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SPE 124195

SPE 124195 Simulation of Liquid Unloading From a Gas Well With Coiled Tubing Using a Transient

Simulation of Liquid Unloading From a Gas Well With Coiled Tubing Using a Transient Software

P. Salim, and J. Li, BJ Services Company

Copyright 2009, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2009 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 4–7 October 2009.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright. Abstract Unloading gas wells is one of the most
must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright. Abstract Unloading gas wells is one of the most

Abstract Unloading gas wells is one of the most common applications for coiled tubing (CT). Despite the large number of jobs completed, fundamental questions about the optimum gas lift rate, run-in-hole speed and how much nitrogen is required remain. This is because the unloading process is not steady state, and the commonly used CT computer simulations can only model steady state flow. This paper describes transient software that has been developed and used to determine the nitrogen volume and cleaning time required when optimizing the process of liquid unloading from a gas well with CT. Based on experimental test results with a full scale flow loop, a critical gas velocity model was developed. This model determines how much liquid can be lifted for a given gas rate under varying operating conditions. It also determines the minimum gas rate required for complete liquid unloading. Several examples are presented which illustrate the transient characteristics of the liquid unloading process. A few field cases illustrate the benefits of using the transient model and some problems with conventional design methods.

Introduction Unloading gas wells is a common operation in the oil industry. After workover operations the liquid used to kill or stimulate the well must be unloaded from the tubing string to return the well to normal operation. Some wells naturally liquid load and require a gas lift to put them back on production. Two techniques are commonly used to unload wells. One method would be to use gas lift mandrels in the completion and pressurized gas in the area. Another is to inject nitrogen in the completion with CT. The CT method will be our focus in this paper. There are a few steady state design methods which can be used to design the liquid unloading process. One method involves the generation of a family of curves comparing bottom hole pressure (BHP) and gas injection rate for various assumed produced liquid rates, while holding CT size and circulation depth constant. Based on these curves, the potential liquid unloading rate can be estimated at different injection rates for a particular condition. In order to estimate the liquid unloading rate at other conditions, similar curves can be generated. However, with such conventional steady state design methods, the transient behavior of liquid unloading process, i.e. pressure/fluid rate changing at the surface or at the bottom of hole, can not be captured and the unloading time is poorly estimated. It will be shown that simulating transient behavior of liquid unloading process is very important for the design and execution of that process. Process design includes the determination of CT size, tripping speeds, nitrogen rate and surface choke setting. A good design will bring the well back to production in a timely manner with minimal nitrogen consumption but sometimes these goals are compromised by surface fluid rates and dynamic BHP. Surface fluid rate can be crucial when there is limited surface handling equipment as is common in many offshore operations. Dynamic BHP can be critical as some reservoirs are very sensitive to fluid losses during the liquid unloading process. This paper describes transient software that has been developed and used to optimize the process of liquid unloading in a gas well with CT. The transient model is validated with Lage’s (2000) full scale well test data and field operational data. The transient feature of the unloading process is clearly captured by the software. The model tracks how the whole system dynamically responds to changes in major operational conditions such as the variation of pump rate, choke size, and downhole conditions. A critical gas velocity model was developed and incorporated into the software.

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Experimental Setup and Data Collection The flow loop, shown in figure 1, was used throughout this project. The loop consisted of a 20ft-long transparent lexan pipe with a 5-inch inner diameter simulating the open hole and a 2-3/8-inch steel inner pipe simulating a gas lift pipe. The inner pipe was positioned on the bottom of Lexan pipe to simulate the worst case for the liquid removal (eccentricity = 100%). The loop was mounted on a rigid guide rail and could be inclined at any angle in the range of 0 o -90 o from vertical. A schematic of the flow loop system is shown in figure 2. The annular test section is first filled with liquid after which the centrifugal pump is shut down. Nitrogen is then flowed into the test section. After a steady state is established, pneumatic actuating valves isolate the test section. The liquid and gas volumes in the annulus of the test section are then measured. From this information, the liquid holdup and the average in-situ velocity for gas phase can be determined. This liquid holdup was called the zero net liquid flow (ZNLF) holdup. Tests were conducted at increasing gas rates until we reached the critical gas rate at which the liquid from the test section was completely removed. The flow rate was measured by two mass flow meters. The mass flow meters were equipped with a densitometer feature that could measure the density of gas and liquid phases. Water, two different densities of brines and two different biopolymer fluids were used to conduct the tests. Results were used to investigate the effect of liquid density and viscosity on the ZNLF holdup and the minimum critical velocity. For each liquid the tests were conducted at several different deviations. The pressure inside of the test section could be controlled with a back choke. The maximum pressure inside of the test section was 150 psi. Most of tests were conducted with the choke fully open and a pressure of roughly 20 psi. A set of tests were also conducted to investigate the effect of pressure on the critical velocity using the maximum test section pressure of 150 psi. Test results showed that the ZNLF holdup increased with deviation angle reaching a maximum at about 55 o , it then decreased as the deviation angle increased. This was similar to the other investigators’ observations. For the same gas velocity, the ZNLF holdup increased as the fluid density or viscosity increased. There was less ZNLF holdup when bottom hole pressure was increased due to increased gas density with pressure. More than 300 test data points were collected and compiled into figure 3. It is shown that the ZNLF holdup could be correlated with a single curve as a function of the velocity ratio between the gas superficial velocity and the gas critical velocity. A generalized correlation was developed to predict the critical gas velocity at which all the liquid can be removed completely from the wellbore. Based on this correlation, the liquid holdup can be predicted when the gas velocity is less than the critical velocity.

