The Arta fields of Egyptian Eastern Desert are operated by Petrodara, a joint venture of Transglobe Energy and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). The main producing horizon is the Nukhul and formation pressure measurements are critical in this poorly sorted conglomerated marl in order to understand and model depletion. However, low permeability and high viscosity oils contributed to a very low mobility environment that presented considerable challenges to Wireline Formation Tester (WFT) tools. Extensive testing programs resulted in an excessive amount of tests that were unusable, being classified as ‘dry’, ‘tight’ or ‘supercharged’. This low mobility environment also complicated the requirement for PVT samples acquired with the WFT tools. Normal testing operations resulted in very high drawdowns that sampled below formation pressure and caused emulsions with the filtrate of the water based drilling fluid.

In this paper we discuss how the Operator and the Service Company combined to employ fit for purpose WFT techniques to acquire accurate formation pressure data and PVT quality oil samples. Most of our discussion will be based on understanding the dynamics of pretesting in low permeability formations and how the optimal tool and pretest design can produce results where previous attempts have failed. Specifically we consider the newest ‘pretest only’ WFT that provides very fine control over pretest rate and volume and allows precise test design that is not possible with conventional WFT tools. Additionally, we demonstrate the application of best practices and lessons learned from worldwide sampling operation to acquire PVT quality heavy oil samples.

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