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Completion Productivity Sizing the Tubing

It is important to remember that the primary function of the tubing is to provide a conduit for transportation of hydrocarbons or injection water. Undersizing the tubing is the most common and costly mistake made by many completion designers. Undersized tubing will limit the amount of production or injection that can be achieved, or result in inefficient or unnecessary artificial lift. On the other hand, oversizing the tubing can also cause liquid hold-up problems and unnecessarily increase well and equipment costs. The production of hydrocarbons from the reservoir, through the tubing, gathering lines, and facilities, to the sales point makes up an integrated system. The performance of each element in this system is a function of both its own design and the performance of other elements. Computer simulation techniques, when properly applied, are enormously valuable tools for analyzing production problems. However, the application of simple analytical techniques often provides a better understanding of the situation and may quickly identify the major problem areas. This may be all that is required, saving both time and cost. If further analysis is needed, however, a data base and focus have been developed which often reduce the cost and improve the value of the simulation work. Pressure maintenance operations are particularly interesting from a systems viewpoint, especially offshore and in single ownership pools, since the operation is essentially a closed loop ( Figure 1 and Figure 2 , Production system pressure distribution, including injection).

Figure 1

Thus the injection pump rating is often directly related to the separator pressure, especially prior to installation of artificial lift.

Figure 2

This becomes particularly important in offshore developments where facility and well cost optimization can heavily influence the overall economics. Obviously, there are external parameters that limit flexibility (such as the initial reservoir pressure, formation breakdown pressure, bubble-point pressure, reservoir injectivity and productivity, and the oil properties). However, there is a definite value in making a cost-benefit analysis on the effects of various completion practices on operating conditions, development costs, reservoir performance, and oil yields. Most production systems, however, have an open-ended dependency on reservoir performance. We must therefore consider this as the first step in any completion or artificial lift system design.

Inflow Performance Relationships

Since all producers must flow hydrocarbons through the reservoir at least to the bottom of the well if not to surface, we define the bottomhole pressure under producing conditions as the flowing bottomhole pressure (pwf). For a pumping well this is the pump intake pressure. The difference between the flowing bottomhole pressure and the average reservoir pressure is termed the drawdown and determines the production rate. The relationship between rate and drawdown will vary depending on the flowing conditions and the type of fluid. Productivity Index (PI) In calculating oil well productivity, it is commonly assumed that production is directly proportional to drawdown. The constant of proportionality is termed the productivity index, and is commonly denoted as PI or J.

From Darcy's semisteady state flow equation, the PI for a well producing 100% oil is

or, in oilfield units:

where ko = effective permeability to oil (kro h = reservoir thickness o= oil viscosity Bo = oil formation volume factor


re = effective drainage radius rw = effective wellbore radius s = skin factor

These terms typically have the following orders of magnitude: ko = f (Sw, Sg) (0.7 to 0.3) (k) o = (API, GOR) 0.5 to 5.0 cp Bo = f (API, GOR) 1.0 to 2.0 [ln re/rw - 0.75 + S] 10 Since PI relates to the total fluid produced, the magnitude of the PI can change as the water cut changes. This can be important for sizing artificial lift and treating facilities to handle expected fluid production after water breakthrough on a flood operation. We should note from the above equations that the skin (S) is a parameter we can alter by our completion practices. (We can also increase rw by drilling larger diameter holes or increase the effective rw by fracturing the well.) Example 1 illustrates the effect of damage and stimulation. Effect of Skin on PI Example of a PI calculation showing effects of (a) wellbore damage (skin = +5) (b) fracture stimulation (skin = -5) (c) a good normal completion (skin = 0) re = well drilled on 160 acre (64 ha) spacing, 1320 ft (402 m) radius o = oil viscosity, 1.5 cp (mPa.S) k = permeability of rock, 500 md

kro = relative permeability at Sw = Swc, 0.8 h = thickness of pay, 50 ft (15 in) rw = wellbore radius, 0.4 ft (0.12 m) S = variable

= average reservoir pressure, 2900 psi (20,000 kPa) Bo = oil formation volume factor, 1.3 v/v Using Equation 2

(a) S = +5 J = 5.88 b/d/psi (b) S = -5 J = 30.89 b/d/psi (c) S = 0 J = 9.88 b/d/psi or in the SI system

(a) S = +5, J = 0.1334 m3/d/kPa = 13.34 m3/d/B (b) S = -5, J = 0.697 m3/d/kPa = 69.67 m3/d/B (c) S = 0, J = 0.2238 m3/d/kPa = 22.38 m3/d/B Effect of damage = (c-a) /c = 40% loss in PI Reward for stimulation = (c-a) /c = 68% increase in PI Although in theory the negative skin demonstrates the effects of a fracture stimulation, in practice it is not possible to achieve an adequate permeability contrast between the fracture and formation in high permeability zones (>75 md) for this to be achieved. Oilwell Inflow Performance Relationship (IPR) The straight line PI relationship should not be expected to hold when two-phase gas and liquid flow exists in the reservoir. Gilbert (1954) recognized the PI variation with drawdown and proposed the use of a bottomhole pressure versus producing rate plot for well analysis. He termed this curve the inflow performance relationship,

or IPR, of a well ( Figure 1 ).

