For many years, Saudi Aramco and Schlumberger have collaborated to develop a downhole system to merge multilateral technology and intelligent completions to create the world's first "smart laterals." This was the vision of Saudi Aramco's push to drive ever higher recovery factors, an extreme reservoir contact (ERC) approach to reservoir management. These wells can contain upward of 20 km of reservoir contact and require appropriate compartmentalization to ensure uniform heel to toe production throughout the reservoir.

Proactive reservoir control is crucial for the efficient sweep of heterogeneous formations. This paper describes a full-scale multi-lateral, multi-compartment intelligent completion where many new technologies were integrated and demonstrated:

  • Well construction and deployment practices to allow electrical umbilicals to be branched into laterals using inductive couplers.

  • Deployment of revolutionary low power infinite position electrical flow control valves.

  • Validation of a fully integrated production monitoring system providing direct downhole measurements of pressures, temperatures, flow rates, and water cut for each compartment.

  • Integration of the surface acquisition and monitoring system with production SCADA to provide real-time downhole production information and health status.

The ability to finely control downhole flow, measured directly at the reservoir face, has changed the way the industry will approach reservoir management. The sensing system has been validated with continuous compartment Productivity Index (PI), and multirate testing without shutting in the well. The SCADA integration allows a real-time management function where a compartment can be controlled to a target flow rate or draw down directly without resorting to traditional well system models to estimate choke orifice settings.

This paper highlights the development, installation, and validation of this new ERC well system and identifies some of the immediate production impacts emerging from this level of visibility and control at the formation face.

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