A comprehensive numerical and analytical assessment of water coning in a heavy oil field in Northern Kuwait is presented in this study. Several wells were investigated in light of possible coning affect. Based on the lessons learned from the field data and modeling efforts, a coning envelope is generated and possible mitigation actions are explored. The complex geologic and stratigraphic architecture of the reservoir with underlying oil-water contact presents a unique challenge to achieve water-free oil production in this field. The field produces average 150 API crude of 50-100 cp at 100° F.

Production data from wells from different structural locations were history-matched using numerical simulations on single well models (including type well models). Model runs were extended to estimate critical liquid rate to avoid coning. Additionally, critical rates assessed from several analytical models were compared against those from the numerical simulations.

Critical liquid production rates for different areas of the field have been assessed based on the coning envelope generated. Further works showed that the critical rate is also a strong function of operational, reservoir and fluid parameters as well as completions standoff from current oil-water contact (OWC). Since the current oil API is very close to that of water, the critical rate is not a strong function of the density difference of the reservoir fluids, however, difference in the fluid viscosities displayed a some degree of impact on the coning rate. Operational results also showed that average of 15 ft standoff from the existing OWC is critical to avoid imminent coning. This presents an important opportunity for efficient completion decisions of a candidate well. The most significant new finding is that two analytical models evaluated during this study indicated that these models have limited capability to assess the critical rate from the heavy oil reservoir, and appear to have high degree of sensitivity to oil viscosity.

This paper provides an integrated approach to assess and manage water cone in a heavy oil recovery project. Generated coning envelope provides a tool for a proactive strategy for rate management including opportunities for strategic well completion decisions. Another noteworthy assessment is that the existing analytical models have significantly limited capability to model water coning behavior in a heavy oil reservoir.

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