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Water management

# Autonomous Valve Controls Excess Water, Gas Production To Increase Oil Recovery

## Autonomous Inflow Control Valve technology demonstrates significant benefits within first year.

Increasing sensitivity to oil price fluctuation requires operators to reduce costs of operation. A key component is collaborative management by operators and suppliers to reduce cost over the full life cycle of the operation. Much of the focus is on the equipment-purchasing strategy; nonetheless, effective technology such as an autonomous inflow control valve could also benefit the operating expenditure (OPEX) savings by enhancing oil recovery and reducing processing costs of excessive unwanted water and gas in surface facilities.

OPEX comprises labor, chemicals, consumables, infrastructure maintenance, transportation, disposal, and other utilities. Capital expenditure (CAPEX) may also be reduced for long-term projects, which generally comprise infrastructure such as pipelines, pumps, disposal wells, ponds/storage treatment facilities, and other associated utilities infrastructure.

## Case Study: Reduced Gas Production

A Middle East operator produced oil from a field with a gas cap since the 1960s. It has strong gas communication throughout its fracture network. Gas breakthrough occurred throughout the field, and many wells also suffered from a large increase in water production. Without downhole control mechanisms, the operator choked the wells back; in more severe cases, the high gas/oil ratio (GOR) made the wells unproducible, resulting in shut-in wells. Significant oil reserves and production remained stranded.

The operator applied AICVs in lower well completions for over 20 wells to manage the unwanted gas and water. The average oil production increased by more than 56%, gas production decreased by 80%, and the water cut was reduced from 80 to 26%. The reduction in water and gas ­production enabled a stranded, shut-in well to become economic and resulted in OPEX savings of over \$200,000 within the first year.

## Case Study: Gas Reduction in Ultralight Oil Retrofit

A carbonate oil field in the Middle East had significant gas communication through its fracture network. Gas breakthrough and a high GOR made the well unproducible. The reservoir oil viscosity is between 0.4 and 0.6 cP in contrast to gas at 0.02 cP. The operator shut in wells, resulting in stranded oil reserves and production. The reservoir, log, and production data were studied to design the well completion.

The operator applied AICV lower-well completions to manage the gas and allow oil production. Shutting in high-GOR zones with the valve redistributed the tubular drawdown to the oil-saturated zones, leading to increased oil production and total oil recovery from the reservoir.

Within the first 12 months of the well having been brought on line with the AICV retrofit completion, the operator earned a net gain of over 51 times the cost of the retrofit completion, including rig costs. The well has been stable for over 30 months at the time of this publication.

The AICVs increased the average oil production by more than five times from the lower well section and enabled the entire wellbore to contribute to oil recovery and reduced gas by 85%. The production logging (PLT) results of cumulative oil and gas along the well before and after installing the AICV are available in IPTC 20195.

## Case Study: Heavy-Oil Water Control

A sandstone oil field in western Siberia with an oil-saturated rim, an extensive gas cap, and underlying water is characterized by weakly consolidated sandstone and high-viscosity oil. The operator expected significant early water and gas breakthrough into the wellbore. The complex trajectory of long horizontal wells up to 2000 m and the presence of highly permeable channels, tectonic faults, and thin oil rim made the development of the project challenging.

Field experience indicated that the well could not effectively be operated without a flow control device. Various types of autonomous and active flow control devices were applied during the technology trial campaign and Phase 1 development.

The data in Fig. 4 show the following (SPE 196851):

• AICVs produce 70–80% less water vs. AICD
• AICVs produce 20–30% more oil vs. AICD

## References

Case Study: Utilizing Autonomous Inflow Control Valves Helps To Have Better Fahud Wells Production Performance. H. Maamari, PDO; M Abd El-Fattah and V. Mathiesen, InflowControl AS.  Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition, Alexandria, Egypt, 15–17 October 2019.

OTC 28860 Autonomous Inflow Control for Reduced Water Cut and/or Gas/Oil Ratio. A. Elverhoy, H. Aakre, and V. Mathiesen, InflowControl AS. Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, USA, 30 April–3 May 2018.

IPTC 20195 Gas Production Optimization Using AICV Technology. Z. Alali and A. Musharraf, Saudi Aramco; M. Abd El-Fattah and V. Mathiesen, InflowControl AS. International Petroleum Technology Conference, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 13–15 January 2020.

SPE 196851 Enhancing Efficiency of High-Viscosity Oil Development With Autonomous Flow Control Device. Case Study in Western Siberia. T. Solovyev, Sevkomneftegaz. SPE Russian Petroleum Technology Conference, Moscow, Russia, 22–24 October 2019.

Vidar Mathiesen is CEO and cofounder of InflowControl AS. He has been head of technical research support at Statoil’s research center, and has extensive experience in innovation and product development, qualification, modeling, installation, and evaluation of ICD/AICD as a leading research scientist at Statoil and Hydro. He has written several articles published in international journals and conferences, submitted several patents, and received various innovation awards. Mathiesen and Haavard Aakre are also the inventors of the Statoil-AICD, the RCP.

Brent Brough is CCO of InflowControl AS and has over 18 years of international experience, including managing and leading diverse global teams in Canada, Russia, UK, Norway, and UAE. He helped build large and small technology companies that delivered growth through their technology. Brough graduated from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in chemical engineering and holds an MBA from Warwick Business School in Global Energy.