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SPE 154073

Application of Integrated Production and Asset Modeling for Sour Field


Development Planning
A. Alkindi, SPE and S. Linthorst, SPE, Petroleum Development Oman

Copyright 2012, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the EAGE Annual Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE Europec held in Copenhagen, Denmark, 4–7 June 2012.

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
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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.

Abstract
A key and challenging issue in the oil and gas industry is Integrated Asset Management, which
encompasses efforts from various disciplines to build a single integrated model that describes the whole
system. This paper presents an integrated production model (IPM), forecasting workflow and decision
making philosophy to develop two complex sour fields comprising three reservoirs in South of Oman.
The study involves two sour oil reservoirs (of different PVT properties, H2S concentrations) and drive
mechanisms and one sour gas condensate reservoir that is used to complement associated gas to give a
constant gas rate for export. Water injection and water handling are parts of the model.

The modelling couples subsurface dynamic 3D models (built using Shell’s MoReS reservoir
simulator), well models and surface network (built in GAP) and the interactions that occur in the
production system. The configuration involves three reservoirs, 19 oil and 3 gas producers, 12 water
injectors, one production station, three separators (low, medium and high pressure) and several flow lines
of different sizes. The main objective of the study is to optimize the developments of these reservoirs by
assessing the best design of surface network (plant capacity). The integration allows to assess the impact
of various station capacities; either liquid or/and gas, on the project profitability under different
operational scenarios such as injection rate, off-take, artificial lift and well phasing and their impact on
CAPEX and OPEX. The model also helps in identifying system bottle-necks, effects of back pressure,
mixing of fluids and flow assurance. The use of jet pumps as artificial lift mechanism was successfully
imbedded and optimized.

The paper describes the structure of the modelling, surface components, optimization strategy,
benefits and challenges of IPM deployment to choose the optimum field design. The results demonstrate
the importance and merit of field management in addition to accuracy and rapidness of production
forecast.

Introduction
Sour field developments bring unique challenges from engineering design and HSE perspectives. Input
from multiple engineering disciplines is a key to properly design a field development plan. Whereas
reservoir engineers mainly focus on the subsurface domain such as well optimisation, voidage
replacement and well count, production technologists on the other hand pay more attention on proper
well design and artificial lift. For such sour environments, facility and surface engineers examine facility
sizing and proper layout of different components such as compressors and power generators for safe
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operations. There is an increasing need to integrate these multi-disciplinary teams to ensure proper
decision making. This is particularly important since actual field productions may deviate substantially
from simulated field profiles. A reliable production forecast relies on the integration between reservoir
engineers, production technologists and surface engineers, since this integration exploits design
limitations of the overall system and thus project’s economics and NPV.

This work represents the workflow adapted to develop two sour fields in South of Oman
consisting of two oil reservoirs (A1 and A4) and one gas condensate (B4) reservoir. Subsurface response
was obtained from fully descriptive MoReS models and was coupled to a surface network model with all
associated gathering system, injection manifold and export line. The main objective is to design the sizing
of new facilities that will handle the produced fluids from these reservoirs and use the same forecasting
platform to support development decisions.

The fields of discussion are located in South of Oman, see Figure 1. Field A consists of two
overlying oil reservoirs (A1 and A4) although they not in communication, at a depth of 3000-3500 m.
Reservoir A1 is a platform carbonate reservoir (dolomite to dolomitic-limestone) underlying the South
Oman salt basin. It was discovered in September 2006. The oil has a solution gas-oil ratio (GOR) of 300
m3/m3 with a solution contaminant of 0.12 mole % H2S and 0.64 mole % CO2. The reservoir is supported
by natural aquifer. The perused development scope is to support the aquifer by water injection to hold the
pressure decline and to improve oil recovery. The reservoir is currently depleted using the existing three
oil producers with the scope of drilling one more producer and three injectors for the full field
development in mid-2019.

