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.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Bowleven has started drilling operations at the Moambe exploration well on the Bomono permit in Cameroon. Moambe is the second well in a two-well program, approximately 2 km east of the first well, Zingana. It targets a previously undrilled Paleocene Tertiary three-way dip fault block containing multiple sands and will be drilled to an estimated 1620 m in measured depth. Both wells will be logged. Bowleven is the operator and holds 100% interest. Asia Pacific Murphy Oil discovered gas at its Permai exploration well in deepwater Block H in the South China Sea offshore Malaysia. The find is Murphy's eighth consecutive success in the area around the Rotan floating liquefied natural gas project, which is planned to begin its first production in 2018.
At the present time, more than 9,000 offshore platforms are in service worldwide, operating in water depths ranging from 10 ft to greater than 5,000 ft. Topside payloads range from 5 to 50,000 tons, producing oil, gas, or both. A vast array of production systems is available today (see Figure 1). The concepts range from fixed platforms to subsea compliant and floating systems. In 1859, Col. Edwin Drake drilled and completed the first known oil well near a small town in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
This field produces from a structure that lies above a deep-seated salt dome (salt has been penetrated at 9,000 ft) and has moderate fault density. A large north/south trending fault divides the field into east and west areas. There is hydraulic communication across the fault. Sands were deposited in aeolian, fluvial, and deltaic environments made up primarily of a meandering, distributary flood plain. Reservoirs are moderate to well sorted; grains are fine to very fine with some interbedded shales. There are 21 mapped producing zones separated by shales within the field but in pressure communication outside the productive limits of the field. The original oil column was 400 ft thick and had an associated gas cap one-third the size of the original oil column. Porosity averages 30%, and permeability varies from 10 to 1500 md.
In recent years, deformation of the reservoir host rocks has become a subject of great interest, prompted in part by the dramatic subsidence observed at Ekofisk platforms in the North Sea. One method of monitoring deformation is by passive seismic monitoring. It is called "passive" because the geopysicist does not activate a seismic source, but rather uses existing geophones to monitor ongoing changes in the rocks due to downhole conditions. Deformation is an important aspect of reservoir production, even without a significant compaction drive in many cases. Previous studies have been published in the scientific and earthquake literature relating earthquakes to oil/gas production and to injection practices.
Any reservoir simulator consists of n m equations for each of N active gridblocks comprising the reservoir. These equations represent conservation of mass of each of n components in each gridblock over a timestep Δt from tn to tn 1. The first n (primary) equations simply express conservation of mass for each of n components such as oil, gas, methane, CO2, and water, denoted by subscript I 1,2,…, n. In the thermal case, one of the "components" is energy and its equation expresses conservation of energy. An additional m (secondary or constraint) equations express constraints such as equal fugacities of each component in all phases where it is present, and the volume balance Sw So Sg Ssolid 1.0, where S solid represents any immobile phase such as precipitated solid salt or coke. There must be n m variables (unknowns) corresponding to these n m equations. There are m 2n 1 constraint equations consisting of the volume balance and the 2n equations expressing equal fugacities of each ...
In the early days of the oil industry, saline water or brine frequently was produced from a well along with oil, and as the oil-production rate declined, the water-production rate often would increase. This water typically was disposed of by dumping it into nearby streams or rivers. In the 1920s, the practice began of reinjecting the produced water into porous and permeable subsurface formations, including the reservoir interval from which the oil and water originally had come. By the 1930s, reinjection of produced water had become a common oilfield practice. Reinjection of water was first done systematically in the Bradford oil field of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. There, the initial "circle-flood" approach was replaced by a "line flood," in which two rows of producing wells were staggered on both sides of an equally spaced row of water-injection wells. In the 1920s, besides the line flood, a "five-spot" well layout was used (so named because its pattern is like that of the five spots on ...
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).