Transient Model The mathematical model of liquid unloading is based on the conservation of mass and a drift-flux model. One momentum equation is solved and the slip velocity between gas and liquid phases is determined with steady state equations that consider the flow regime. A steady-state isothermal temperature profile is assumed in the wellbore. The space domain is assumed to be one dimension in axial direction and is discretised into N nodes. The conservation of mass is divided into two parts: (1) the conservation of mass for each gas and (2) the conservation of mass for each liquid. The conservation of mass for gas j in node i is given by:

(

ρ

g

,

ji

α

g

,

ji

V

i

)

t

=

δ

F

g

,

ji

(1)

and the conservation of mass for liquid k in node i is given by:

(

ρ

l ki

,

α

l ki

,

V

i

)

t

=

j

=

n

g

j = 1

α

g

,

ji

+

k

=

n

l

k = 1

α

l ki

,

δ

F

l ki

,

= 1

(2)

(3)

In Eqs. (1) to (3),

F

g

,

ji

ρ

g, ji

and

is the density of gas j in node i,

α l,ki

δ

F

l ki

,

ρ

l,ki

is the density of liquid k in node i, α

is the volume

V i is the volume of node i, t is the time

g, ji

fraction of gas j in node i,

variable, and δ

is the volume fraction of liquid k in node i,

are respectively defined as the mass transfer of gas j and liquid k in node i:

δ

δ F

F

g

, ji

l , ki

=

=

(

ρ

g

,

(

ρ

l ki

,

ji

u

u

g i

,

α

li

α

l ki

,

g

,

A

ji

i

)

A

i

in

)

in

(

ρ

g

,

ji

u

g i

,

(

ρ

l ki

,

u

l i

,

α

l ki

,

α

g

,

ji

A

i

A

i

)

out

±

)

out

±

S

l ki

,

S

g

,

ji

(4)

(5)

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where

source of gas j entering node i, and

computed from the drift-flux model shown in Eqs. (6) and (7):

u

g i

,

is gas velocity in node i,

u

l i

,

is liquid velocity in node i,

A

i

is the flow area of node i,

u

g i

,

and

u l i

,

is the mass

in Eqs. (4) and (5) are

S

g

,

ji

S

l , ki

is the mass source of liquid k entering node i.

u

g i

,

u l i

,

=

c

u

+

u

d i

m i

u g

,

, i

m i

,

c

m

,

i

=

=

′ ′

c

m

,

i

c m

,

i

,

u m i

,

+

u

d

, i

c

m

,

i

(6)

(7)

is

where

the mixture velocity in node i and is computed by means of the Bernoulli equation. In single phase flow, both

and

are estimated from a gas-liquid model (such as Taitel-Dukler

model, Duns-Ros model, etc. depending on the flow regime), but for particular cases in which the superficial gas velocity

are estimated from the correlation generated from figure 3 to

account for the ZNLF holdup. After some mathematical manipulations for Eqs. (1) and (2), a Transient Pressure Equation is generated and shown as Eq. (8) below:

becomes less than the critical gas velocity,

c

m i

,

and

c

m i

,

are distribution coefficients in node i,

c m i

,

c

m i

,

and

and

c

m i

,

c

m i

,

u

d i

,

is drift velocity currently assumed as zero, and

c

u

m i

,

m i

,

c

m

,

i

are set to unity. In gas-liquid flow,

V

i

j

=

n

j =

g

(

α

g

1

,

ji

K

g

,

ji

)

+

k

=

n

l

k = 1

(

α

l , ki

K

l , ki

)

P

i

t

=

j

=

n

g

j = 1

δ

F

g

,

ji

ρ

g

,

ji

+

k

=

n

l

k =

1

δ

F

l ki

,

ρ

l ki

,

V

i

t

(8)

where:

is pressure

in node i. Eqs. (1), (2) and (8) are categorized as an initial value problem and are solved from an initial condition where the initial masses of each phase and the initial pressure and temperature of each node are known. For the computation stability and speed, the equations are solved by using the fully implicit or backward time numerical scheme, in which a set of simultaneous linear equations are solved at each time step. The initial condition was obtained from a steady-state simulation described by Craig (2003), Li et al. (2002), Misselbrook

et al. (1991), Nasr-El-Din et al. (2006), and Ovesen et al. (2003). The steady-state simulation runs in Windows on a standard PC and is a powerful analytical tool that provides a complete evaluation for both flow and force analyses at each control volume. The simulation has three main parts:

1. Input Parameters: Any well path, completion and CT combination can be described. Non-Newtonian and Newtonian fluids in single phase and energized mixtures can be considered. Reservoir pressure is specified, its flow rate can aid the cleanout or not at the users discretion. Inputs are run through hundred’s of validations prior to being sent to the calculation algorithms. Extensive hints help guide the user to fix validation errors.