Reservoir A4 was discovered in October 2005. The reservoir has a solution GOR of 80m3/m3
with solution contaminant of 5 mol% H2S and 3 mol% CO2. The reservoir drive mechanism is pore
compressibility and fluid expansion, with very low recovery factor (~ 3%). Currently all wells are on lift
die-out as the historical production has depleted the reservoir pressure significantly. The reservoir has 7
wells in the oil bearing formation. For full development, the reservoir is to be water flooded, with an
additional drilling of 9 producers, bringing the total number of wells to 16, supported by 9 water
injectors. The selected lifting mechanism is jet pumps, which are chosen for flow assurance due to the
highly saline water in the reservoir (~ 380,000ppm).

Field B has one gas reservoir (B4), and is located in close proximity to field A. It was discovered
in August 2001. The reservoir is a carbonate (dolomite) “stringer” within the South Oman salt basin. This
sour gas has a CO2 and H2S contaminations of around 1 mol%. There are three existing wells in the field;
however they are not on production since there are no available facilities for gas sweetening and export.

Scope and Objectives of Integration


The scope of the work is design optimal station capacity to handle produced fluids, size of gas
compressions and optimize artificial lift. The developed workflow was used to couple 3D full field
reservoir models built with Shell’s simulator MoReS with one common surface facilities network, and
then to assess the economic evaluation of each production scenario. The integration enabled better
understanding of the interactions between reservoirs, wells and the surface network. The generated
production profiles were used to assess the risk and profitability of each scenario. The tools used in this
work are:

-Shell’s simulator MoReS, with history matched and peer reviewed models
-Petroleum Expert GAP to build the surface network
-Excel to set production prioritisation
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The proposal is to integrate the two oil reservoirs (A1 and A4) with the gas reservoir (B4). The work
focused on a range of development options, which led to:
- Waterflood the A4 reservoir plus the use of Jet-pump for artificial lift and flow assurance. Total
oil producing wells are 16 inc. 9 infill and 9 water injectors
- Water injection in the A1 reservoir with 3 water injectors to supplement natural aquifer and
deplete it using 3 oil producers
- Deplete B4 gas reservoir using the existing 3 gas wells

The nearest existing facility to the fields is BS which is 16 km from the fields. Furthermore this
facility can not handle water. All current production goes to this facility with minimum THP of 70 bar
and wells cut water will be shut in until the new integrated facilities are built to cater for all produced
fluids in mid 2019. Within the proposed new station, bulk fluids from the oil wells are produced to the
bulk fluid separator with a low inlet pressure of 3 bar, whereas gas wells are produced against an inlet
separator of 100 bar. The associated gas from A1 and A4 oil wells will be compressed to 100 bar before
being complemented with B4 gas and exported to sales point. The produced water will be reused for jet
pump power fluid following treatment. It should be noted that oil and gas fields have different
ownerships.

The task of integration was pursued using the Petroleum Experts (PETEX) software Integrated
Production Modelling (IPM) tool to allow integration of surface models with MoReS models. This
integration provides several advantages such as:
o Optimise oil recovery and NPV
o Provides individual reservoirs contribution
o Reservoir allocation (liquid and gas) between different owners
o Optimise gas compression capacity
o Design station capacity
o Phasing of wells to achieve plateau production
o Evaluate the impact of varying injection rate on the reservoirs performance

Another key advantage of the integration is to optimise water lift, which is not modelled in the MoReS
standalone models.

Integrated Production Modelling and Forecasting Workflow


IPM suite of tools has been used extensively in field development decision making (see Chow et
al, 2000; Acosta et al, 2005; and Ozdogan et al, 2008). It allows the coupling of subsurface models, well
models and surface networks to define a single forecasting model. IPM’s well-model PROSPER was
used to calculate pressure and temperature variations with the wellbore. The gravity-driven pressure
drops are very high in these wells since they are significantly deep. The surface network contains all well
models, flowlines and separators. The injection system contains all injection wells and injection
manifolds. The surface and subsurface models are linked via IPM’s master controller RESOLVE. The
inflow performance is passed by MoReS to GAP via RESOLVE, while the outflow curve of the well-
bore model is constrained by the surface network.