Figure 1

Several techniques have been proposed for determining the IPR for a well below the bubble-point of the oil, where multiphase flow exists. Vogel (1966), using a computer model of a solution gas drive reservoir, developed a generalized IPR reference curve. Using this general curve, a specific IPR curve can be constructed for a well knowing only the static pressure and a flowing bottomhole pressure at one producing rate. For those who prefer to do all their work on a calculator, at or below the bubble point, Vogel found that the IPR curve can be approximated by the expression

where qmax

= maximum producing rate at P = 0


With a curved IPR it is obviously more difficult to predict the effects of damage and/or the improvements to be expected from stimulation. However, Standing (1970) published a modification to the Vogel curve accounting for changes in flow efficiency. Fetkovich (1973) showed--both theoretically and from numerous oil well tests--that oil well backpressure curves follow an IPR equation of a form commonly used for gas wells:

The exponent n and intercept J' are usually determined from a multipoint or isochronal backpressure test, where is plotted against q on log-log paper.

Gas Well Inflow Performance Relationship The most common method of estimating gas well IPRs is the "backpressure" method of Rawlins and Schellhardt (1936) where

The well is flowed for a fixed period at different rates. Using the bottomhole flowing pressure at equal flow times, a plot of

log versus log qg is prepared. The slope gives a value for 1/n ( Figure 2 , Plot for a conventional well test example ) and using this, C can be calculated. The exponent n varies from 1.0 for laminar flow to 0.5 for fully turbulent conditions.

Figure 2

It is important to remember that this IPR relationship is empirical and that C is a function of flow time; its value under semisteady state conditions must either be calculated or determined from an extended flow period. At low rates, where n 1.0, we may calculate C

or, in the SI system:

The absolute open flow potential (AOF) is defined as the rate corresponding to Pwf = 0. It will be a function of flow time. Production engineers need to be aware of this and clarify the meaning of quoted AOF values. Also remember that a value for AOF calculated using flowing tubing pressures rather than flowing bottomhole pressures is distorted by tubing performance. Another method of determining the IPR for a gas well is to plot

versus q from the generalized semisteady state flow equation

The slope will give a value for F, the non-Darcy or turbulence-dependent coefficient, and the intercept will give a value for B, the Darcy coefficient. Dake (1978) provides formulas for estimating B and F from core data or build-up analyses. More correctly, B and F should be calculated from pseudopressures (m(p)) to be independent of variations in gas viscosity and deviation factor, at which point they can be used to predict future performance accurately. Theoretically, this method is still not absolutely correct, but in the majority of cases it is a perfectly adequate description of the inflow performance. Stimulation of gas wells will affect not only their skin factor (S) and therefore their Darcy coefficient (C or B) but also the non-Darcy coefficient (n or F). From a completion engineering viewpoint, the following concepts are fundamental to proper well design: the inflow performance of a well is largely determined by reservoir parameters the skin factor, and the turbulence coefficient in high rate wells, especially gas wells, are the only parameters we can normally affect by completion efficiency and stimulation test results alone may not adequately describe the long-term inflow performance of a producer unless corrected for - semisteady state conditions - curving of the IPR in oil wells below the bubble-point and in gas wells - expected skin (this is a function of perforation length, perforation efficiency, stimulation, damage, etc.)

Tubing Performance
Most wells produce under conditions of two- or three-phase flow in the tubing and flow line. Multiphase flow analysis is complex, and the pressure loss from the bottom of the tubing to the top is a function of the fluid head, the friction, slippage between phases, and the flow regime. These flow parameters, in turn, are affected by the producing conditions:

pipe diameter (d) flow rate (q) gas liquid ratio (GLR) water cut (WC) fluid density () fluid viscosity () pressure (p) temperature (T) While some effects are readily apparent (e.g., pressure losses increase with increasing water cut) , others are less obvious (e.g., increasing the GLR initially reduces the pressure loss, but eventually the trend reverses because of friction at high velocities). Because of this complexity, empirical and semiempirical analysis techniques have been used to develop relationships among the producing conditions listed. There are a number of correlations available as computer programs or as published gradient curves. For preliminary work, any of these correlations are satisfactory. However, since they give somewhat different results ( Figure 1 , Comparison of gradient curves), for more detailed work the engineer should establish a match with field test data and choose the most appropriate correlation.

Figure 1

Usage of the gradient curves is illustrated in Figure 2 (Vertical flowing pressure gradient curve).

Figure 2

The important thing to remember is to enter the curve at a point defined by the rate, GLP and flowing tubing pressure, or BHP (THP equivalent to 1000 ft in Figure 3 , Effect of tubing size on productivity of gasliftedoilwell), and then move along the appropriate GLR line by an increment equivalent to the depth (i.e., from 1000 to 8000 ft for a 7000-ft deep well).

Figure 3

Do not just read the BHP conditions at a given depth this merely corresponds to a value of 0 THP. The other important considerations are that you use the correct water cut and adjust the GOR to a GLR: GLR = (1 - WC) GOR For deviated wells, it may be necessary to use a computer or to interpolate between true vertical depth and measured depth by deducting the additional head effects using an average effective density. Presentation of the tubing performance (vertical lift performance) data depends on the problem being addressed. For well design, the most useful presentation of tubing performance is to plot flowing bottomhole pressure (p wf) versus rate (q) for various tubing sizes and gas liquid ratios. For any tubing size there is a minimum flow rate that is required for continuous removal of the liquids from the well. This is the rollover point in the tubing performance curves, which is not easily identified without a computer simulation, although the rule of thumb is a velocity of about 5 ft/s (1.6 m/s). Below this rate the well will be unstable. This phenomenon is referred to as liquid holdup, and is due to slippage of the gas phase through the liquid. The larger the tubing diameter, the higher will be the liquid holdup rate.

