The Upper Shuaiba reservoirs in Lekhwair consist of carbonate formations extending over a very large area (40 km × 40 km). Earlier development projects identified thicker, well-appraised formations, resulting in successful waterfloods. In contrast, challenges have been encountered in some of the waterflood pilots attempting to unlock future development areas. An integrated evaluation of these poor performing areas led to the development of a rock type catalogue that mapped out different rock types and their properties. Initial developments were mostly in high permeability rock types (Rudist Rich and Grainstone) whilst the underperforming pilots are associated with microporous rock characterized by low permeability (~1 mD) and thin formations (2-5m). These microporous rocks are associated with a large hydrocarbon volume in place. Resolving this development challenge is critical in maintaining the company's long-term production targets.

Waterflood is the preferred development concept as it is in line with the existing facilities and infrastructure. The existing pilots demonstrate that low water injectivity/throughput is the key challenge to waterflood feasibility. Conventional acid stimulation does not work in these formations. Four different initiatives, in addition to injection water quality monitoring and improvements, are being tried to ensure successful maturation of microporous resources:

  1. Abrasive Jetting: used to create small tunnels up to 3m into the reservoir.

  2. Controlled Directional Acid Jetting: using acid to create multiple small laterals (up to 12 m in length) into the reservoir.

  3. Designer Acid: acid tailored to improve conventional acid stimulation.

  4. Fracture Aligned Sweep Technology (FAST) as implemented in Halfdan field; which creates longitudinal fractures along the length of the well.

The outcome of this study includes identification and mapping of the different rocktypes across the entire Upper Shuaiba; waterflood performance assessment of microporous rocks and new technology trials to accelerate the development of microporous resources. Whilst abrasive jetting has achieved limited success in improving injectivity, result from designer acid stimulation was disappointing. The other two trials are still under evaluation. In case all the initiatives fail to establish the feasibility of waterflood, alternate developments mechanisms are proposed as Phase 2 in the strategy.

This paper highlights how integration between different disciplines can help in maturation of a large resource volume, whilst accelerating its development by standardization of designs.

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