The workflow used in this study consisted of different steps; namely:


- MoReS and GAP modelling
- Prioritisation Logic implementation
- Quality Check
- Forecasting and Economics validation

The multi-disciplinary team framed the problem and provided the objectives of the integrated
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modelling, see Figure 2. Surface engineers provided key technical data and assumptions of the surface
network.

All MoReS models were initially upscaled; history matched and run on forecast mode to the start
of the project i.e. mid 2019. The constraints on wells were removed as the surface network will optimise
production and apply the necessary chokes. The surface network was then built in GAP, comprising the 3
reservoirs and the two separators; one for oil wells and the second for gas wells, see Figure 3.

The philosophy is to maximise oil production, therefore prioritise associated gas and then
complement it using B4 gas to export a fixed total gas rate. To do this, a logic was implemented in excel,
where each timestep is solved twice. In the first iteration, the system solves just oil reservoirs, optimises
oil production and then excels reads off associated gas rate. This rate is subtracted from the total gas
export and passed back as a constraint to GAP for B4 wells. This procedure is very important as it
ensures priority is given to associated gas otherwise the system will choke oil wells to meet gas contract
rate. The logic is schematically shown in Figure 4.

After the subsurface and surface models were coupled in RESOLVE, the full system was run for a
whole prediction mode. The response at different nodes was checked and wells response was cross-
checked against those obtained from MoReS standalone runs. This is extremely important validation step
as it ensures proper communication between the different applications in the system and provides
confidence in the tool reliability. It also shows if the system constraints were honoured or not and if there
are convergence problems in the models. This validation checks the physics of the system and whether
produced rates are physical or not. In this work, a very careful and systematic approach was pursued to
ensure consistency between the different modules, with rates and BHP pressures were continuously
checked throughout the runs. A typical QC plot is shown in Figure 5, where MoReS and GAP rates are
overlying each other confirming perfect match.

Integrated Model Optimisation


A key objective in integrated modelling is optimising the project portfolio by assessing the impact of
various parameters. In this work, the key parameters affecting oil production from subsurface point of
view are injection rate and water lift i.e. jet pump power fluid. A careful assessment into these two
variables was done to optimise the project NPV and boost cumulative recovery.

The base case water injection rate into the A4 reservoir was taken from the MoReS standalone
models and was run in IPM for cross-checking and validation purposes. As sensitivity, injection rate on
the A4 water injectors was relaxed to be as much as double the base case. The results are shown in Figure
6. It is apparent there is no incremental gain since the injection rate is balanced by the off-take from the
wells which are at their max liquid constraints. Thus, the model was run with the base case injection rate
in all subsequent runs.

A key parameter into the A4 wells performance is the water lift system as a means of artificial lift.
It also impacts surface facilities since this power fluid water will flow into the integrated facilities for
treatment; thus impact its sizing. At initial attempt, the power fluid rate was varied between 100 to 500
m3/d per well. The results showed that 300 to 400 m3/d was the optimum rate to balance the draw-down
in the tubing with increased water-column weight. In the second approach, the powerful optimisation
engine in RESOLVE/GAP was used to optimise oil rate by selecting or tuning the power fluid from nil to
max designed rate. The results are shown on Figure 7, for three different wells with different well
potentials and on different reservoir locations. It is apparent that 300-400 m3/d is the optimum rate. On
the same plot, water cut from one well is also shown, where the jet pump is switched on at very high
water cuts i.e. the system operates more efficiently without the excess weight of the heavy water column.
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It should be noted however, that the use of jet pumps as artificial lift method was also chosen for flow
assurance issues to prevent salt plugging of tubing and flow lines and thus to operate the jet pumps at
such very high water cuts imposes real risk on tubular plugging. Thus with the aid of this optimisation, it
was decided to operate jet pumps at 20% water cut, which would also allow oil acceleration since the
tubular is for sole use of reservoir oil till that water cut.

