Intelligent completions provide exceptional control over the wellbore, maximizing production and ultimate recovery. A new method of creating an intelligent completion is proposed which allows the critical components to be replaced without pulling the completion string. This paradigm shift enables incorporating newer technology, broader features, faster development time, and building a completion that can be tailored to the needs of the formation and the conditions in the market.
The oilfield has made use of through-tubing replaceable completion tools within completions for decades in the form of gas lift mandrels and similar devices. More recently, the types of replaceable tools have broadened to include completion tools such as replaceable inflow control devices and through-tubing pressure sensors. This paper describes building a replaceable intelligent completion that is a through-tubing retrievable part of the permanent completion.
Reliability in traditional completions is achieved by long-duration testing all of the components which results in designs that are technically conservative and a reliance on parts that have been previously proven. An intelligent completion where the critical components are replaceable is a paradigm shift. Replaceable downhole tools allow for retrieving and upgrading these tools as components fail, as the wellbore changes, as market conditions change, or as new technology arises. A retrievable completion also reduces the risk in the business case because the functionality of new tools can be evaluated with reduced upfront testing. The simplification of the business case further relaxes the intensity of component testing, which further reduces the development cost and continues to simplify the business case. For the electronics alone, retrievability reduces the development time, even including the acceleration with higher-temperature Arrhenius-style testing.
The new retrievable intelligent completion is a reconfigurable completion with simplified technological development and business case. The paper describes completion applications where these advantages outweigh the costs in intervention cost, replacement risk, and operational limitations.