2. Job Design: Typically one varies flow rates, fluid types, penetration rate, circulation and trip times to optimize the job.

3. Output Information: The simulation generates outputs of all pertinent variables in both tabular and graphical formats. The

output includes pressure distribution, velocities of liquid and gas, liquid holdup and flow regimes both inside the CT and in the CT/completion annulus. Information on shear rates, effective viscosity, flow regime, friction gradients and hydrostatic gradients are also provided. Numerous warnings and messages are also generated to alert and guide the user about potential problems. The modeling for both the steady-state and transient flow with single or two-phase fluid in the coiled tubing application, pipeline application and other applications has been extensively validated with the full scale experimental data, field data, and other data available in the public domain.

K

g

,

ji

is the compressibility of gas j in node i,

K

l ki

,

is the compressibility of liquid k in node i, and

P

i

Simulation Results and Case Studies

Four cases related to the liquid unloading process are chosen for discussion in the following section. In case #1 the model is compared to full scale well test data where a well is unloaded but continues to produce water. Case #2 discusses the effect of main parameters (i.e. gas rate, the rate of penetration of CT, CT size, and wellhead pressure) on the unloading time and liquid return rate. This case study also shows some typical features of the transient unloading a gas well and how to utilize the

software to optimize the unloading process. In case study #3 the transient software was used to help design the job. Simulation and field results are compared. In case #4 we again compare field results to the transient simulation but this job design did not benefit from the transient simulation and relied only on conventional steady state methods.

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Case Study # 1: Model validation with the Full-Scale Well Test Data

A full-scale investigation was executed by Lage (2000) in a 1278 m vertical well with a drill pipe of 3.5” OD x 2.764” ID

placed inside a casing of 6.276” ID (seen in figure 4). Detail of the well setup was included in Lage (2000). Initially the well

is full of water. Water is then injected into the drill pipe at the rate of 160 gpm. 13 minutes later, nitrogen is also injected at

the rate of 300 scfm through a parasite string located at 760 m. The drill pipe remains stationary at 1262 m. The downhole memory gauges were attached to the drillstring to record annular pressures at 998 m, 605 m and 185 m. The end of the drillstring was open, this enabled the pressure sensor in the logging tool to be used as a real time monitor of the conditions at the bottom of the drillstring. A transient simulation was conducted based on the Lage’s test condition. Choke size at wellhead was assumed to be fully open and was set at 100 in./64. Figures 5 to 7 show the comparison between the simulation results and experimental data for completion pressures at 1262 m, 605 m and 185 m. During the simulation, u-tubing phenomena (Kalessidis et al., 1994) was encountered in the drill pipe after 15:50 minutes. Pressure oscillations shown in figures 5 to 7 are related to how the transient simulation handled the u-tubing phenomena. In general, the transient model is shown to reproduce the experimental results.

Case Study #2: Optimizing the Unloading Process with Transient Model

We were requested to optimize a well kickoff operation for a 10600 ft. vertical well. Perforations were located at 10,000 ft,

BHT is 250 o F, and WHT is 80 o F.

Reservoir characteristics:

Q

G

=

5.0

p

2

f

p

2

B

1000

0.7

Mscf/D; Gas gravity = 0.65; Oil-to-Gas Ratio = 100 bbl/MMscf;

The well is filled with brine to 3200 ft and has a wellhead pressure of 150 psi (1 Mpa). During the liquid unloading process, the coiled tubing is run into hole from 3000 ft to the bottom of the well (10600 ft) with a fixed rate of penetration (ROP) and a fixed nitrogen pump rate. Once stable well production is achieved, nitrogen is stopped and the coiled tubing is pulled out of hole. The affect of varying coiled tubing ODs (1.25”, 1.5” and 1.75”), coiled tubing ROPs (10 to 100 ft/min) and nitrogen pump rates (100 to 1500 scfm) on the time required to achieve stable well production was recorded. For this comparison, the start of stable well production was arbitrarily defined as the first time that the bottom hole pressure falls below 2700 psi. To illustrate some of the challenges in this case study detailed results were generated for one scenario. 1.25” OD coiled tubing is run into the well at 50 ft/min while pumping 700 scfm nitrogen, results are shown in figures 8 to 11. The time to reach stable well production was recorded when the bottom hole pressure reached 2700 psi, this occurred at approximately 71 minutes. At 71 minutes nitrogen pumping was stopped (shown in figure 8) and the coiled tubing was pulled out of hole at the rate of 30 ft/min (shown in figure 9). Figure 8 also shows how transient delays can affect the job design. N 2 was halted at 71 minutes but it took another 50 minutes for the reservoir and surface gas rates to reach a steady-state. Figure 10 shows the pressure response versus time at key points in the well. You will notice that the initial pressure at the perforations is 3300 psi, giving a 300 psi overbalance. Hence the reservoir is initially charged with kill fluid. Figure 11 shows reservoir and wellhead liquid rates versus time but excludes the initial charging rate. This was done to focus the graph on some interesting details that occurred later. As the perforation pressure started to decline below p f (3,000 psi), reservoir production increased as expected but then dropped around 59 minutes. This drop reflected the last of the kill fluid

