Obtaining accurate and representative well testing information is critical for the proper characterization of a reservoir, with confidence and quality of data being of paramount importance during a well test. Over the last few years, well testing has become real-time enabled, following in the footsteps of drilling, wireline logging and production operations. However, making a better well test is not just about enabling the technology. It is also about ensuring that the right people have access to the right data and that adequate decision-making processes are available. This requires that reservoir engineers are trained in operational aspects, rig crew are able to communicate and implement remotely taken decisions, and the “end-users” of the well test are fully engaged in the real time monitoring, analysis and execution processes.
The real-time well testing approach presented in this paper is the result of the evolution from basic real-time data transmission to a reliable real-time data delivery and analysis infrastructure that has taken place over the last five years. Throughout the 100 real-time well tests completed in the North Sea, the workflows used to process and analyze the data have evolved significantly, enabling the processed information to be leveraged for decision-making and to update test programs. Recently developed downhole tools and components controlled remotely via a wireless acoustic telemetry system, and providing real-time access to downhole pressure data, have enhanced and broadened the applicable workflows and capabilities.
This paper also presents the evolution of remote connectivity systems and the exploitation of their technical capabilities to their full potential so that off-site experts can witness, collaborate and support operations on a 24/7 basis. By these means, the right expertise can be utilized regardless of location. In addition, we present several case studies where real time data delivery, remote monitoring and support were crucial for continuous quality assurance and for successful pressure transient analysis which led to better reservoir characterization. The change in the mindset of management in both operating companies and service suppliers is essential to ensure that the power of real-time enabled well testing is fully leveraged.