A case study is presented detailing the methodology used to place a non-damaging temporary isolation barrier in a group of naturally fractured, prolific gas wells in a field in Kurdistan. The temporary isolation facilitated removal of the original completion string and installation of the redesign. Wells were returned to production with-out the need to stimulate proving success of the non-damaging methodology employed.

Methods, Procedures, Process

The operator had 4 wells with OH sections ranging from 33-181m which were completed in the 1980’s - 1990's with no production packer. In order to preserve well bore integrity the completion string needed to be pulled and replaced by a string with production packer and DH gauges. A procedure was developed to fill the highly fractured OH with a mixed particle size CaCO3 carried into the wellbore by a non-damaging surfactant based gel. Caliper logs were not available and the presence of natural fractures posed a challenge to calculating the actual OH volume. A system was developed to carry the CaCO3 into the wellbore in stages and slickline was employed to measure fill after each stage. Once the OH was filled with CaCO3 and well would support a fluid column coil tubing was used to place an acid soluble cement plug in the short interval between casing shoe and end of tubing (8-10m)

Results, Observations, Conclusions

The first well in the campaign required more than 10 times the theoretical volume of CaCO3 to fill the open hole. It was concluded the surfactant gel was likely carrying the CaCO3 into the fractures. The procedure was modified to tie in a line of breaker solution to the well head allowing sufficient viscosity of the fluid to carry the CaCO3 from surface but immediately lose viscosity and allow the CaCO3 to settle in the wellbore without being carried into the formation. Specific coil tubing procedures were employed to allow the setting of ultra-short acid soluble cement plugs (<10m). All wells were successfully isolated to allow the safe workover of the completion string and returned to production with no loss of gas flow, with-out the need to stimulate after the work over.

Novel/Additive Information

The campaign exhibited a new method of employing existing technologies to achieve the objective in a highly challenging and relatively new oilfield of Kurdistan. The campaign also demonstrated the benefit of the operator and service company closely collaborating on each step of a novel process. The workovers would not have been successful with-out the close collaboration of the two companies.

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