Located in the Bjarmeland Platform area of the Barents Sea, Norvarg was discovered by Total in 2011 via wildcat well 7225/3-1, with gas being confirmed in both Jurassic and Triassic formations. A drill stem test (DST) was performed in the Triassic Upper Kobbe formation, but with non-commercial well productivity resulting. The post-DST vision for Norvarg was for stacked heterolithic tidal bar sands connected by large channel sands having better reservoir properties than tested in the first discovery well.

The objectives of the follow-on Norvarg-2 appraisal well, drilled in 2013, included verifying the presence of the channel sands defined from seismic, quantifying the channel productivity and demonstrating the contribution of other Kobbe facies by performing an extended duration pressure buildup (PBU). It was a requirement that the selected PBU monitoring method would allow the well to be permanently abandoned in accordance with Norwegian legislation without any requirement for further well intervention. This was achieved by using an emergent new electromagnetic (EM) wireless reservoir monitoring technology, which allowed the pressure buildup to continue undisturbed beyond the end of the DST and final well abandonment.

EM wireless monitoring technology is already well established as a means to monitor the reservoir pressure and temperature in abandoned appraisal wells, or suspended development wells, for the purpose of interference testing and reducing uncertainties in connectivity. However, this was the first time that it has been directly applied to monitor a long term PBU beyond final abandonment of a subsea appraisal well. By analysing the pressure transient data the objective was to investigate the presence of any flow barriers in the reservoir that might not be detectable during the course of a typical short duration pressure buildup performed during a DST.

This paper presents a case study of the first time application in the Barents Sea of a post-abandonment wireless monitoring solution that successfully delivered high quality reservoir pressure and temperature data for a period of 9 months beyond the end of a DST. Analysis of the data provided clear evidence of internal flow barriers, located 130m and 280m from the wellbore, that were not observed during the normal DST period. This data proved the limited connected volumes and confirmed the requirement for additional development wells, compared with what was known prior to performing the test. This was important information to support the construction of the full field model and the further evaluation of the Norvarg prospect.

Due to poor reservoir properties and disappointing deliverability, no viable development concept was identified for Norvarg, even with an increased well count and using fractured vertical and horizontal wells. The license for PL535 was subsequently relinquished in May 2014.

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