Reservoir connectivity over production timescales is a key uncertainty impacting estimated ultimate recover (EUR) per well, and ultimately the economics of a development, but is difficult to address without production data (particularly where the reservoir is poorly defined by seismic). While appraisal well tests can be designed to help predict the performance of future development wells, high rig costs in deepwater means the test duration is often insufficient to investigate the volume that would be accessed under production conditions. Recoverable resources from a recent deepwater gas discovery were dependent on demonstrating significant reservoir connectivity and net reservoir volume; however, this was complicated by a lower delta plain interval that was dominated by sub-seismic reservoir elements.

This paper describes the acquisition and interpretation of long-term pressure build-up data in a plugged and abandoned deepwater appraisal well. To accomplish the test objectives at an acceptable cost, we turned to a novel combination of well testing, wireless gauge technology and material balance techniques to allow the collection and interpretation of reservoir pressure data over a planned period of 6 to 15 months following the well test. The final build-up duration was 428 days (14 months).

Three interpretation methods of increasing complexity were used to provide insights into the reservoir. Firstly, material balance was used to produce an estimate of the minimum connected reservoir volume. The advantage of material balance is that it requires very few input assumptions and produces a high confidence result. Secondly, we used analytical models in commercial pressure transient analysis software to investigate near wellbore properties and distances to boundaries. Finally, we used finite difference simulation models to investigate reservoir properties and heterogeneity throughout the entire tested volume. With increasing model complexity came additional insights into the reservoir properties and architecture but reduced solution uniqueness.

A key complication for the interpretation of the recorded pressure data was the potential for gauge drift to occur – this was incorporated into the uncertainty range used in all three interpretation methods. The observed relative performance for the various gauges used during the well test is also reported in this paper.

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