Well testing is a proven method for reservoir characterization, which is important for well-completion design, future development strategies, stimulation needs, and determining the commercial feasibility of the reservoir. This paper presents a surface data-acquisition system and its applications for rigless well-testing operations.

Drill-stem testing (DST), which is classified as a temporary completion of a well, typically involves a large and complex operation. A key activity during DSTs is collecting downhole pressure and temperature data using gauges at the bottom of the well that monitor pressure changes throughout the operation. Particularly crucial are the shut-in and initial build up, which provide insight into major reservoir properties. While shutting in the well at the bottom reduces the effects of wellbore storage, providing the most accurate downhole measurements, it also requires a rig and numerous personnel to prepare the well and run in hole (RIH) the test string. A rigless DST operation using a surface closure and surface data-acquisition system has been used in several wells to optimize data acquisition recovery as a non-invasive alternative to running downhole pressure gauges for pressure-transient well testing.

The effectiveness of the data-acquisition system provides advantages and accountability by avoiding the cost and risk of running equipment downhole and monitoring tests in real-time at surface.

The surface gauges acquire high-resolution pressure data at the wellhead during flowing and shut-in, which are then converted to bottomhole conditions using proprietary models. Because this technique is nonintrusive, it can be used to test wells in which downhole gauges are impractical or cost prohibitive, such as highly deviated, horizontal wells with tubing restrictions, sour-gas, high-pressure wells with high bottomhole temperatures, and low-cost evaluations. For mediumto high-permeability formations, a three-day test is typically sufficient to calculate basic near-bore and reservoir properties, including skin, permeability, and initial pressure. Longer tests that track pressure changes to reservoir boundaries can also be used to calculate the reservoir size.

The data-acquisition system has proven its efficacy after enabling a low-noise response and low-pressure changes resulting from temperature effects. Based on data provided by the data-acquisition system, the operator designed a well-testing campaign and achieved results typical of those expected using a conventional approach.

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