Carbonate reservoirs require effective acid stimulation to improve well productivity. For long horizontal wells, a complicating factor has previously been the difficulty of controlling acid placement along the reservoir section. The Smart Liner (SL) concept solves this problem. It consists of a number of small holes spaced in such a way so as to distribute acid evenly along the reservoir interval.
Fig. 1 shows a schematic of the concept. Without the need of a coiled tubing, acid is bull-headed at a high rate from surface through the production tubing and enters the liner from the left. The liner does not have to be horizontal but very often is. When acid reaches the first hole, which typically has a diameter of 3–6 mm, the pressure drop across the hole is so large that only a small portion of the acid exits the liner through the hole; the remaining acid continues along the liner until it reaches the next hole where the process is repeated. Appropriate hole spacing ensures that acid is distributed with a given acid coverage (dosage) in barrels of acid per foot of reservoir section. The small cross-sectional area of the holes results in focused acid jetting at velocities often exceeding 20 m/s (65 ft/s). The jetting helps promote wormhole formation leading to substantial productivity enhancement.
The hole-spacing design requires dedicated software which must take into consideration constraints pertaining to the reservoir, the well, and the pumping equipment while minimizing operational complexity. The tool should also yield a quick answer to enable the user to optimize the final design post drilling and provide a running tally consisting of the sequence of liner joints to be run in hole. In heterogeneous reservoirs, it is typically required to segment the wellbore with swellable packers to isolate sections with different reservoir pressure and/or fluid mobility, and the SL concept readily accommodates that. Also, since the subsequent stimulation relies on matrix acidization, the tool must ensure that fracturing pressures are not exceeded.
The original limited-entry liner (LEL) technique dates to the early 1960s and was proposed for fracturing applications (SPE 530). Reviews by Somanchi et al. (SPE 184834) and Weddle et al. (SPE 189880) suggest that it is still widely applied for such purposes. In the late 1990s, Maersk Oil adapted the concept to effectively stimulate extended-reach wells in its North Sea chalk reservoirs on a large scale. Hansen and Nederveen (SPE 78318) refer to the technology as controlled acid jetting (CAJ). In the following years, the CAJ technique was implemented in more difficult formations such as a 0.1 mD chalk reservoir (SPE 144159) as well as in a tight, gas-bearing formation (SPE 123979). Balsawer et al. (IPTC 17611) designed multizone completions in ultralong wells in a giant field offshore Qatar, which comprised more heterogeneous limestone formations. Other field implementations have been described by Issa et al. (SPE 171779) for a super-giant reservoir offshore Abu Dhabi.
Past deployments have concentrated on extended-reach wells with reservoir temperatures up to 210°F. Over the past year, ADNOC has significantly expanded the operational envelope of the Smart Liner concept. Fig. 2 summarizes the variation in completed reservoir length and average permeability for 80 well designs. Table 1 shows that reservoir temperatures vary from 140°F to 300°F.