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A Digital Twin is a software representation of a facility which can be used to understand, predict, and optimize performance to help to achieve top performance and recover future operational losses. The Digital twin consists of three components: a process model, a set of control algorithms, and knowledge.
Usually the time for commissioning a project exceeds the initial estimations, therefore delays in project completion are quite common. This is often because ICSS testing is done on a static system which does not account for how the system will react dynamically to certain scenarios such as start-ups and shutdowns. Issues such as configuration errors, loop behaviors, start-up over-rides, dead-lock inter-trips and sequence logic are difficult to predict and are impossible to anticipate during static testing. Such delays lead to higher costs and therefore reduced revenue.
This paper aims to describe the most innovative approach to Project & Operational Certainty, which addresses these issues by using a Digital Twin for commissioning support and training. One successful use of this approach was in the Culzean project, an ultra-high-pressure high temperature (UHP/HT) gas condensate development in the UK sector of the Central North Sea. A high-fidelity process model was built and fitted to the actual plant performance based on equipment data sheets. This was connected to ICSS database and graphics, offering a realistic environment, very close to the one offshore, which had the same look and feel for the operators.
Dynamic tests conducted on the Digital Twin predicted issues on the real system, which enabled potential solutions to be tested, leading to a significant decrease in the time spent and cost during commissioning. All the operating procedures were dynamically tested, which enabled us to correct errors, saving time before First Gas. Additionally, all CRO (Control Room Operators) and field technicians were trained and made familiar with the system months in advance, aiming to avoid future unnecessary trips during First Gas.
Finally, all the control loops were fine tuned in the Digital Twin and parameters were passed to off shore, to be used as first starting point. It is expected that these parameters will be very close to fine operational points, as the model used is high fidelity model and very close to real system offshore.
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.
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.
This paper discusses installation of the longest high-performance (HP) and rotating 11-3/4" expandable liner on the Elgin field in the Central-North Sea sector of the UK that enabled isolating weak layers in the overburden formations on EIE well, providing sufficient mud weight window to permit drilling high pressure and gas bearing zones. The planning and execution of this record presented challenges beyond those encountered in standard well conditions due to narrow mud weight window (NMWW) and critical requirement of zonal isolation.
EIE well was the third of the 2015-2017 infill campaign on Elgin field. The well faced major challenges in the 12-1/2" section due to the NMWW which triggered the deployment of the contingent well architecture with HP 11-3/4" expandable liner. This critical requirement of zonal isolation significantly impacted the preparation and risk assessment of expandable liner operations. A new expansion assembly design was implemented to allow rotation of the 11-3/4" size system to improve the cement job quality. Moreover, all contingency procedures were significantly modified to ensure that the objective of the specific well constraints were considered.
After under-reaming while drilling 12-1/4" × 14" section down to planned depth, 860m of 11-3/4" liner was run with no open hole problems. This liner was successfully rotated at bottom prior to pumping cement and fully expanded without incident. The system was successfully pressure tested prior to drill-out of the plugs and the shoe assembly was drilled with no issues.
Running of an 860m HP 11-3/4" expandable liner and rotating shoe assembly on EIE well is a record (longest HP string run before was 360m) and considered as a remarkable achievement. However, liner objectives were not fully met and cement squeeze below the shoe had to be performed. Post-job investigation highlighted issues related to dart selection and related cement over-displacement, limited contingences in case of expansion pressure loss, and the ability to pull the liner to surface in a NMWW. These issues remain to be solved for optimisation of future deployments.
This paper provides information on the design and operational aspects that should be considered for expandable liner operations on complex wells with NMWW. Understanding advantages and limitations of the system will open up opportunities to improve the technology and help to reduce operational risk.
The Northern Underwater Gas Gathering, Export, and Treatment System (NUGGETS) subsea development in the northern North Sea consists of five gas wells and a 40- to 70-km tieback to the Alwyn platform, with first gas in 2001 and peak gas production of 6 million std m3/d in 2004. Project life was expected to be 10 years, with the main constraints being methanol (MeOH) requirements for hydrate management and sealine minimum turndown. Because of increasing water production, the wells were shut in one after another, and the field was scheduled to be decommissioned in 2010. At that time, minimum recommended MeOH concentration was approximately 28% (wt/wt; MeOH/water), which allowed for a maximum water production of 40 std m3/d. Because of a concerted effort to keep gas rates at targets that respected all constraints and to reduce MeOH use to zero, an additional 4.0 million BOE has been produced from NUGGETS. This represents an incremental recovery of about 3.0%. In addition, the field life has been extended, with the possibility of further prospects being tied into the existing facilities. With MeOH constraints removed, the new issues became subsea-system-life longevity and reservoir management. Current field-operations philosophy is optimized to respect the minimum gas rate per well with or without water production. It is also aimed to manage water coning in the reservoir. The reservoir has very high permeability with kv/kh ≈ 1 and strong aquifer influx. Moreover, numerical and analytical methods were used to investigate the coning. This paper provides a critical assessment of the methods used from the flow-assurance, well-performance, and reservoir-management point of view. It concludes with a set of observations and recommendations for operators of dry-gas fields with strong aquifers and long subsea tiebacks.