One of the largest oil fields in the GCC was developed in the 1960's. The field was initially produced under natural depletion supplemented by gas injection. The high offtake rates led to a rapid displacement of the gas/oil contact; thus, the field has now been suffering from early gas/water breakthrough and uneven fluid influx along with the horizontal wells. The reservoir has been on production for more than 50 years. Water/gas breakthrough from fractures being the major challenge which negatively affects wells oil production rates. Applying technology which can manage water/gas breakthrough in a cost-effective manner whilst allowing increased oil production was a key goal from operators in this field.
Passive Inflow Control Devices (ICD) were introduced to the global oil and gas market in mid/late-1990's, and the first generation of Autonomous ICD (AICD) that can help reduce more unwanted gas or water was first installed in 2007. ICD's successfully demonstrated that they could delay the gas and/or water breakthrough within horizontal wells, but they could not choke gas when the coning/gas-breakthrough occurred and along with limited abilities to stop unwanted water production. To help solve this problem, the Autonomous Inflow Control Devices (AICD-RCP) with a movable disc was introduced to the market and demonstrated reduction of gas production by 20-30% with similar gains in oil production. In this paper, the newest generation of Autonomous Inflow Control Valve (AICV) technology is presented. The AICV technology has a movable piston that can close and reduce the unwanted gas and water production by up to 95%. The application of AICVs discussed herein were deployed within several wells which had extremely high Gas Oil Ratio (GOR) and low oil production. The novel AICV technology can differentiate between fluid types based on viscosity and density. When undesired fluid (gas and/or water) starts to be produced, the AICV chokes the valve flow area gradually until completely shutting off, all without well intervention.
Well production performances are documenting the benefits of installing AICV completions. The results demonstrate the AICVs closing the zones with high gas production and favoring oil-rich zones. Majority of evaluated wells demonstrated clearly that the extremely high GOR was reduced; some wells have returned to solution GOR for more than two years, and at the same time, the daily oil production is increased.