Heat Movie - A Low-Cost Alternative to 4D Seismic, A Field, Sultanate of Oman

Holyoak, Steve (Petroleum Development Oman) | Sawafi, Marwan (Petroleum Development Oman) | Belghache, Abdesslam (Petroleum Development Oman) | Aulaqi, Talal (Petroleum Development Oman)


Abstract Objectives/Scope

This paper will describe a methodology which has been developed as an alternative to four-dimensional (4D) Seismic. The main objective is to track heat conformance over time in the thermally developed "A" Field, Sultanate of Oman. The method has several significant advantages over 4D Seismic, including:

Negligible cost and manpower requirements;

Provision of close to real-time information and no processing time requirements;

No Health, Safety or Environmental exposure, or disruption to ongoing operations.

The paper will also demonstrate the power of integrating wide-ranging data sources for effective well and reservoir management.

Methods, Procedures, Process

The increasingly close well spacing at "A" Field has made Seismic Acquisition progressively more challenging. Conversely, it has created an opportunity to utilize dynamic Tubing-Head Temperatures (THTs) for tracking areal thermal conformance over time. For each month in turn an automated workflow:-

Grids the monthly THT averages;

Integrates the production and injection data, represented as bubble plot overlays;

Adds the top reservoir structure from the subsurface model, highlighting structural dip, and fault locations.

Morphing (movie) software then interpolates the monthly images to create a smoothly transitioning "Heat Movie".

Results, Observations, Conclusions

The Heat Movie demonstrates the general effectiveness of the Development in terms of warming the reservoir over time. This in turn is reducing the oil viscosity and increasing production. However, it also highlights temperature anomalies that can be linked to geological features such as faults and high permeability layers. Identification of these anomalies may underpin decisions to optimise the thermal development.

In addition to the Movie, time-lapse images can be created for any chosen period. This is similar to 4D Seismic, but more powerful, since the period can be directly linked to significant field milestones, for example equal time periods before and after upgrading the steam generation process.

Proof of Concept was demonstrated in early 2018, and the technique has already been deemed sufficiently mature to utilize it for tracking and managing Thermal Conformance in place of 4D Seismic. This is resulting in annual cost savings of millions of dollars and man-years of staff time.

Novel/Additive Information

One potential advantage of 4D Seismic is highlighting vertical conformance. Although this is not possible using THTs alone, at "A" Field the plan is to mitigate this by integrating data from ongoing Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) and well temperature surveys.

Regarding applicability, the workflow can be adapted for other objectives, for example creating a movie of surface uplift and/or subsidence integrated with bubble plots of production and injection data, or water breakthrough for wells with downhole gauges, in water flood developments.

In addition to describing the methodology underpinning this innovative approach, this paper will also discuss the vision for further improving the workflow and expanding the functionality.