and the fact that it could be produced back more easily than the produced fluids. A liquid slug around 90 minutes corresponded to the gas break through at surface (comparing figures 8 and 11). It was encouraging to note that the simulation predicted the liquid rate would spike before the gas rate on surface, this has been observed in many field operations. All the parameters (i.e. pressures and surface rates of liquid and gas) approached a steady state 100 minutes after the initial unloading process. This scenario was then modified to test the affect of coiled tubing ODs (1.25”, 1.5” and 1.75”), coiled tubing ROPs (10 to 100 ft/min) and nitrogen rates (100 to 1500 scfm). The typical results for the runs are presented in figures 12 to 14. Figure 12 shows the time to reach stable well production for coiled tubing 1.25” OD at various ROPs and nitrogen pump rates. As observed in experiments the liquid unloading required a critical minimum gas velocity. Figure 12 shows that nitrogen rates just above the critical gas velocity needed more time to reach stable well production. Also increasing the nitrogen rate did not always result in reduced unloading times. Once an optimum N 2 rate is achieved the unloading time is roughly constant. The optimum value changes with ROP. At an ROP of 10 ft/min, a nitrogen rate of 300 scfm appeared to

be the optimum. At 30 ft/min, a nitrogen rate of 500 scfm was required. At 70 ft/min, the optimum nitrogen rate was 900. In

figure 12 we can see that the slope of the total consumed N 2 volume changes around the optimum N 2 rate. In addition, increasing ROP from 10 to 30 ft/min showed remarkable reduction in liquid unloading time, but ROPs beyond 30 ft/min did not. Figure 13 plots the average liquid unloading rate for various gas rates and ROP’s. For a given injection gas rate, a higher ROP results in a higher liquid unloading rate at the surface. Similarly for a given ROP, the higher the injection gas rate is, the higher the liquid unloading rate will be. Figure 13 indicates that the reduction in kick off times with increasing nitrogen rate

tends to flatten off in all ROP curves. This trend also indicates that there is an optimum gas rate for a given ROP curve.

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Figure 14 shows how the CT size affects the average unloading liquid rate at the surface. For a given injection gas rate, a larger CT would result in a higher unloading liquid rate. However, it seems that the CT size would not affect the optimum gas injection rate and for this scenario in figure 14, it is about 700 scfm. The optimum gas injection rate is mainly affected by the RIH speed. In general the surface equipment (separator, choke size and surface return line) is selected according to normal well production rates. However unloading operations usually required significantly higher rates. If the surface equipment is undersized, dramatically higher well head pressures (WHP) can result. Figure 15 shows how increasing WHP affects the time

to reach stable well production. Higher WHP’s result in longer unloading times as the pressure increases gas density which in

turn reduces gas velocity and hence the efficiency of the whole process After considering CT availability in the operating region and other logistical issues, it was recommended to use 1.5” CT,

a RIH speed of 50 ft/min and a nitrogen rate of 700 scfm.

Case Study #3: N 2 Well Unloading and Cleanup Assistance

A

subsea water injector in the Caspian Sea was completed with an expanded sand screen and downhole flow control devices

to

inject water between two isolated sands in the formation. The well profile and wellbore information are plotted in figures

16 and 17, respectively. The well is 3924.2 m MD with a maximum deviation of 57 o . After swapping the well bore fluid over

to base oil it was planned to assist the well flowback and cleanup using coiled tubing N 2 circulation. While cleaning up, the

N 2 rate is adjusted to generate the desired drawdown across the sand-face/screens. The BHA included a down hole memory gauge which collected the down hole pressure and temperature near the

BHA/circulation point during the liquid unloading process. Downhole completion pressure was recorded with a transducer installed in the well at 3648 m MD.

Job Details: Figure 18 shows operational details recorded in the field. The flowhead valves were opened and CT was RIH circulating N 2. The N 2 rate used was the minimum critical gas rate determined by the transient software. At 210 m the CT was stopped and it was confirmed that the fluid quantity recovered in well test surge tanks was equivalent to the landing string volume. With the fluid unloaded from the landing string confirmed, CT continued to RIH and N 2 was circulated at a rate lower than the critical rate. After 200 min the coil reached 850 m (30 o wellbore deviation) and fluid returns were lost at surface. After shutting down the N 2 rate was again increased to its critical value and fluid returns were re-established. CT was then RIH as the well started to flow. Real time downhole gauges confirmed reservoir drawdown. With the CT parked at 2500 m N 2 rate was changed in an attempt to control the drawdown on the well. BHP stabilized at approximately 2500 psi and the decision was made to RIH with CT to 3000 m. It was hoped that running to 3000 m would increase drawdown on the well. At 3250 m the N 2 supply was exhausted by circulating at 900 scfm for a further 14 hours. During this period, the desired 500 psi drawdown was generated downhole and controlled by adjusting the surface choke in the range of 54/64” – 60/64”. With this drawdown, the well flowed an average of 4500 bbl/day (3500 bbl/day low – 5500 bbl/day high). CT pull tests were conducted continually throughout the duration of the well flow period. CT was pulled out of the well without circulating N 2 . The flowhead swab valve and surface choke were closed. The CT reel was clamped and the well was monitored for 8 ½ hours. Injectivity tests were conducted on both zones and a tracer chemical was displaced into the formation. CT equipment and surface iron were rigged down.

