A Gulf of Mexico case history is presented that describes the successful delivery of two (2) deep (27,000-ft) high pressure (>17,500-psi) high rate design (25,000 BOPD) oil wells in an ultra-deep water (+6000-ft) environment. Well conditions, coupled with challenging production requirements (depletion of 10,000-psi), provided a very arduous design challenge. One well was completed as a single frac pack at 27,000-ft MD. The second well required a stacked frac pack at 25,000 ft-MD and intelligent flow controls.
Twenty-seven (27) firsts, to the industry and / or Noble, were required to deliver the final completion designs. These firsts ranged, to name a few, from a new tieback casing material, a paradigm change in the Temporary Abandonment (TA) procedure (which yielded a cost savings of $15 million per well), a new perforating charge, qualification of a new material for the Gravel Pack (GP) packer, weighted frac fluids, changes in the upper completion designs, Vacuum Insulated Tubing (VIT) welding qualification and re-design of a control line Y-block. Any one item or any single technology gap, is seldom insurmountable. However, it is the layers and the multitude of challenges in these type of environments, where every component and their interdependencies are stretched to the edge of the design envelope that pushes the completion team and suppliers to their limit. All of these together make the goal of flawless execution very challenging. This paper will provide an overview from design thru operations, and highlight some of the engineering challenges and lessons learned.
A field proven completion delivery process combined with a team of experienced people and rigorous procedures successfully designed and delivered two (2) complex completions that were on the edge of deep-water completion technology. Based on the Rushmore Review database, both wells (1 single GP and 1 single selective GP) were the fastest completions (when analyzed on a well depth basis) since Macondo. Both wells were completed in 2015, and are currently waiting on final hook-up and commissioning. First oil is forecast for July 2016.
Industry will continue to explore ultra-deep water and discover deeper and higher pressure reservoirs that push the completion technology envelope. It is imperative that engineers be able to confidently design and deliver completions for this extreme environment that will achieve the productivity and reliability required by the project economics. The aim of this case history is to provide the engineer, faced with similar challenges, with information that may prove beneficial in the approach, method, design and delivery of these type of complex, critical completions.