Technical Paper: Redevelopment of a Previously Uneconomic Reservoir from a Mature Oil Field, Offshore South China

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 172692
Presentation Date: 2015
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After more than 20 years of intensive production in XiJiang oil field, a sand group that consists of multiple reservoirs with a thin oil column of less than 4 m and with strong bottom water drive has been revisited. Some assessments were made previously, including drilling horizontal wells with average recovery factor of only 2.3%. 

In early 2013, new horizontal well drilling was initiated to reassess these reservoirs with a different approach. The objectives were to optimize the standoff between the lateral and the oil/water contact, which is very critical to well performance, by placing the lateral as close as possible to the reservoir top and to evenly regulate the downhole flow across the draining lateral. 

The program was successful in reassessing the development reservoirs in the mature oil field that had previously been considered to be uneconomic through a reentry horizontal well drilling program and the implementation of the best practices in operations. 

The operational practices included the precise landing and lateral placement of horizontal wells and the use of inflow control devices (ICD) for completion. Logging-while-drilling (LWD) bed-boundary mapping, with the ability to map multiple key boundaries, including fluid contact for precise well placement, was integrated with multifunction formation evaluation LWD, which provides real-time formation evaluation to optimize the ICD design for completion. 

Outstanding outcomes have been observed upon the completion of the well: 

  • producing with 1,600 BOPD with 5% water cut 
  • achieving 56% higher cumulative incremental oil than the best previous horizontal well 
  • exceeding the economic level threshold to develop. 

Comparison of new and the past well performance support the acquisition of the new field data. The successful approach, best practices, and valuable lessons learned provided a breakthrough in developing the previously unexploited reservoir.

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