Job Modeling: It was unknown if 1 ¾” CT could unload a 9-5/8” riser. It was believed that the well would flow with N 2

assistance after being kicked off, but first the hydrostatic column had to be reduced enough to initiate reservoir flow. Extensive transient modeling was carried out and the results indicated that liquid unloading was indeed possible. Intermittent or slug flow was predicted at the start of the unloading process but this would change to continuous flow once the well drawdown was established. Surface flows during the job confirmed this prediction. After the job the actual data run with the transient software and the results are shown in figure 19. A reservoir PI of 9.4 bbl/day/psi was calculated from the well test data and was used in the modeling. A few observations:

• Figure 19 indicates continuous flow is established after 250 minutes, this was confirmed by the well test package.

• Figure 20 shows that predicted pressure trends (WHP, CTP, BHP and BHAP) match well with job data.

• The model accurately predicted the critical gas velocity required for unloading the 9-5/8” riser. After running through the riser and stopping at 210 m the volume of fluid returned was equal to the riser volume (60 bbls).

• As seen in figure 19 the model predicts flow slugging after 150 min. This was noted on the job and after 200 min the CT was halted at 850 m and the N 2 was shut down. After some discussion the N 2 rate was again increased beyond the predicted critical gas rate. Both the simulation and job observations confirmed that continuous returns were re-established and maintained.

• A 10-20 minute delay between changing N 2 rate and BHP change was predicted by the model and confirmed by job data. In the end the well was flowed back for approximately 28 hours with 4600 bbls of oil being recovered from the reservoir. The average drawdown generated downhole during the flowback was 500 psi. This method of cleanup resulted in far greater fluid volumes being recovered from similar wells using well surge methods.

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SPE 124195

Although not used here another approach to well clean up involves tripping to total depth (TD) first. Figure 21 shows the surface return rates for both liquid and gas phase when N 2 is not circulated during the CT RIH but is circulated at 1500 scfm only when CT reaches TD (3250 m MD). The liquid return rate when N 2 is not circulated during CT RIH is almost double that when N 2 is circulated during RIH (see figure 21). In this case the higher return rate would have caused a problem for the surface separator. The model also predicted that the time to unload the well is less when circulating only on bottom and not during RIH. Again the potential for a severe slug determined that unloading as the CT was RIH was the safest option. Actual well performance parameters (BHP gauge data, CT BHA memory gauge data, CTP, WHP, N 2 circulation rate, well flow rates) were measured and compared closely with the results of the transient software. Given the model is the only means of evaluating the feasibility of future well unloads, it was important to gain an understanding of actual versus predicted well behavior. Having the real time downhole pressure gauge data displayed in the CT cab was very beneficial in helping control the drawdown being placed on the well. The quickest way to control bottom hole pressure is by adjusting the returns choke. Changing the N 2 rate was much slower. There was a delay of 10-20 minutes between changing N 2 rate and noticing a change in the bottom hole pressure.

Case Study #4: N 2 Lifting the Post Acidizing Liquid

A horizontal gas well with TMD of 6255 m and TVD of 4306 m was drilled in the Canadian Turner Valley formation. The

well profile and the detail wellbore information are plotted in figures 22 and 23, respectively. The BHP was about 1885 psi and the BHT was roughly 110 o C. The well is completed with a 3-1/2” production tubing to 4329 m, 3-1/2” slotted tubing to 4674 m and left open hole in the horizontal section to 6255m MD. The objective of this operation was to displace the acid in the open hole section with a 2” tapered CT. After displacement of the treatment fluids, N 2 was used to unload the well. Job details of the acid stimulation and cleanup are shown in figure 24. This paper will focus only on the unloading process which started 4260 minutes into the job. At this time the CT is at 5000 m and acid displacement is finished. Acid is

assumed to occupy the last 2000 m of the well giving it a fluid top of 4250 m. The unloading process was modeled using field data for CT movement and nitrogen rates. The unloading stage consisted of the following steps.

1. Set choke size to 25 in/64.

2. CT RIH from 3000 m to 4928 m at the rate of 30.48 m/min, N 2 rate small at 1 scm/min.

3. At TD the simulation was given 260 minutes to achieve a steady state. Equilibrium between acid in the reservoir

and that in the wellbore was achieved, but no acid was returned to surface.

