood experimental tests were performed with chalk cores or carbonate columns in order to make an understanding of possible chemical reactions occurring triggered by injected water with different composition (Seawater, low salinity water or any other brine). However, most of the time the laboratory conditions where core flooding experiments are implemented cannot fully simulate the real reservoir conditions. Therefore, in this study, with the help of the valuable produced water dataset and some basic reservoir properties, a one-dimensional reactive transport model is developed to identify what in situ reactions were taking place in the carbonate reservoir triggered by seawater injection.
From the perspective of reservoir mineralogy, calcite, as the dominant mineral in the carbonate reservoir, is relatively more chemically reactive than quartz and feldspar which are usually found in sandstone. Whether calcite is initially and dominantly present in the carbonate reservoir rock is dissolved under seawater flooding or not is the first key issue we focused on. The effects of calcite dissolution on the sulphate scaling reactions due to incompatible brine mixing and the potential occurrence of carbonate mineral precipitation induced by calcite dissolution are investigated and discussed in detail. The comparison of simulation results from the isothermal model and the non-isothermal model show the important role of temperature during geochemical processes. The partitioning of CO2 from the hydrocarbon phase into injected brine was considered through calculation of the composition of reacted seawater equilibrated with the CO2 gas phase with fixed partial pressure (equivalent with CO2 content), then subsequently the impact of CO2 interactions on the calcite, dolomite and huntite mineral reactions are studied and explained. We also use calculation results from the model to match the observed field data to demonstrate the possibility of ion exchange occurring in the chalk reservoir.
Carbon dioxide injection has recently been considered as a promising method for enhanced oil recovery. The supercritical carbon dioxide is often miscible or nearly miscible with the oil under reservoir conditions, which facilitates high recovery. Underground injection of carbon dioxide is also of a significant ecological advantage, and utilization of CO2 results in a noticeable reduction of the taxation of the petroleum companies. On the other hand, application of carbon dioxide under conditions of the North Sea petroleum reservoirs for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is hindered by multiple practical problems: availability of the CO2 sources, logistics of the delivery offshore, corrosion resistivity of the installations, and other. Previous studies of CO2 EOR for the reservoirs of the North Sea region, including core-flooding experiments and reservoir simulations, indicate that the deployment of CO2-EOR can significantly enhance the recovery of hydrocarbons. However, CO2 must be generated from anthropogenic sources, which affects the feasibility of the projects.
The current study evaluates the potential of a CO2-EOR project under the conditions of a specific petroleum reservoir of the Danish sector North Sea. Geological characteristics of the reservoir and the detailed oil properties lie in the ground of the study. The minimum miscibility pressures between CO2 and the reservoir oil are evaluated with the help of the in-house software (SPECS 5.70) and the commercial reservoir simulator (ECLIPSE 300). The results are verified in the slimtube simulations. The effect of the different oil characterizations and its lumping into the different numbers of components is investigated. The oil is found to be miscible with the carbon dioxide under reservoir conditions.
Several injection scenarios have been tested on the 2-D and 3-D reservoir models. Waterflooding was compared to injection of carbon dioxide, as well as water-alternate gas injection. An optimal scenario with regard to water-gas ratio under WAG was selected for further studies.
Finally, a cash flow model by Monte Carlo simulations and a sensitivity analysis on the impact of oil and CO2 price and discount rate, certify the feasibility and attractiveness of a CO2-EOR project in the West Flank of the Dan field.