Horizontal wells have provided operators a way to maximize reservoir contact, improve sweep efficiency and well productivity. Conventionally completed horizontal wells present a high risk of gas cusping and water coning that can significantly affect the well's effectiveness. Preventing early unwanted fluid breakthrough is key to the well's success, hence it is critical that an even production influx profile along the entire wellbore is achieved.

The production profile along the wellbore is affected by various parameters, including: heterogeneity with respect to the permeability and reservoir pressure along the wellbore, the presence of fractures, and frictional effects. Inflow control devices (ICDs) were developed to delay gas/water breakthrough, maximize sweep, and reduce — even potentially eliminate — future well intervention.

ICDs have become a mainstream completion tool in Saudi Arabia. With each ICD completion deployment, a better understanding is gained with respect to deployment and installation of the lower completion, as well as a greater insight to how to achieve optimum reservoir management. Analysis gained from the previous wells has helped capture a substantial amount of best practices and lessons learned.

This paper intends to capture the lessons learned after more than 10 years of deployment of inflow control completions in Saudi Arabia. The main topics that are to be discussed are:

  • ICD types, the optimum operating envelope, and new technological advancements

  • Optimum ICD design approach

  • Open hole packers

  • Deployment systems

  • Best operational practices and their potential impact

This paper provides a guideline for designing a well with ICD completions, and explains how the advancement in technology impacts cost, time and reservoir management.

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