The Caspian offshore is a promising area for hydrocarbon accumulation. Since it is an offshore, it is a challenging area in terms of strict environmental regulations and safety. At the early stage of the project it was clear, that reservoir properties of the exploration well require artificial lift assistance to produce during well testing. Therefore, designing proper DST string with artificial lift was crucial to the success of well testing.
This paper describes the methodology to select the artificial lift solution for well test. It shows the unique combination of technologies and techniques that enabled a DST with ESP in combination with the Y tool, that provides capabilities to run thePLT below the pump. Also, one of the main challenges of well testing operation was to handle heavy oil fluid at surface. Being in environmentally sensitive area, designing a surface well testing equipment in a limited footprint, that enables efficient separation and disposal of heavy oil was very critical. Another challenge was unconsolidated formation with the high risk of sand production under drawdown, therefore downhole testing string and ESP pump supposed to withstand large quantity of solids during the production.
The key technology that enabled testing was a new generation of abrasion resistant ESP pumps, that are designed to handle extensive solids production. The heavy oil also posed a number of risks. The surface equipment was specifically designed to heat oil in the tanks and if required to mix with diesel before flaring operations.
Local regulation does not permit production during the night time and allows limited number of days for well testing. Therefore, well testing design must enable to acquire all necessary information within short period of test duration. The real-time data transmission and interpretation was a key to achieve main goal of the testing in exploration well - to accurately characterize the reservoir.
This was the first successful ESP-DST in Caspian Sea. Despite of many challenges, the technologies that were selected for well testing operation was proven to be reliable. This allowed Operator to untap previously not accessible hydrocarbon reserves.