Formation damage during drilling and completion has often led to poor well test results and, in many cases, the wrong conclusions have been drawn. Poor productivity has been mistaken for poor permeability and connectivity. Reservoir potential has been hidden and assets abandoned.

However, the recognition of formation damage in unwanted assets has led to the re-evaluation of legacy drilling and production data. Two examples are presented which demonstrate the methodologies and techniques employed in an integrated solution for the recognition, diagnosis and mitigation of formation damage. In particular, return permeability tests on core in the laboratory are essential but must be coupled with a more rigorous validation of well test interpretations before reaching any decision on relinquishment or abandonment.

An integrated petrophysical, geomechanical and formation evaluation strategy can open up significant development opportunities in what were regarded as uneconomic oil and gas fields. In one case, the methodology resulted in a ten-fold increase in absolute well flow potential and the commercial development of the field.

The methodologies and workflows developed in these field examples mean that it is possible to drill and develop low permeability reservoirs economically without causing damage and avoiding the need for expensive stimulation through careful planning and design.

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