Saudi Aramco has recently initiated a change in gas well design in the Ghawar field of Saudi Arabia. The new approach is to drill deviated cased hole gas wells through the reservoir to increase the length of contact of the productive zone and thereby increase production potential. Typical gas wells were drilled as a vertical cased hole through the reservoir or open hole horizontal gas wells.

The increased well deviations, measured depths and resultant increase in reservoir sections required a new approach to the perforating solution for these wells to connect them to the gas plants. Various techniques were reviewed, considering safety, operating efficiency and well performance. The final solution was to deploy the perforating systems on electric coiled tubing (CT) and run all the guns in one run using completion insertion and retrieval under pressure (CIRP) as a deployment system, which allowed the guns to be run and pulled under live well conditions without having to kill the well.

This paper details the learning curve and lessons learned from the implementation of this technique in five gas wells. The deployment system and pressure control equipment were optimized to satisfy Saudi Aramco’s requirement for three barriers. A CT cleanout run was added before perforation to remove any debris from the wellbore causing a problem to the depth correlation tools. An existing CT tower was used to support the very long wellhead stack, but due to its height limitation a special solution was implemented to enable safe CT operations. A deployment system under live well conditions was used to minimize CT runs, operating time and cost savings. The static underbalance condition was set before running the guns, combined with the dynamic underbalance perforating technique and deep penetrating charge gun design were implemented to optimize the well performance. This technique allowed safe and efficient perforating in a single underbalance run of these five gas wells.

The paper also covers the planning of the perforating solution, health, safety and environment (HSE) considerations, equipment selection, operational procedures, job execution and results.

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