Concepts Studied
In general terms, two different concepts were looked at to integrate the oil and gas reservoirs. The first
concept assumes all oil wells from A1 and A4 reservoirs are produced to the new production station
(NPS) from day one i.e. mid 2019. This option allows acceleration of oil however there is large
expenditure on gas compression cost since A1 reservoir is very gassy one (GOR of 300 m3/m3) as this gas
needs to be compressed to 100 bar. It is estimated that compression 0.1 million m3/d of associated gas
costs more than 5 times than adding 1000 m3/d liquid handling capacity. Thus this option was
extensively looked at i.e. acceleration of oil vs. CAPEX increase. The second concept utilises the existing
facilities at BS station. Since this station doesn’t tolerate water and all A4 reservoir wells will be water
lifted, the assumption is that A4 wells flow to the new station from day one plus one well from the A1
reservoir, while the other two wells utilise BS station till they cut water (~ 1 %). When this happens,
these wells will then be diverted to the NPS. This option reduces gas compression costs but will not allow
as much acceleration as the first option since BS station is gas constrained. Liquid handling capacity will
be almost identical in both cases since most of this liquid comes from the A4 reservoir (reservoir oil and
water + water lift).

Within each concept, several scenarios were looked at to assess the impact of constraining gas
and/or liquid on cumulative recovery and the project NPV. Strictly speaking, these constraints were either
limiting associated gas or liquid handling capacity, or both in some cases.

Concept 1
This concept allows all oil wells to flow to the NPS, thus accelerating oil but on the expense of more
expensive gas compression. Another drawback is that less B4 gas will be required in the export stream
i.e. this gas will remain stranded for longer time bearing in mind it has a different ownership than the oil
field.

Within this concept, two broad scenarios were simulated assessing the impact of applying a
constraint on associate gas. IPM tool, beans back wells with high GOR on gas constraints and on water
cuts on liquid constraints, thus RESOLVE will apply chokes on A1 wells in order not to violate the
maximum gas constraint on the associated gas (AG) common manifold. The studied cases looked at
unconstrained AG and constrained AG by 20% of the max gas. The integrated profiles are shown in
Figure 8. It is apparent that in the constrained case, oil is deferred shortly, but the cumulative oil is
always the same. Thus, one needs to weigh the value of oil acceleration versus higher gas compression
requirements.
One notable observation in this concept is that oil peaks and then quickly declines and would be
impractical to build oil handling facilities to cater for this short-period peak in the NPS. A constrained-oil
case would be more acceptable although the full potential of the wells will not be realised.

To examine the logic of RESOLVE on choking the wells on gas constraints, cumulative oil from
the two reservoirs are plotted in Figure 9. It shows the A4 profile is always the same, whereas the A1
wells are choked to honour the AG constraints.
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Concept 2

In this concept, A4 wells flow to the NPS plus one well from the A1 reservoir. This decision was taken to
cater for possible early water breakthrough in the A1 reservoir. The remaining two wells from the gassy
reservoir are kept on BS station and are diverted to the new facilities once wells cut water (at 1%). This
concept reduces the need for gas compression and gives some acceleration to B4 gas, although the full
potential of A1 will not be realised in this concept since the wells are capped to a maximum gas
constrained in BS station. Furthermore, produced gas to BS is not counted as sale gas i.e. it is waste gas.

To properly model this station and the constraints, the following steps were taken. In the surface
network model, BS is modelled as a “sink”, with a fixed pressure of 70 bar and with maximum gas rate as
provided by surface engineers. The logic then becomes like this:

o Timestep = 0, two A1 wells flow to BS (with a THP of 70 bar) via masking flow lines to the NPS
o For time step >0, if water cut >1% at the wellhead, then divert flow to new station and re-solve
the time step again taking this condition into consideration. This is necessary to avoid having
“holes” or oscillations in the well profile at this timestep. This logic is simplified in Figure 10.