Matching Completion and Reservoir Performance

Having developed inflow (IPR) and tubing performance curves for a given system, the final step in determining maximum system productivity is to combine them and identify the intersection points. This is probably one of the most important production engineering design functions; not only does the tubing size define the system flow rate, but it dictates the sizing of all other downhole equipment. While this requirement is obvious for flowing wells, gas-lift operations, and injection wells, it is often forgotten when other artificial lift systems are used. Obviously, tubing size is constrained by the size of the production casing. Therefore, this type of analysis must be part of the planning for the well's development drilling phase. It is also important to consider that the production system curve will most likely change over time, and that we will need to optimize the tubing size over the life of the well.

To construct a system curve, one typically assumes a well-head or separator pressure and four or five rates that adequately span the expected productivity as estimated from the IPR curve. The production target rate and the expected water cut and GLR behavior will also be constraining factors that must be evaluated. Figure 1 (Effect of tubing size on productivity of gas-lifted oilwell) illustrates a field where the operator was investigating apparent poor performance of the gas-lift system.

Figure 1

With a minor amount of effort, it became apparent that the major problem was undersized tubing. Moreover, poor completion practices had resulted in severe skin damage. After stimulation and installation of 3 1/2 in (73 mm) tubing this well could triple its rate. Figure 2 (Effect of tubing size on gaswell productivity) presents an overlay of the individual inflow performance curves and a selection of tubing performance curves for 15 wells in a high-deliverability, relatively low-pressure reservoir.

Figure 2

The operator wanted to be able to maximize short-term production rate from the reservoir, while deferring the installation of a compressor for as long as possible. Since 9 5/8 in. and 10 3/4 in. production casing had been installed, very large tubing sizes could be considered. Note how the performance of the best wells (4, 14, 10) is quite sensitive to tubing size (e.g., 7 5/8-in. tubing produces 33% more than 5-in. tubing in well 10), while on the worst well (13) the 5-in. tubing would actually produce slightly more than the 7 5/8-in. tubing because of reduced liquid holdup. Figure 3 illustrates the effect of tubing size on a gas injector.

Figure 3

Here, the IPR curve is reversed, with increasing injection rates corresponding to increasing bottomhole pressures. The tubing performance curves display the bottomhole pressure and rate that correspond to various tubing diameters and a constant 5000 psi injection pressure at the surface. A curve is also plotted for 5 1/2-in. tubing and a 6000 psi injection pressure. The increase in injection pressure appears to have a much greater effect than increasing tubing size. In each of these displays, it is important to remember that the system definition determines the intersection of the reservoir and tubing performance curves and thus the rate and flowing bottomhole pressure. In order to change those values we must change the system.

Artificial Lift Requirements

Most artificial lift textbooks and manuals emphasize the importance of knowing and designing for what the well can produce. This is just as important for rod pumping a stripper well as for the design of a high-volume gas-lift system. In fact, in many rod pumping installations more work is done in moving the sucker rods than in moving the oil. This is not a problem, providing the well is achieving its target efficiency. However, in many cases, the amount of fluid produced is curtailed by inadequately sized pump, tubing, rods, or surface unit. It is also important to remember that an artificial lift system is only a method of adding energy to the system; thereafter the produced fluids still have to "flow" out of the well to the separator, and are therefore subject to the same pressure losses as a flowing well. Evaluation of these losses is particularly important for high-rate lift systems. In fact, Kermit Brown (1982) has suggested that to compare different lift methods, quasi-tubing performance curves should be generated for each lift system ( Figure 1 , Tubing intake curves for artificial lift systems).

Figure 1

(Note that ESP and beam pump installations can be designed for the same Dp and therefore the same production rate). Figure 1 also illustrates another important consideration in designing a well that is, that artificial lift can often be usefully applied to wells capable of flow to enhance their offtake rate and accelerate income. The type of artificial lift system selected will affect the tubing and casing size required in a completion, and vice versa. When an artificial lift technique is employed, the added operating costs may preclude attaining the maximum production rate. Some maximum economic rate must be achieved.

Targets and Allowables

Another set of limitations that the completion designer must be aware of are those imposed on the production rate by regulatory authorities, reservoir control requirements, facility limitations (e.g., water or gas disposal capacity) , and market constraints (e.g., gas contracts). There is obviously no point in spending a lot of money to provide a capacity that cannot be processed or sold. This argument must, however, be used with care, since it has been used in the past as an excuse for adopting practices that resulted in wells being permanently damaged and unable to recover their reserves economically. It is also important to consider the changes in production conditions likely to occur before the next major workover (i.e., over five to ten years). For example, will there be pressure depletion or water breakthrough? How will this affect the well's capability to meet its target?

Formation Damage Considerations

Formation damage is the term used when we physically cause an additional pressure drop (i.e., a true skin) in the wellbore area ( Figure 1 , Effect of damage on pressure transients around a producing well).

