Downhole fluid analysis (DFA) has proved to be an effective technology for assisting in understanding reservoir dynamics, fluid distribution, reservoir compartmentalization and in-reservoir processes. Until recently, DFA technology was only available with wireline-conveyed tools. It was typically performed after the well had been drilled, limiting the ability for real-time decision making. The recent advent of logging-while-drilling (LWD) DFA technology — also known as fluid mapping-while-drilling (FMWD) — allows operators to make informed and timely decisions early on well construction, landing, geosteering and completion without pulling out of hole. This paper presents the results of an FMWD campaign by Repsol in Malaysia.
FMWD technology was deployed in five wells with different objectives but with the common goal of enabling real-time decision making prior to the bottomhole assembly (BHA) reaching the surface. The FMWD objectives were to assess reservoir connectivity, monitor pressure depletion, measure CO2 content, and differentiate between formation fluids (gas, oil, and water). For exploratory targets, the service was run to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons and to assess in-situ fluid properties. In a highly deviated well, the technology was used to confirm fluid properties for geosteering the wellbore through a targeted zone if it proved to be oil bearing.
The campaign was very successful, and the objectives were fully achieved. With the completion of more than 130 pressure tests, a comprehensive and complete pressure profile was obtained in each of the five wells, allowing for the selection of the most appropriate depths for DFA fluid scanning and sampling. Twenty-four DFA stations enabled clearly identifying fluid types in various exploratory and appraisal targets. This information was then used to make key decisions on well landing and completion strategy. In addition, CO2 was systematically identified and quantified by the tool optical spectrometers; thereby, accurately mapping its distribution across the field. Real-time data transmission using mud pulse telemetry allowed for real-time monitoring and important operational decision making. In some cases, only 15 minutes of pumpout was sufficient time to identify the movable reservoir fluid phase. In other cases, physical downhole fluid samples were collected once the mud filtrate contamination had sufficiently decreased below the predefined acceptable limit. In general, the time on each station was brief, which was attributed to reduced depth of filtrate invasion because FMWD operations took place soon after drilling.
This paper presents the lessons learned from introducing of the FMWD service in exploration, reservoir management and geosteering, within the same five-well drilling campaign. Until the present time, this technology was only available using wireline. However, the introduction of LWD DFA has been found to be disruptive for reservoir management, drilling, completion, and geosteering applications, similar to the way formation pressure-while-drilling (FPWD) was a gamer changer for the drilling industry when introduced in early 2000s.