4. Nitrogen pumping was varied as presented in figure 25.

5. CT was moved to different location as seen in figure 25.

Figure 25 shows how pressures at the BHA (pressure at the circulation point) varied in time with CT depth and N 2 pump rate during the liquid unloading process. It indicates that the computed BHAPs are in fair agreement with the measured BHAPs. The pressure spikes at the BHA due to the changes nitrogen rate and the CT depth are clearly captured by the transient simulation. The dynamics of liquid going in and out of reservoir are shown in figure 26, as are the surface liquid oscillations that result. In figure 26 it can be seen that the predicted and measured reservoir flows didn’t match. The productivity index, bottom hole pressure and temperature and the choke schedule were all estimated or unknown. By making changes to key bottom hole parameters there’s a possibility that post simulation matching could lead to valuable insights about the current reservoir state. In this case the job design was conducted in the conventional steady state manner without the benefit of a transient

simulation. Both the actual job data and simulated results indicate that liquid was squeezed back into the reservoir during the unloading process. Obviously this was inefficient, future designs conducted with the transient software should help avoid or

at least mitigate this behavior.

Conclusion

A sophisticated transient software for the CT application has been developed and used to study the transient behavior of

liquid unloading process. The following conclusions are drawn:

1. The simulation can accurately predict the transient behavior of the liquid unloading process with the proper input information. The interaction between the reservoir and the wellbore could significantly affect the simulation results of the transient behavior.

2. For a given wellbore condition, there is a minimum gas velocity above which all the liquid can be removed from the wellbore. This critical velocity is a function of liquid properties, wellbore deviation angle and the downhole pressure.

3. For a given RIH speed and CT size, the time to reach the start of stable well production could not be reduced once a certain N 2 rate was achieved, this is defined as the optimum N 2 rate.

4. For a given size of CT, a higher RIH speed would result in less time to unload the well with the same N 2 rate. Larger CT diameters give higher liquid return rates when holding N 2 rate and RIH speed constant.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to express their appreciation to BJ Services Company, for the opportunity to present this paper. We

wish to further thank colleagues: Simon Smith and Bill Gavin to provide the field operation information; Manfred Sach, Bill Aitken and Lance Portman for their valuable input and the time spent to edit the manuscript. The contribution of Dr. Marco Teixeira, our previous colleague from 2000 to 2006, on the initial development of transient multi-phase simulation is highly appreciated. Last but not least, the transient simulation’s user-interface would not have been as user-friendly without the great contribution of Ee Ker who has initiated and maintained the user-interface codes since 2000.

Nomenclature

BHA = bottom hole assembly BHAP = pressure at the BHA or the circulation point BHP = bottom hole pressure BHT = bottom hole temperature BHAT = temperature at the BHA or the circulation point CT = coiled tubing

CTP = pressure at CT injection point

gpm = US gallon/min

ID = internal diameter

MD

= measured depth

OD

= outside diameter

p B = bottom hole pressure p f = formation/reservoir pressure

PI = productivity index POOH = pull out of hole Q G = produced gas flow rate

RIH = run in hole

ROP = rate of penetration scfm = standard cubic feet per minute TD = target depth TMD = total measured depth TVD = true vertical depth V crit = critical gas velocity below which the liquid can not completely removed V sg = superficial gas velocity WHP = wellhead pressure WHT = wellhead temperature ZNLF =zero net liquid flow

SI Metric Conversion Factors

bbl x159 gpm x 3.7854 ft x 0.3048 inch x 25.4 psi x 6.895

E +00 = liter E +00 = liter E +00 = m E –03 = m E +03 = Pa

References

Craig, S.H.: “A Multi-Well Review of Coiled Tubing Force Matching,” SPE 81715 presented at the SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Conference held in Houston, TX, USA, April 8-9, 2003. Kalessidis, V.C., Rafferty, R., Merlo, A., and Maglione, R.: “Simulator Models ‘U-Tubing’ to Improve Primary Cementing,” Oil & Gas Journal (March 1994), 72-80. Lage, A.C.V.M., K.K. Fjelde and R.W. Time: “Underbalanced Drilling Dynamics: Two-Phase Flow Modeling and Experiments,” IADC/SPE 62743 presentation at the 2000 IADC/SPE Asia Pacific Drilling Technology held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 11–13 September 2000. Li, J., Walker, S., and Aitken, B.: “How to Efficiently Remove Sand From Deviated Wellbores with a Solid Transport Simulator and A Coiled Tubing Cleanout Tool,” SPE 77527 presented at the 2002 SPE Annual Technical Conference held in San Antonio, TX, USA, September 29-October 2, 2002. Misselbrook, J., Wilde, G., and Falk, K.: “The Development and Use of a Coiled-Tubing Simulation for Horizontal Applications,” SPE 22822 presented at the 66 th Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers held in Dallas, TX, USA, October 6-9, 1991.

