Role of Artificial Lift in Wells With a Downhole, Flow Control Completion

Gasbarri, Sandro (University of Central Venezuela) | Muradov, Khafiz (Heriot-Watt University) | Davies, David (Heriot-Watt University)

OnePetro 

Several hundred of Intelligent wells well that combine downhole flow control and monitoring have been installed over the last decade in a wide range of reservoir production scenarios. Numerous publications have reported the successful use of the technology to reduce the number of well interventions, improve sweep efficiency, reduce risk, mitigate production problems, etc. A number of zonal inflow and outflow control methodologies have been proposed to meet a wide range of different well objectives as well as different production or injection conditions. Research still continues in the areas of simple reactive or predefined passive control methods employed by Intelligent wells. This is even more true if it is planned to use proactive control which requires optimisation of a complex multivariable problem.

Efficient downhole flow control comes at the cost of adding an additional pressure loss. Such losses can be significant, jeopardizing the well productivity and sometimes carrying the risk of a reduced well performance of the intelligent well when compared to the corresponding conventional well. Installing artificial lift can compensate for this reduced well performance; not only extending the well life, but also adding additional well control flexibility. However, it also poses two extra problems: how to (a) optimally design the artificial lift equipment and (b) avoid interference between the I-well's control of the zonal inflow and control of the artificial lift.

This paper sets out how to(1) Add control flexibility to downhole flow control by artificial lift and (2) Design an electric submersible pump that operates flexibly with down hole, multi-zone inflow control actions.

Improved active and passive downhole flow control will be discussed in a rigorous, mathematical manner that allows the conclusion that the combination of artificial lift and downhole flow control provides greater zonal flow control flexibility and reduces the inflow imbalance. Also, two conceptual, electric submersible pump design options, employing (1) a variable wellhead choke and (2) a variable pump operating frequency, are proposed and illustrated. Both of these proposed pump design options could cope with the changing well inflow performance created by downhole flow control devices in situations where the standard pump design workflow was ineffective.

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