A brown field, offshore Sarawak, Malaysia, with multiple sub-layered laminated sands of varied pressure regimes and mobility ranges, was challenged by depletion, low mobility and uncertainty in the current fluid types and contacts. Optimal dynamic fluid characterization and testing techniques comprising both Wireline and Logging While Drilling (LWD) were applied in nine development wells to acquire reliable formation pressure data and collect representative fluid samples including fluid scanning. Some of the latest technologies were deployed during the dual crises of falling oil price and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The S-profile wells were drilled using oil-base mud (OBM) with an average deviation of 60 degrees. Formation Pressure While Drilling (FPWD), Fluid Sampling While Drilling (FSWD) and wireline formation testing, and sampling were all utilized allowing appropriate assessment of zones of interest. Various probe types such as Conventional Circular, Reinforced Circular, Elongated, Extra-Elongated and Extended Range Focused were used successfully, ensuring that the right technology was deployed for the right job. Formation pressure and fluid samples were secured in a timely manner to minimize reservoir damage and optimize rig time without jeopardizing the data quality. As a classified crisis due to the pandemic, rather than delaying the operations, a Remote Operations Monitoring and Control Center was set-up in town to aid the limited crew at rig site.

A high success rate was achieved in acquiring the latest formation pressure regimes, fluid gradients, scanning and sampling, allowing the best completion strategy to be implemented. With the selection of the appropriate probe type at individual sands, 336 pressure tests were conducted, 44 fluid gradients were established, 27 fluid identification (fluid-id / scanning) pump-outs were performed, and 20 representative formation fluid samples (oil, gas, water) were collected. Amongst the Layer-III, Layer-II and Layer-I sands, Layer-I was tight, with mobility < 1.0 mD/cP. Wireline focused probe sampling provided clean oil samples with 1.4 to-3.7 wt. % OBM filtrate contamination. The water samples collected from Layer-II during FSWD proved to be formation water and not injection water. The wells were thus completed as oil producers. Reliable fluid typing and PVT quality sampling at discrete depths saved rig time and eliminated the requirement of additional runs or services including Drill Stem Testing (DST).

This case study has many firsts. It is the first time where latest fluid characterization and testing technologies in both Wireline and LWD were deployed for an alliance project in Malaysia and that too during dual crises of falling oil price and the pandemic aftermath. Overcoming various challenges including limited rig site manpower, there was no delay in completing the highly deviated wells with tight formations in a single drilling campaign and provided rig time savings.

For the purpose of this case study, two wells have been discussed. First well used the wireline focused sampling technology and the second used the FSWD technology.

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