The use of smart completion with downhole fluid control through Inflow Control Valves (ICVs) has been extensively described in the literature for balancing the water injection profile and improving the sweep efficiency in commingled water injection. This paper describes the limitations of such a system in ensuring zonal distribution of water in stacked, highly heterogeneous reservoir systems.

Voidage replacement and pressure maintenance requirements necessitate waterflood under fracturing conditions in the four stacked reservoirs (Zone 1 to Zone 4) in Piltun field, offshore Sakhalin Island, Russia. These reservoirs are heterogeneous with differences in their permeability and fracture gradient. Consequently, smart injectors with four ICVs were planned to maintain the desired injection allocation in these reservoirs. The initial injectivity of these wells was extremely low with all of the injected water going to the deepest zone (Zone 4). An expensive pump upgrade improved the overall injectivity, with drastic changes in the distribution of the injected water amongst the reservoir layers. Contrary to performance prior to pump upgrade, the shallowest zone (Zone 1) emerged as the dominant receiver of injected water. Overall, the zonal distribution of water remained a problem with little success in injecting water in the remaining two zones (Zone 2 and Zone 3). Very limited improvement in the water distribution was obtained by manipulating the ICV valves.

Sector modeling was taken up for the injection wells to understand the injection behavior. Modelling results show that after the pump upgrade, fracturing was initially achieved in all zones, although sustained fracture opening and propagation was only possible in Zone 1, the reservoir with better flow properties and reasonably low fracture gradient. The other zones gradually reverted back to injection under matrix conditions with time. The additional pressure drop created by the flow control device is not sufficient to choke back the major zones and achieve sustained fracture growth and water injection in the minor zones in Piltun field. The results demonstrate that the use of intelligent completion for waterflood conformance can be limited by large stress and permeability contrast.

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