The first intelligent well in the Greater Ekofisk Area entered production in early 2012, with the second coming online several months later. These are the first in a series of intelligent production and water injection wells to apply recognized technology in a new way. These wells represent a key to optimizing production.
Intelligent Well Systems (IWS) enable production engineers to optimize production by manipulating downhole valves from the surface, allowing hydrocarbon-producing zones to remain open while water-producing zones are closed. This improves oil production, reduces costs, decreases risk and allows engineers to adjust the wells to adapt to changes in the reservoir. This will have a significant impact on long, horizontal wells, as many produce from reservoir compartments with different reservoir pressures and fluids. The IWS valves can also be closed during field maintenance periods, preventing flow between formations, further ensuring well reliability.
“The use of intelligent wells will help us manage the reservoir better so we can produce from the best oil pockets,” said Per Pedersen, director, well planning in Norway’s Subsurface group. “This ensures a high production level and improved reservoir utilization.” IWS equipment can be used in water injection wells in the same fashion. “Controlling the water flood from the water injection wells will improve oil production, better control reservoir pressures and reduce water production,” Pedersen said.
At startup, the first well produced around 4,000 BOD, with the second well producing 4,500 BOD. The valves were installed between depths of 3,400 and 4,200 meters and were successfully opened and closed to verify the production rate from each zone.
“We can now operate these wells from the surface, both to achieve the desired oil production and isolate water production from each zone individually,” said Jon Arne Ellingsen, Completion Engineering supervisor. “There is also a great opportunity to better understand reservoir performance by the data received from downhole pressure and temperature measuring in each individual zone.”
Ekofisk has produced for more than 40 years and is expected to continue for decades to come. “Technologies such as IWS completions that increase oil recovery will add significant value to ConocoPhillips and other Greater Ekofisk owners given the extensive continued developments of these fields,” said Pedersen.
Wells in the Ekofisk area, characterized by low-permeability fractured chalk formations, require effective stimulations to achieve desired production rates. IWS technology enables selective stimulation of each zone separate from normal rig activities, saving valuable time and costs.
“We will continue to optimize IWS,” said Ellingsen. “Not only do we learn how the IWS equipment can be utilized in Ekofisk wells, but also the technology continues to provide opportunities for improved reservoir management, reservoir modelling and production optimization as we implement this completion strategy. We believe this is the future of well design and will use this equipment in many wells going forward to keep production levels high and manage reservoirs in the best possible manner.”