Real-Time Surveillance and Optimization of Wells with Intelligent Completions in Ecuador
Producing from mature oil fields in Ecuador introduces many reservoir
challenges, including multizone oil production and artificial lift demands due
to high water cut. Traditionally, dual-string completions with sliding sleeves
and dual electrical submersible pumps (ESP) were used to access different
reservoir layers and obtain back allocation with standard surface well testing.
One operator adopted intelligent completions (IC) well design with flow
control valves and gauges that allowed single-string configurations, reducing
the number of ESPs required to address lift issues. Production is commingled
downstream from the flow control valves that independently adjust production
from each layer. Unlike traditional dual completions, this intelligent
completion is versatile and simplifies workovers, precluding the need to pull
the entire lower completion.
High-frequency real-time gauge data acquired from intelligent
completions is applied intermittently to analyze pressure build tests and
estimate reservoir properties.
The paper outlines the pilot project implemented to realize the value of
the intelligent completions by monitoring production parameters (layer flow
rates, water cut, and productivity index) through 24/7 surveillance and
periodic optimization using a software solution.
The software was connected to a real-time data source that gathered data
from intelligent completions (downhole pressure and temperature gauges, and
valve position sensors) and automatically calculated drawdown, fluid gradients,
etc., in real time. It enabled users to study trends in real-time and
historical data, and set alarms for unexpected well production variations like
increasing water cut, scaling, and slugging. During the pilot project,
optimization cases were performed and presented to the production team with
recommendations about choke positions to achieve the highest oil production.
Production engineers responded to the changes by modifying ESP
frequency, changing valve choke positions, and cycling valves to optimize
production and improve operational efficiency.