A similar approach on constraints was applied in this concept, but the unconstrained case was later
ruled out for the reasons mentioned above. After a careful economic assessment, an oil constraint was
applied, although other constraints were also tested as sensitivities. The purpose was to find optimum
constraints that would give acceptable oil acceleration and associated gas rates and some years of oil
plateau.
The results of this scenario are shown in Figure 11. The results clearly show an oil plateau for almost
4 years. Associated gas rates are much lower than in scenario 1, with two expected peaks as a result of
switching the two A1 wells from BS station to the NPS, which shows the logic implemented did work
correctly. There is a very smooth export gas rate with contributions from B4 steadily increasing. Such
diagnosis also helps in for example deciding when to blow down the B4 reservoir to meet export gas for
longer time. In addition, this work helps in properly phasing the wells to sustain the anticipated oil
plateau.

Conclusions
This paper discusses and summarises the challenges and results of integrated modelling for sour field
developments. It provided an effective and reliable tool for decision-making and for forecast and
economic evaluations. A notable observation is that such work stimulates cross-functions and multi-
disciplinary discussions. Some of the learning from this work is:

– IPM allowed proper selection of artificial lift mechanism and lift optimisation
– Troubleshooting of bottle-neck constraints
– Aided in well creaming exercise and well phasing
– Enabled accurate reservoir allocation of different ownerships
– Helped in design water injection and water handling facilities

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Petroleum Development Oman and Ministry of Oil and Gas for the
permission to publish this work. The contributions from all colleagues are highly appreciated and
acknowledged. Thanks are also due to PETEX for their support and advice.
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References:
1. Ozdogan, U; Keating, K.F; Knobles, M; Chawathe, A; Seren, D.: “Recent Advances and Practical
Applications of Integrated Production Modeling at Jack Asset in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico,”
paper SPE 113904 presentation at the 2008 SPE Europec/EAGE Annual Conference and
Exhibition held in Rome, Italy, 9–12 June 2008

2. Chow, C. V., Arnondin, M. C., Wolcott, K. D., Ballard, N.D.: “Managing Risks Using Integrated
Production Models Applications,” SPE 57473, Technology Today Series, pp 94-98, April 2000.

3. Acosta, L. M., Jimenez, J. , Guedez, A., Ledezma, E. A., Bello, J. A., Millan, A. J., Guzman, M.,
Marin, E., Gomez, F. J., Herrera, I.,: “Integrated Modeling of the El Furial Field Asset Applying
Risk and Uncertainty Analysis for the Decision Making,“ paper SPE 94093 presented at the 2005
SPE Europec/EAGE Annual Conference, Madrid, Spain, June13-16.
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BS facilities

Figure 1: Map of the Sultanate of Oman showing the location of Fields A and B in South Oman and the nearest existing
facilities (BS)

Figure 2: multi-disciplinary integration to build IPM model (courtesy to Ozdgan et al, 2008)
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Figure 3: Snapshot of Surface network model, showing the three reservoirs and oil and gas separators

Mask B4
i
Iteration 1

Reads off gas


Run A1 and A4 rate, Qag
reservoir

Un-mask B4 B4 Gas = Export- Qag

Run A1+A4+B4
Iteration 2

Export Gas

RESOLVE Excel

Figure 4: logic implemented in RESOLVE to prioritise associated gas


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0
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Date

Figure 5: QC of produced rates between MoReS (red) and GAP (black) rates

Figure 6: Optimisation sensitivity on injection rate, with two injection rate profiles coincide with each other the yielded
cumulative recovery is the same
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Figure 7: Optimisation sensitivity on power fluid rates

Figure 8: Integrated profiles for concept 1 with unconstrained and constrained gas, labels with _c refer to constrained
case
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Figure 9: Cumulative recovery of the two oil reservoirs where the gassy reservoir was choked to honour gas constraint

Time Step = 0 BS Station

No

WCT > 0
Time Step >0

Yes

NPS

Figure 10: Flow diagram for A1 wells at BS station


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Figure 11: Constrained case profiles in concept 2