The South Arne Field, located in the Danish sector of the North Sea, has been producing oil and gas since 1999 with an active waterflood since 2000. Producers and injectors are primarily horizontal with sliding sleeve completions targeting both the Ekofisk and Tor chalk formations. South Arne is currently in exploitation modewith a new (Phase III) development program. Phase III includes two new platform installations, a two-kilometer umbilical bundle and an eleven-well drilling program targeting the northern extension of the field. This paper discusses the first five Phase III wells, focusing on stimulation design, lessons learned from the fluid testing, experiences, and the continuous improvement of the operational execution process.
New producer and injector stimulation designs are generally based on a pad-acid procedure in which a cross-linked gel pad is followed by an in-situ cross-linked hydrochloric (HCl) acid treatment, to create viscosity contrast for diversion and differential acid fracture etching for sustained conductivity. The acid fracture treatment is then followed by a closed fracture acidizing (CFA) step to enhance near-wellbore fracture conductivity. For wells completed in zones that have the potential of short-circuiting to neighboring wells, lower rate and smaller volume HCl matrix treatments are pumped. The Phase III stimulations to date have been conducted through ball drop sliding sleeves, with the number of zones ranging from 10 to 14.
Establishing Phase III success has required extensive QA/QC testing to optimize the stimulation fluid systems and, in particular, the acid corrosion inhibition program. Use of real-time bottom-hole temperature measurements during stimulation treatments has enabled optimization of corrosion inhibitor loadings, resulting in both an environmental benefit and financial savings. The stimulation treatments are performed simultaneously with drilling operations, therefore extensive work was required to ensure that stimulation and drilling activities are safely executed without interference. Both platforms were initially designed to optimize productive time during stimulation operations, however as the project evolved, thorough risk evaluations pointed to the need to modify operating plans. Rigorous marine and vessel audits were performed to ensure that stimulation vessels could operate safely and effectively from both a marine and stimulation job execution standpoint. The design, testing and advance preparation for the South Arne Phase III program has resulted in safe and effective treatment execution.