Figure 1

The following are some causes of formation damage: invasion of drilling mud solids into the formation (especially into fractures); drilling mud filtrate invasion into the formation; cement losses into fractures; cement filtrate invasion into the formation; plugged perforations (often due to overbalanced perforating); inadequate perforations (size, number or penetration); partial penetration of the producing zone (i.e., not opening the total pay); crushing and compaction of formation matrix surrounding a perforation; invasion of solids in completion or workover fluids into the formation or perforations; invasion of completion or workover fluids into the formation; plugging of the formation from the swelling of water-sensitive native clays; asphaltene or paraffin precipitation in the formation or perforations; scale precipitation in the formation or perforations;

creation of an emulsion in the formation; injection of acids or solvents that contain solids or precipitate solids; sand fill in the wellbore; injection of an oil-wetting surfactant into the formation; excessive drawdown that causes movement of formation fines, compaction of a weak formation, or instigates water production. From the work of Abrams (1975), Darley (1965) , Tuttle and Bark-man (1974), and Nowak and Kruegar (1951), et al., it can be concluded that solids entrained in the drilling or completion fluids are the main cause of impairment. If = mean pore size (microns) of the formation, then the effects of invading materials and the treatment for their removal can be characterized as follows:

Diameter of Invading Solid >33% <33% and >10%

Effect Bridging (e.g., drilling mud filter cake) Shallow invasion (e.g., skin caused by solids in completion fluid)

Treatment Backflow Acidize or Reperforate

Probably not harmful <10% Two rules of thumb for estimating pore size of sandstones: 25% of mean grain size

Carbonate rocks do not generally develop consistent pore-size relationships, but fortunately pores are generally quite small (10-20 microns). Roughly speaking, we may say that unfiltered water (with 2 micron particles) will damage moderately permeable sandstone formations, (k = 30 to 400 md). Mud filtrate (with 3 micron particles) will damage good permeability formations, (k = 80 to 900 md). Mud solids (with 9 micron particles) will damage very good formations (k > 725 md). Remember, it is easier to damage good reservoirs; therefore, filtering of well servicing fluids is essential during completions and workovers. Injection water must be well filtered. Drilling fluids must be designed for bridging on the formation face to prevent solids invasion.

Drilling Damage
With modern drilling muds and perforating techniques, drilling damage is not as serious a concern as it once was in most perforated well completions, because the perforation tunnel will extend beyond the damaged zone. However, deep mud damage can be a serious problem and is particularly common: in high permeability reservoirs, especially in vugular or fractured carbonates, where the fluid invades the flow channels. Since plugging is very difficult to remove, it is often necessary to do a clean-up acidization or mini-fracturing treatment. In sandstone, seepage losses can be prevented by properly sizing the mud solids to form a filter cake;

in low porosity and low permeability reservoirs, where an equal volume of filtrate has to occupy a greater radius. This damage can be minimized with a low permeability mud cake and nondamaging filtrate. Although it is usually necessary to fracture these reservoirs in any event, the probability of damage should be recognized in the prefracture condition and taken into account in estimating potential fracture results; in regions of slow drilling where mud filtrate losses are of necessity much greater; in lost circulation zones. In sandstone, severe lost circulation is usually the result of inadvertently fracturing the formation. Since fracture pressures are a function of pore pressure, this is a particularly severe problem in partially pressure depleted reservoirs. Obviously, in openhole, uncemented liner, or gravel-packed completions, drilling damage is a major concern. Four approaches are common for minimizing drilling damage, and are often used in combination with one another: 1. Drilling with clean, filtered, clear fluids. 2. Drilling with nondamaging fluids weighted with acid-soluble, lost circulation materials and weighting materials (e.g., graded limestone). 3. Drilling underbalanced under pressure. 4. Post-drilling stimulation. In addition to mud and mud filtrate invasion, the other major cause of drilling damage is the effect of incompatible filtrates on water-sensitive clays, particularly when drilling with fresh water-base muds. This is a major concern when the formation contains significant amounts of kaolinite, illite, chlorite, smectite, or montmorillonite clays. Permeability reduction occurs as a result of dispersion or swelling of the clays. Extensive research has been done on the subject of clay chemistry, but suffice it to say that once such damage occurs, it is very difficult to remove. Therefore, it is essential to take preventative action when selecting fluids that will contact a pay zone containing water-sensitive clays. Low concentrations of potassium or calcium chloride (2%) in completion fluids are very effective and better than higher concentrations of sodium chloride.

Perforation Damage
Although the perforation process itself always causes some degree of damage due to the crushing of the surrounding rock by the high pressure jet, the major causes of perforation damage are: overbalanced perforating; solids plugging; inadequate cleanup; inadequate shot density (<4 shots per ft); partial completion. Figure 2

Figure 2

and Figure 3 (Perforation mechanics showing cleanup of plugged perforations after overbalanced perforation or after a well kill with mud)

Figure 3

and Figure 4

Figure 4

and Figure 5 (Perforation cleanup mechanics showing cleanup after underbalanced perforating)

Figure 5

review the mechanics of perforation cleanup and demonstrate both the inherent superiority of underbalanced perforating and the problems involved with trying to clean up plugged perforations. Once one or two perforations begin to flow, the drawdown on the others is reduced to ps.

Figure 6 ,

Figure 6

Figure 7 (Effect of perforation density and penetration on productivity) illustrate the importance of having the perforations penetrate the drilling damage and having adequate shot density (4-12 shots per ft).

Figure 7

In general, within practical limits, an increase in shot density alone cannot overcome the combined effects of drilling damage and perforating damage. Deeply penetrating perforations are necessary if the productivity is to approach that of an undamaged, openhole completion. Partial penetration of the pay zone (i.e., not perforating all the net pay) results in an additional pressure drop near the wellbore, often referred to as a geometric skin. This effect is often overlooked by production engineers, who attempt to acidize away the "apparent damage." Analytical techniques are available for estimating this effect and are discussed in reservoir engineering texts such as that of Dake (1978).

