Cantarell field produces a significant portion of the total oil production of PEMEX. Over the past few years, Cantarell oil production has been declining, mainly because of the maturity of the field. Sustaining oil production at current levels is a constant challenge for PEMEX, which is also attempting to increase exploration. One of the main challenges involves an increase in water production, which has led to wells being temporarily shut in until a workover rig becomes available. This waiting time could be years. Meanwhile, PEMEX is investigating alternative solutions to optimize rig utilization and offshore rigless workover options.

Recently, coiled-tubing-conveyed inflatable packers have become a key enabler when performing workover operations while the production tubing remains in place, which enhances timely and cost-effective intervention solutions. Through-tubing inflatable packers have successfully isolated zones during water-control treatments, cementing operations through coiled tubing (CT), and permanent zonal abandonment, thus enabling the operator to perforate the upper oil-bearing zones. The use of through-tubing inflatable packers for zonal isolation is now featured in the rigless workover plan for several wells, which is expected to deliver a significant increase in oil production.

This paper examines these recent applications of through-tubing inflatable packers in the region and presents the relevant well conditions and the criteria used for selection. It provides case histories and best practices from several through-tubing applications. Recommendations for job design, auxiliary equipment, and personnel competency are thoroughly discussed.

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