8

SPE 124195

Nasr-El-Din, H.A., Al-Anazi, M.A., Balto, A.A., Proctor, R.J., and Saleh, R.M.: “Challenging Wellbore Cleanouts with Coiled-Tubing Made Easy with Computer Modeling Technology,” SPE 100129 presented at the 2006 SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing and Well Intervention Conference and Exhibition held in the Woodlands, TX, USA, April 4-5, 2006. Ovesen, M., Sach, M., Laun, L., Gill, G.E., Juel, H.: “Efficient Sand Cleanouts in Larger Wellbores Using Coiled Tubing: A New Approach Making An Old Problem Simple,” SPE 81727 presented at the SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Conference held in Houston, TX, USA, April 8-9, 2003.

SPE 124195

9

Pressure, psi

SPE 124195 9 Pressure, psi N2 line Liquid N2 tank Mass flow Pressure meter Relieve valve

N2 line

Liquid N2

tank

Mass flow Pressure meter Relieve valve valve valve N2 pump & heating unit Check valve
Mass flow
Pressure
meter
Relieve valve
valve
valve
N2 pump
& heating unit
Check
valve
Test section
Lexan pipe
Gate valve
valve
Inner pipe
Pressure
Relieve valve
valve
N 2 bypass
valve
H 2 O bypass
valve
vent
valve
Separator
tank
Water tank
1 m 3
Water line
valve
Centrifuge

pump

Check

valve

Mass flow

meter

Mass flow

regulator

valve

Figure 1 Photo of full scale flow loop 1 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4
Figure 1 Photo of full scale flow loop
1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0.01
0.1
1
Liquid holdup

V sg /V crit

Figure 3 Data compilation of liquid holdup under the zero net liquid flow condition 1900
Figure 3 Data compilation of liquid holdup under
the zero net liquid flow condition
1900
Experimental Data (Lage, 2000)
1800
Simulation Results
1700
1600
1500
1400
1300
1200
1100
15:21
15:28
15:36
15:43
15:50
15:57
16:04
16:12
Pressure, psi

Figure 2 Schematic of the flow loop system

Pressure, psi Figure 2 Schematic of the flow loop system Figure 4 Well configuration for the
Figure 4 Well configuration for the full-scale tests in case #1 (Courtesy of Lage, 2000)
Figure 4 Well configuration for the full-scale tests in case #1
(Courtesy of Lage, 2000)
1000
Experimental Data (Lage, 2000)
Simulation Results
900
800
700
600
500
400
15:21
15:28
15:36
15:43
15:50
15:57
16:04
16:12

Time

Time

Figure 5 Pressure at 1262m for case #1

Figure 6 Pressure at 605m for case #1

10

SPE 124195

Pressure, psi

Time to reach the stable production, min

Consumed N 2 , Mscf

300 Experimental Data (Lage, 2000) Simulation Results 250 200 150 100 50 0 15:21 15:28
300
Experimental Data (Lage, 2000)
Simulation Results
250
200
150
100
50
0
15:21
15:28
15:36
15:43
15:50
15:57
16:04
16:12

Time

Figure 7 Pressure at 185m for case #1

Wellhead Gas Rate Reservoir Gas Rate Pumped Gas Rate 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
Wellhead Gas Rate
Reservoir Gas Rate
Pumped Gas Rate
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
Time [min]
Figure 8 Simulated gas rates for case #2
Figure 9 Position and speed of the BHA for case #2
Figure 9 Position and speed of the BHA for case #2
Figure 10 Simulated pressures for case #2
Figure 10 Simulated pressures for case #2

Reservoir Liquid Rate

Pumped Liquid Rate

400 140 350 120 Consumed N 2 with ROP=10 ft/min Consumed N 2 with ROP=30
400
140
350
120
Consumed N 2 with ROP=10 ft/min
Consumed N 2 with ROP=30 ft/min
300
100
Consumed N 2 with ROP=70 ft/min
250
80
200
60
Time with ROP=10 ft/min
150
40
Time with ROP=30 ft/min
100
Time with ROP=70 ft/min
20
50
0
0
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600

Nitrogen pump rate, scfm

Figure 12 Effect of N 2 rate and ROP on the unloading time and N 2 consumption for 1.25” CT for case #2

Wellhead Liquid Rate

3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Time
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
Time [min]
Figure 11 Simulated liquid rates for case #2

SPE 124195

11

Average liquid return rate at the surface , bbl/min

Average liquid return rate at the surface , bbl/min

WHP (psi), CTP (psi), BHAP (psi), BHP (psi), CT Depth (m

Vertical depth(m)

0.5 0.45 ROP=10 ft/min 0.4 ROP=30 ft/min ROP=70 ft/min 0.35 0.3 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1
0.5
0.45
ROP=10 ft/min
0.4
ROP=30 ft/min
ROP=70 ft/min
0.35
0.3
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600

Nitrogen pump rate, scfm

Figure 13 Effect of N 2 rate and ROP on the average unloading liquid rate
Figure 13 Effect of N 2 rate and ROP on the average
unloading liquid rate with 1.25” CT for case #2
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
0
500
1000
1500
Time to reach the incipient of stable well production, min

Well head pressure, psi

Figure 15 Effect of wellhead pressure on the liquid unloading time for case #2 3000
Figure 15 Effect of wellhead pressure on the liquid
unloading time for case #2
3000
70
60
2500
Deviation angle
50
2000
Vertical depth
40
1500
30
1000
20
500
10
Completion ID
0
0
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
Deviation angle (o), Completion ID (in)