Fluids Damage
In addition to the damage caused by entrained solids and the effects of fluids on clay chemistry, injected fluids can cause damage by incompatibility with the formation fluids. These incompatibilities manifest themselves in: precipitates (scale, salt crystallization, etc.); sludges or emulsions (especially from acid); insoluble residues (from gelling agents); relative permeability effects (water blockage, wettability reversal, etc.). Because of these considerations it is important to test properly all fluids that are to be displaced into the formation. API RP 42 presents a procedure for testing the surface active agents used in well stimulation. It is important to remember that these tests should be run on the entire treatment that is to be used because some additives will have an affect on others. If acid is to be used, both the live and spent acid should be tested.

Sand Fill
Sometimes poor productivity may result from fill covering the perforations or pay interval. It is therefore advisable to make at least an annual check for sand fill, when some other well operation is being undertaken (e.g.

, wireline runs, pump changes, workovers) . This is critical after a fracturing job or gravel pack, or in marginal sand producers. Normally a wireline drift run to check the holdup depth is the cheapest and easiest technique. In anticipation of this need, the completion designer should provide easy wire-line access to the bottom of the tubing, consider the hydraulics and mechanics of possible clean out operations (coiled tubing circulation), and leave an adequate sump below the bottom perforation.

Selection of Drilling Fluids

There are five key considerations for designing a drilling fluid that will not inhibit well productivity at the time of initial completion: 1. Minimizing the overbalance. 2. Monitoring the system hydraulics to avoid washouts. 3. Ensuring an effective filter cake. 4. Treating the filtrate to avoid clay problems. 5. Effectively removing fine particles from the mud. Since damage is often a function of the overbalance between the wellbore and the reservoir, the density of the drilling fluid should usually be adjusted to maintain only 200 to 500 psi (1 to 3.5 MPa) overbalance. Underbalance drilling (e.g., with air, gas, clear fluids) may be used in low permeability reservoirs to avoid damage, but usually has to be specially licensed. This approach is claimed to be more effective than postdrilling stimulation in some reservoirs. Normally, however, well kicks pose a much greater risk to safety, overall costs, and project economics than minor drilling damage; therefore, drilling with a small overbalance is normal procedure. Overbalance is also useful for controlling shale problems in areas of high tectonic stresses. Table 1, below, lists some of the typical drilling fluids and the pore pressures they generally offset.

Pore Pressure Gradient Drilling Fluid Densities AIR At up to 1000 psi 0-0.025 psi/ft Annular velocity 3000 ft/min No oil or water influx can be tolerated FOAM Annular velocities 800 to 1300 ft/min 0.025-0.35 psi/ft Rule of thumb 200 ft3/min/1000 ft of hole Good fluid loss control OIL/AERATED WATER/WATER/BRINE 0.35-0.5 psi/ft Annular velocity 100 to 125 ft/min Fluid loss can be a problem in permeable zones UNWEIGHTED MUDS Annular velocities are function of viscosity (100 ft/min) 0.45-0.5 psi/ft Filter cake necessary to control fluid loss Control drilled solids buildup to maintain correct density and drilling rate BARITE-WEIGHTED MUD Annular velocities are function of viscosity (100 ft/min) 0.5-1 psi/ft Fine drilled solids difficult to remove from mud without also removing barite Overweighted mud causes slow penetration rate and lost circulation because of fracturing HIGH-DENSITY MUDS 0.9-1.6 psi/ft Use galena or iron compounds in place of barite Table 1. Pressure gradients of typical drilling fluids The openhole drilling time through the pay section should be as short as possible to minimize invasion and shale deterioration. On the other hand, it is essential that a high penetration rate does not result in poor hole conditions due to hole erosion by the mud stream in the restricted annulus around the drill collars. Similarly, particular

attention needs to be paid to controlling pipe pulling rates during trips, because of the potential for damage to the pay section from swab and surge pressures. Abrams (1977) recommends that at least 5% of the mud solids volume should be more than one-third the formation median pore size to ensure that mud solids do not penetrate more than 1 in. (25 mm) into the formation. Silica, calcium carbonate, wax, and asphalt solids are available in suitable graded ranges to maintain this level. It is better practice to build a filter cake than to drill with losses, because of the damaging effect of the drilling fluid and the well control risks. However, if it is planned to drill without returns, the fluids lost to the formation should be filtered and kept as clean as possible. The most cost-effective inhibition of shale sloughing is generally achieved with additions to the drilling fluid of 5 to 10% NaCl, 1 to 3% CaCl2, or 1 to 3% KCl. Lower concentrations can be used where the mud has low filter loss properties, although this may be considered an unwarranted risk. To minimize solids damage, we must look not only at maintaining a good filter cake but also at keeping down the solids that can pass through the filter cake with the filtrate. This is achieved by having the rig equipped with adequate mud cleaning equipment. The use of non-damaging fluids should likewise figure into plans for the initial completion and perforating operations. In some cases, it may be advantageous to plan stimulation work as part of the initial completion.

