The successful deployment and widespread adoption of downhole flow control systems across the industry has extended well life and reduce field development costs. This paper summarizes the evolution of downhole flow control technologies from the simple slickline operated sliding side doors in wells completed in multiple layers, to surface controlled downhole valves with infinitely variable chokes to advanced downhole architecture with sensors that monitor inflow performance and valves that facilitate multi-zone inflow optimization. The paper also identifies challenges for current systems and opportunities for research and development. A comprehensive and chronological history of flow-control equipment design families like Inflow Control Devices (ICD) and Interval Control Valves (ICV) are discussed to depict the evolution of field challenges and appropriate solutions. The lessons learned and best practices and compiled from literature review, input from subject matter experts and from the authors’ own experienceThe paper reviews the important downhole sensors that are deployed along with the tubing to continuously monitor well performance. Selected system architectures that incorporate a combination of one or more of the above technologies are discussed with an evaluation of their merits and demerits.

Through recent noticeable advancements in material science and sensing capabilities in oil and gas industry, designing a well completion is even more challenging. The advent of new and emerging completion technologies and growing computing power ratifies that the digital oilfield age is already in motion. Downhole surveillance through integrated sensors and gauges, large data analytics combined with machine learning and artificial intelligence has made a future for data-driven autonomous dynamic reservoir optimization possible. However, there needs to be a balance between feature additions and value additions to keep focus on the pivotal goal of producing oil at the lowest cost per barrel out of the ground. In addition, there should be an emphasis on total cost of ownership, reliability, and safety of equipment, especially as the complexity in the technologies increases. This is best accomplished through industry standards such as the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Advanced Well Equipment Standards (AWES), which serve as yardsticks for measuring the quality, reliability, and safety of new technology designs.

While advanced completion technology is created to enhance oil recovery, it is often more complex in design and field installation and comes at a higher cost than existing field-proven technologies. The authors introduce classification methods for such technologies based on function, feature and definition. The effort is to clarify the plethora of terminologies flooding the Oil field dictionary such as Autonomous, Automated, Active, Passive etc. This paper presents the pros and cons of existing and emerging flow control integrated technologies using a comparative matrix based on a total cost, perceived risk and realized value perspective, emphasizing reliability and a fit-for-purpose application approach. This can serve as a selection criterion guide to reservoir and production professionals.

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