Measurement depth(m)

Figure 17 Wellbore information for case #3

0.6 1.25"CT @ ROP=50 ft/min 0.5 1.5"CT @ ROP=50 ft/min 1.75"CT @ ROP=50 ft/min 0.4
0.6
1.25"CT @ ROP=50 ft/min
0.5
1.5"CT @ ROP=50 ft/min
1.75"CT @ ROP=50 ft/min
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600

Nitrogen pump rate, scfm

Figure 14 Effect of N 2 rate and CT size on the average unloading liquid rate at 50 ft/min of ROP for case #2

unloading liquid rate at 50 ft/min of ROP for case #2 Figure 16 Wellbore profile for

Figure 16 Wellbore profile for case #3

RIH unloading well with N Circulate N to generate desired drawdown, move CT frequently 2
RIH unloading well with N
Circulate N
to generate desired drawdown, move CT frequently
2
2
4000
3500
CT depth, m
Bottom hole pressure (BHP), psi
3000
2500
Pressure at BHA (BHAP), psi
2000
1500
Pressure at CT injection point (CTP), psi
1000
Pressure at wellhead (WHP), psi
500
0
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1100

Elapsed Time, min

Figure 18 Field operation condition for case #3

12

SPE 124195

WHP (psi), CTP (psi), BHAP (psi), BHP (psi

Liquid Rate [bbl/min]

Gas Rate [scf/min]

WHP(psi), CTP(psi), BHAP(psi), CT depth(m)

Elapsed time [min]
Elapsed time [min]

Figure 19 Simulation results for case #3

8 2500 7 Wellhead Liquid Rate Wellhead Gas Rate 2000 6 Pumped Gas Rate 5
8
2500
7
Wellhead Liquid Rate
Wellhead Gas Rate
2000
6
Pumped Gas Rate
5
1500
4
1000
3
2
500
1
0
0
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200

Time, min

Figure 21 Simulation results of fluids return at the surface for case #3 without gas
Figure 21 Simulation results of fluids return at the surface
for case #3 without gas lifting during RIH period
5000
100
4500
90
4000
80
3500
70
Vertical depth
3000
60
2500
50
Deviation angle
2000
40
1500
30
1000
20
500
Completion ID
10
0
0
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
Vertical depth (m)
Deviation angle (o), Completion ID (in)

Measurement depth (m)

Figure 23 Wellbore information for case #4

4000 Measured BHP Predicted BHP Measured BHAP 3500 Predicted BHAP Bottom hole pressure (BHP), psi
4000
Measured BHP
Predicted BHP
Measured BHAP
3500
Predicted BHAP
Bottom hole pressure (BHP), psi
Measured WHP
Predicted WHP
3000
Measured CTP
Predicted CTP
2500
Pressure at circulation point (BHAP), psi
2000
1500
Pressure at CT injection point (CTP), psi
1000
Pressure at wellhead (WHP), psi
500
0
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
Elapsed Time, min

Figure 20 Comparison of simulation results and field data for case #3

of simula tion results and field data for case #3 Figure 22 Wellbore profile for case

Figure 22 Wellbore profile for case #4

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0

1000

RIH/POOH and acidizing Unloading well with N 2 600 500 CT depth, m 400 Liquid
RIH/POOH and acidizing
Unloading well with N 2
600
500
CT depth, m
400
Liquid rate, LPM
300
Pressure at the circulation point(BHAP), psi
Pressure at CT injection point (CTP), psi
200
Temperature at the circulation point(BHAT), o C
100
WHP, psi
N 2 rate, m 3 /min
0
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
9000
N 2 rate(m 3 /min), Liquid rate(LPM),BHAT( o C)

Elapsed time, min

Figure 24 Field operation condition for case #4

SPE 124195

13

Simulated or measured liquid return rate at surface (gpm)

Simulated liquid rate at reservoir (gpm)

BHAP (psi), CT Depth (m)

N2 Pump Rate (scm/min)

18 100 Simulated reservoir liquid rate 16 50 14 12 0 Simulated surface liquid rate
18
100
Simulated reservoir liquid rate
16
50
14
12
0
Simulated surface liquid rate
10
-50
8
Measured surface liquid rate
6
-100
4
-150
2
0
-200
4000
4500
5000
5500
6000
6500
7000
7500
8000
8500
9000
Time, min
Figure 26 Simulated liquid rates for case #4
6000 45 Field Data - BHAP Simulated BHAP Field Data - CT Depth Simulated CT
6000
45
Field Data - BHAP
Simulated BHAP
Field Data - CT Depth
Simulated CT Depth
Field Data - N2 Pump Rate
Simulated N2 Pump Rate
40
5000
35
4000
30
25
3000
20
2000
15
10
1000
5
0
0
4000
4500
5000
5500
6000
6500
7000
7500
8000
8500
9000

Time, min

Figure 25 Comparison of simulation results and field data for case #4