In most wells, the initial completion method involves running and cementing casing, perforating the casing, and installing the tubing. During perforation and tubing installation, the formation pressure must be controlled by the completion fluid (i.e., overbalance conditions). The problem with perforating while overbalanced is the potential for formation damage and plugged perforations. There is also the risk of excessive lost circulation, which could result in a "kick," with no pipe in the hole. The use of mud as a perforating fluid reduces these latter risks but increases the chances of poor cleanup and productivity damage. Specially formulated perforating fluids (generally brines) should be selected based on the results of compatibility tests with the water, reservoir fluids, and the formation. After the brine has been prepared, it should be filtered through two-micron filters to remove entrained solids, undissolved chemicals, and contaminants. This should be carried out even though it is planned to add materials subsequently to control fluid loss. The completion fluid may need to be treated with a bactericide and corrosion inhibitor. Even with specially formulated, filtered perforating fluids, there is still a perforation skin effect inherent in the perforation process itself. Typically, the crushed zone surrounding a perforation may be only 10-60% of the formation permeability. Three techniques that have been used to remove the damage resulting from this skin effect are (1) perforating in acid or using an acid wash in carbonate formations, (2) backflushing the perforations in sandstones, and (3) perforation washing. Backsurging involves running DST-type equipment and exposing the sandface to a sudden high drawdown for a limited period of time. A backsurge volume of at least one gallon per perforation is required. Perforation washing is primarily used prior to gravel packing and is a very effective method of removing damage. The idea is to pump clean fluid into one set of perforations and out of another, creating a void behind the pipe which will subsequently be filled with gravel. Perforating underbalanced is the logical extension of the back-surge concept. Underbalanced perforating is generally superior to conventional overbalanced perforating for the following reasons:

all perforations will see a high differential pressure and have an opportunity to backflow sensitive formations need not be exposed to completion fluid cleanup is faster and more effective the productive potential of marginal zones can be established test results are clear-cut the safety hazards involved with setting production equipment in a potentially live well are reduced Underbalanced perforating can be achieved by through-tubing perforating tubing-conveyed perforating with - mechanical firing using a drop bar system - pressure firing by either tubing pressure or annulus pressure - electric firing methods

Completion Fluids Selection and Treatment

Overall, brine is usually the best choice as a completion fluid, if a clear fluid is to be used. It should be filtered through a two-micron filter to avoid deposition of fines in the pore throats and flow channels of the formation. In high permeability zones, it is often necessary to add graded material to the brine to form a filter cake. This material should be easily removable by backflow, and soluble in acid (CaCO3 chips) or oil (benzoic acid flakes). Formation brine is often a highly attractive completion fluid provided solids, precipitates, and fine oil droplets are filtered out. Crude oil is also a good completion fluid; however it is dangerous, messy, and environmentally unsafe. In general, minimizing overbalance is a good practice.

The classic solution to maximizing a well's productivity is to stimulate it. However, as discussed earlier, the basis for selecting stimulation candidates should be a review of the well's actual and theoretical IPR. Low permeability wells often need fracturing on initial completion. In low permeability zones, additional poststimulation production can be significant to the economics; however, the production engineer needs to make management aware of the true long term potential or else overly optimistic projections can easily be made. A few useful rules of thumb in selecting candidates include the following: within the production targets, the best wells make the best stimulation candidates, but only if they show evidence of skin damage that can actually be removed fractured carbonates nearly always require an acid job to remove drilling damage there is no use in stimulating a well if the real problem is a lack of reservoir pressure (i.e., depletion) inadequate or plugged perforations are often the main cause of damage, and may need a hydraulic shock to ensure breakdown (alternatively, the zone should be reperforated) accurate placement of fluids and fluid diverters is often the key to success the best candidates should have a low chance of stimulating beyond the producing zone or into a water zone In the final analysis the decision must be an economic one. Historically, about 90% of treatments result in a productivity increase, with acid jobs giving a 10% to 50% increase. Much greater increases can be realized on specific zones, but this is a function of local circumstances, particularly the presence of a significant, removable skin.

The specific stimulation treatment depends on the nature of the problem and the formation type. There are four main types of treatment: matrix acidizing, for damage removal acid fracturing, for low permeability carbonates propped fracturing, for low permeability sandstones propped fracturing, ("frac and pack") treatments in moderate to high permeability reservoirs These main types of treatments encompass a wide variety of alternative treatment designs; therefore it is important for the engineer to select the treatment carefully. Sophisticated formulations and techniques are usually needed only for difficult problems, and the simplest, cheapest treatment that does not introduce problems is usually the best. Special additives other than a corrosion inhibitor need real justification (e.g., an iron-sequestering agent is needed only if the formation contains iron or if the tubing is badly corroded). Any additives should be tested for compatibility with the reservoir fluids. It is also important to properly design the pumping hydraulics so that matrix acidizing treatments avoid fracturing the formation and fracturing treatments exceed the pressure required to part rock.

Exercise 1: Oilfield Units

Given the following information, estimate the well's theoretical stabilized productivity assuming skin values of 0, +5 and -5. If the well is currently damaged (S = +5) how much of an increase in productivity might be expected from a fracture (S = -5) operation? re well drilled on 40 acre spacing, 745-ft radius o oil viscosity, 2 cp k permeability of rock, 50 md kro relative oil permeability at Sw = Swc, 0.8 h thickness of pay, 16 ft rw wellbore radius, 0.39 ft S variable average reservoir pressure, 2900 psia Bo formation volume factor, 1.3 barrels/STB pwf assume 25% drawdown

SI units
Given the following information, estimate the well's theoretical stabilized productivity assuming skin values of 0, +5 and -5. If the well is currently damaged (S = +5) how many folds of increase in productivity might be expected from a fracture (S = -5) operation? re well drilled on 16-ha spacing, 227-m radius o oil viscosity, 2 mPa S k permeability of rock, 50 mD kro relative oil permeability at Sw = Swc, 0.8 h thickness of pay, 5 m rw wellbore radius, 0.12 m S variable

average reservoir pressure, 20,000 kPa Bo formation volume factor, 1.3 m3/ST m3 pwf assume 25% drawdown

