This Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) field re-development of a giant offshore field in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires in most cases extremely long laterals to reach the defined reservoir targets. However, certain areas of the field show permeability and / or pressure variations along the horizontal laterals. This heterogeneity requires an inflow control device (ICD) lower completion liner to deliver the required well performance that will adequately produce and sweep the reservoir. The ICD lower completion along with the extremely long laterals means significant time is spent switching the well from reservoir drilling fluid (RDF) non-aqueous fluid (NAF) to an aqueous completion brine.
To reduce the amount of rig time spent on the displacement portion of the completion phase, an innovative technology was developed to enable the ICDs to be run in hole in a closed position and enable circulating through the end of the liner. The technology uses a dissolvable material, which is installed in the ICD to temporarily plug it. The dissolvable material is inert to the RDF NAF while the ICDs are run into hole, and then dissolves in brine after the well is displaced from RDF NAF to completion brine, changing the ICDs from closed to an open position. The ability to circulate through the end of the liner, with the support of the plugged ICDs, when the lower completion is deployed and at total depth (TD), enables switching the well from RDF NAF drilling fluid to an aqueous completion brine without the associated rig time of the original displacement method. The technique eliminates the use of a dedicated inner displacement string and allows for the displacement to be performed with the liner running string, saving 4-5 days per well. An added bonus is that the unique design allowed for this feature to be retrofitted to existing standard ICDs providing improved inventory control.
In this paper the authors will demonstrate the technology and system developed to perform this operation, as well as the qualification testing, field installations, and lessons learned that were required to take this solution from concept to successful performance improvement initiative.