With continual increase in water production from maturing reservoirs comes the expense of installation of surface handling equipment, disposal and environmental concerns and a reduction in production efficiency from hydrocarbon producing wells. These costs run into millions of dollars every year, dealing with this problem. The operators of these wells have utilized differing technologies and procedures in efforts to control production of these unwanted fluids. Water shut-off applications in one way or another are an everyday part of well servicing work. Some of the methods and practices currently used today to help combat this problem include, placement of cements, plugging back the zone with the aid of mechanical isolation devices, pulling the completion and performing work-overs, and the utilization of purposely designed cements or chemical water blocking agents. Initial efforts to utilize such fluids proved encouraging but methods were required by the operators in order to allow accurate placement of these chemicals. Some of the drivers are;

  • Economics, in terms of the relatively high cost of such fluids and;

  • The reaction of such water blocking chemicals when placed incorrectly within producing formations and the inability to reverse engineer such misplacements.

Couple these problems with the well geometry to be worked in and the solution of placement can be seen to involve many diverse complications. For this reason the requirement for innovative through-tubing zonal isolation solutions has never been greater. Through-tubing inflatable technology has, for some time now, been providing high-expansion devices in order to provide our industry with an economical and reliable method of isolating and placing water blocking treatment fluids. In this paper we will focus on current inflatable tools that are available today and how they can be utilized to provide cost effective water shut-off solutions at the source of the problem.

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