Solution 1: Oilfield Units

From the semisteady state flow equation

(where ko = k kro) for no skin, S = 0 for 25% drawdown applied, pwf = 0.75

for a badly damaged well, S = +5, 25% drawdown

for a fractured (estimated) well S = -5 at 25% drawdown

increase =

=5.54 times damaged rate

SI units
From the semisteady flow equation

for no skin, S = 0

For 25% drawdown applied, pwf = 0.75

giving q = 30.3 m3/d for a badly damaged well, S = +5, 25% drawdown q = 17.5 m3/d for a fractured well, S = -5, 25% drawdown q = 114.8 m3/d increase = = 5.56 times damaged rate

Exercise 2: Oilfield Units

A 7000-ft well is to be produced with a target of 15,000 b/d. What tubing intake pressure must be achieved to meet this target? Estimate tubing size and make an educated guess as to whether artificial lift will be needed to produce against a wellhead pressure of 400 psi. The well encountered 170 ft of oil bearing formation with a pressure of 3000 psia. The hydrocarbon saturation is 80% and the net-to-gross pay ratio is 50%. These development wells are being drilled with a spacing of 3000 ft between wells (200-acre spacing). The production casing is 9 5/8 inch set in a 12 1/4-inch hole. The oil has a GOR of 500 scf/bbl, a formation volume factor of 1.2, and a viscosity under reservoir conditions of 1.1 cp. Core tests have shown that the average permeability to air is 435 md and the average porosity from both cores and log data is 28%. Experience has shown that the average well can be expected to have a skin of +2. Relative permeability data are as follows:

Sw (%) 10 20 30 50 70 80 SI units

kro (%) 90 70 60 36 12 0

krw (%) 0 0 5 20 50 70

A 2130-m well is to be produced with a target of 2400 m3/day. What tubing intake pressure must be achieved to meet this target? Estimate tubing size and the need for artificial lift against a wellhead pressure of 400 psi. The well encountered 50 m of oil-bearing formation with a pressure of 20,700 kPa. The hydrocarbon saturation is 80% and the net-to-gross pay ratio is 50%. These development wells are being drilled with a spacing of 900 m between wells (80-ha spacing). The production casing is 9 5/8 in. (244 mm) set in a 12 1/4-in. (311-mm) hole. The oil has a GOR of 90 m3/m3, a formation volume factor of 1.2, and a viscosity under reservoir conditions of 1.1 mPa.s. Core tests have shown the average permeability to air is 435 md and the average porosity from both cores and log data is 28%. Experience has shown that the average well can be expected to have a skin of +2. Relative permeabilities are as follows:

Sw (%) 10 20

kro (%) 90 70

krw (%) 0 0

30 50 70 80

60 36 12 0

5 20 50 70

Solution 2: Oilfield units

From Darcy's law at semisteady state conditions in oilfield units: re = 1500 ft rw = 0.5 ft S = +2 Bo = 1.2 o = 1.1 h = 0.5 170 = 85 kro = (@ Sw = 0.20) 70% k = 435 md So = 0.80 Sw = 1 - 0.80 = 0.20 = 3000 psia

koh = 435



= 25,883 md ft

= 15 B/D/psi Target = 15,000 B/D Drawdown = rate/PI Drawdown = 15,000/15 = 1000 psi FBHP = 3000 - 1000 psi = 2000 psi From Table 1, below, it is apparent that 15,000 B/D is the upper limit for 4 1/2-in. tubing. Therefore, 5 1/2-in. tubing will probably be selected. Allowable pressure loss = 2000 - 400 = 1600 psi

Allowable flowing gradient =

= 0.23 psi/ft

This must be checked against a gradient curve for 5 1/2-in. tubing but since it is reasonably high it would seem probable that the well will be able to flow at the target rate or close to it without artificial lift. (Detailed calculation shows that only 13,500 B/D could be achieved in 5.5-in. tubing without additional lift gas.) Maximum Tubing Throughput Capacity of Flowing and Gas Lift Wells

Casing Size

Maximum Tubing Size

Maximum Theor. Rate* (in) 2 3/8 2 7/8 3 1/2 4 1/2 5 1/2 7

Max. Theor. Gas Rate* (mm) 60 73 89 114 140 178 (b/d) 2000 5000 7500 15,000 20,000 60,000 (m3/d) 300 800 1200 2400 3200 9550 (MMScf/d) 15 25 40 80 120 100 ( 103m3/d) 400 700 1100 2300 3400 2800

(in) 4 4 1/2 5 1/2 6 5/8 7 5/8 9 5/8

(mm) 102 113 140 168 194 244

*IPR, THP, GLR, and conduit length often prevent such high rates being achieved in specific cases. Table 1: Effect of casing and tubing size on maximum theoretical capacity. SI units From Darcy's law at semisteady flow conditions in metric units: re = 450 meters rw = 0.156 meters S = +2 Bo =1.2 o = 1.1 mPa.s h = 0.5 50 = 25 meters kro = 0.7 k = 435 md = 20,800 kPa So = 0.80 Sw = 1 - 0.80 = 0.20

koh = (kro) (k) (h) = (0.7) (435) (25) = 7612.5 md m

Target = 2400 m3/d

= 0.335 m3/d/kPa

pwf = 13,536 kPa From Table 1, above, it is apparent that 2400 m3/d is the upper limit for 4 1/2-in. (114-mm) tubing. Therefore, 5 1/2-in. (140-mm) will probably be selected. Assuming required FTHP = 2800 kPa Allowable pressure loss = 13,536 - 2800 = 10,736 kPa

Allowable flowing gradient:

= 5.040 kPa/m

This should be checked against a gradient curve for 140-mm tubing but since it is reasonably high it would seem probable that the well will be able to flow without artificial lift. (Actually, detailed calculation shows that only 2150 m3/day would be achieved in 140-mm tubing without additional lift gas.)

