First Implementation of Real-Time Subsurface Monitoring for Cuttings Reinjection Offshore Abu Dhabi

Gumarov, Salamat (Schlumberger) | Benelkadi, Said (Schlumberger) | Bianco, Eduardo (Schlumberger) | Woolf, Shaun (Schlumberger) | Hardy, Chris (Schlumberger) | Ido, Hisataka (ADOC Japan) | Tanaka, Manabu (ADOC Japan) | Tominaga, Naohiro (ADOC Japan) | Yahata, Kazuhiro (ADOC Japan) | Okuzawa, Taker (ADOC Japan)



Management of drilling wastes presents major challenges during drilling operations in environmentally protected areas. An Abu Dhabi offshore field development project selected cuttings reinjection (CRI) services as an appropriate solution for waste management.

Although CRI is a proven technology in the region, fracturing injection always inherits its own containment-related risks. To prevent all possible failures that were experienced earlier in the industry globally, a novel real-time monitoring and analysis of fracturing injections data was introduced.

A comprehensive front-end engineering design (FEED) study was performed to evaluate the feasibility of CRI techniques by selecting a suitable injection formation and designing a CRI-dedicated well, surface facilities, slurry testing, and appropriate operations execution plan.

The CRI well was drilled and completed to accommodate waste volumes. An assurance program based on industry best practices was used to support zero solids settling, fracture, or perforation plugging.

To achieve on-time intervention, the first real-time CRI data transfer through a satellite-based network to a support center staffed by global experts in Abu Dhabi was deployed to analyze fracture injection and shut-in pressure responses for early identification of possible risks and to map the fracture waste domain.

The project has been operated successfully since its inception with more than 300,000 bbl of drilled cuttings and drilling waste fluids injected since July 2016. No injectivity issues were experienced during drilling waste fluids injection. Several on-time interventions had been made to prevent well plugging and to maintain surface injection pressures within normal ranges.

Real-time data streaming has made a step-change improvement in the data delivery process, monitoring, and fracture pressure analysis. It creates a direct link between the wellsite and worldwide multidisciplinary technical expertise centralized in Abu Dhabi and provides visualization capability at any time and to any where to all personnel involved in the project.

This step change in monitoring CRI operations provides an acquisition-to-answer" integrated solution, mitigates the injection risks, and enhances the intrinsic value of CRI services.

The paper shares the experience of implementing the novel real-time CRI subsurface injection assurance program dedicated for cuttings reinjection operations. Real-time support from multidisciplinary experts provides live injection monitoring and fracture waste domain mapping for highly complex and risk-prone subsurface injection environments with stringent regulations