Intelligent wells are becoming the buzz word in the oil and gas industry. Today the development and deployment of smart technologies are important drivers for improving well productivity and delaying early water or gas breakthrough in tight and challenging reservoirs.

Shaybah field, a low permeability reservoir overlain by a huge gas cap was initially developed in 1996 with one-km single lateral horizontal wells to effectively drain the hydrocarbon while reducing gas coning. A step development approach by increasing the reservoir contact to improve well productivity and performance was the basis for Maximum Reservoir Contact (MRC)1  concept. Maximizing reservoir contact through MRC wells was one of the measures taken in early 2002 to reduce gas coning and improve recovery. Results to date from 37 MRC wells have indicated a four fold increase in well productivities and a three fold decrease in unit development cost when compared to the one-km single lateral wells.

In addition, several advanced completion technologies such as downhole flow control systems (smart completions), expandable liners, and production equalizers were deployed in Shaybah Field. These technologies have shown major improvements to well performance and recovery. Smart controls assisted in optimizing production from each lateral in a multi-lateral setting in the event of premature gas or water coning. In addition, downhole smart completions improved well productivity in multi-lateral wells through an improved well cleanup process. Production equalizers when deployed in high GOR wells reduced gas coning by 50% and improved well productivity. To date, over ten expandable liners have been deployed as enablers to a workover strategy to convert single lateral wells to Multi-lateral/MRC wells thereby providing the platform for installation of downhole flow control systems. Shaybah Field holds several world records in the area of technology implementation; one of which is for the first MRC window to exit from 5-1/2" expandable allowing the placement of 2-7/8" ICV for inflow control. This paper will highlight how smart technologies have positively impacted field performance.

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