Exercise 3: Oilfield Units

The following tests were taken on a well: Test No. 1 2 3 pwf (psi) 800 750 850 q (STB/d) 140 170 120

The shut-in bottomhole pressure was measured at 1680 psi. 1. Construct the PI using the average of the three tests. 2. Construct an IPR curve using the Vogel correlation. 3. What is the maximum expected production rate at a pump intake pressure of 60 psi based on the PI? Based on the IPR? SI Units The following tests were taken on a well.

Test No. 1 2 3

pwf (MPa) 5.52 5.17 5.86

q (m3/d) 22.3 27.0 18.9

The shut-in bottomhole pressure was measured at 11.58 MPa. 1. Construct the PI using the average of the three tests. 2. Construct an IPR curve using the Vogel correlation. 3. What is the maximum expected production rate at a pump intake pressure of 400 kPa based on the PI? Based on the IPR?

Solution 3: Oilfield Units

A) Straight Line PI Average test rate = 143 STB/d Average test FBHP = 800 psi Average drawdown = 1680 - 800 = 880 psi Average PI = 0.163 STB/d/psi Rate at 0 psi FBHP = 274 STB/d Rate at 60 psi FBHP = 264 STB/d B) IPR (Vogel) First we must determine the average qmax for our three tests: (1) Test No. 1 2 3 Average (2) calculated (3) calculated from Equation 3 (4) test results (5) calculated from (3) and (4) Using a value of 197 STB/d as qmax for our well, we can use Equation 3 to determine qo for any value of pwf. Choosing several equally spaced values we can construct our IPR curve ( Figure 1 , Calculation of IPR curves): (2) Pwf / 0.476 0.446 0.506 (3) qo/qmax

(4) qo 140 170 120

(5) qmax 193 225 173 197

0.725 0.755 0.695

Figure 1

(1) pwf 1344 008 672 0 60

(2) pwf / 0.8 0.6 0.4 0 0.03 (1) assumed values


(3) qo/qmax 0.325 0.595 0.795 1.000 0.992

(4) qo 64 117 157 197 195

(2) calculated from (1) and = 1680 psi (3) calculated from Equation 3 (4) calculated from (3) and qmax = 197 STB/d Rate @ 60 psi FBHP = 195 STB/d Conclusions 1. Increasing drawdown to 97% of reservoir pressure would increase production to 195 STB/d from an average of 143 STB/d (i.e., 36%). 2. This increase in production is only 74% of the rate predicted with a straight line PI.

SI units A) Straight Line PI Average test rate = 22.7 m3/d Average test FBHP = 5.52 MPa Average drawdown = 11.58 MPa - 5.52 MPa = 6.06 MPa Average PI = 3.75 m3/d/MPa Rate at 0 kPa BHP = 43.43 m3/d Rate at 400 kPa BHP = 41.9 m3/d B) Vogel Curved IPR First we must determine the average qmax for our three tests: (1) Test No. 1 2 3 Average (2) calculated (3) calculated from Equation 3 (4) test results (5) calculated from (3) and (4) (1) pwf 0.8 0.6 0.4 0 0.03 (2) pwf / 9.26 6.95 4.63 0 0.4 (3) qo/qmax

(2) pwf / 0.48 0.45 0.51


(3) qo/qmax 0.72 0.75 0.69

(4) qo 22.3 27.0 18.9

(5) qmax 31.0 36.0 27.4 31.5

(4) qo 10.4 18.6 24.9 31.5 31.2

0.33 0.59 0.79 1.00 0.99

Using a value of 31.5 m3/d as qmax for our well, we can use Equation 3 to determine qo for any value of pwf Choosing several equally spaced values we can construct our IPR curve ( Figure 2 , Calculation of IPR curves):

Figure 2

(1) assumed values (2) calculated from (1) and pR = 11.58 MPa (3) calculated from Equation 3 (4) calculated from (3) and qmax = 31.5 m3/d Rate at 400 kPa FBHP = 31.2 m3/d Conclusions 1. Increasing drawdown to 97% of reservoir pressure would increase production rate to 31.2 m3/d from an average of 22.7 m3/d (i.e. , 37%) 2. This increase in production is only 74% of that predicted with a straight line PI.

Exercise 4: List the three principal types of formation damage, their common causes, and the steps taken to reduce their effects.

Solution 4: Drilling damage occurs when highly overbalanced drilling muds carry mud solids deep into highly
permeable sandstone or fractured carbonate reservoirs. Drilling with clean fluids that have been weighted with

nondamaging materials is one way to reduce such damage. Underbalanced drilling, or maintaining a minimum overbalance is another alternative. Postdrilling stimulation is the only way to remedy the damage. Perforating damage occurs when well fluid solids are carried into the perforations immediately after they are created. Inadequate perforating is also a type of "damage." Underbalanced perforating, perforation cleanup techniques, and good completion design will avoid this problem. Fluids damage occurs when mud filtrate reacts with in-situ clays, causing them to swell and reduce the formation's permeability. Reactions of injected fluids (acids, fracturing fluids, etc.) with the formation rock or fluids can also cause precipitates and insoluble residues to form. Careful testing of any fluids to be injected will avoid this type of damage. If water-sensitive clays are expected, fresh water muds should be replaced with nondamaging drilling fluids.