A reservoir simulation study of different fishbone well designs performance compared to a base development well design of extra-long maximum reservoir contact (MRC) single lateral wells is presented. The objective is to compare different well design concepts in a waterflood recovery scheme to achieve production target rate and maximize resource value for economic development of an undeveloped tight carbonate reservoir. The studied reservoir is located in a giant offshore oil field in the Middle East and was used as a representation of the different tight reservoirs within the field. It is characterized by poor quality rocks with a permeability trending from 2 – 0.5 md in a SE – NW direction.

The study compromises an assessment of the achievable initial maximum oil rate, volumetric reservoir sweep and expected ultimate oil recovery factor for different well design concepts for a base short well spacing utilized for effective pressure support. In addition to that, the impact of fishbone well design on well count reduction potential utilizing twice the base short well spacing compared to single lateral wells development design utilizing the base short well spacing was evaluated.

A sector model with equal producer to injector ratio was used with refined gridding to wells and bulk area gridded with a cell size of 10 m by 10 m in a representative area of the reservoir. The modeled wells incorporated with vertical flow performance tables with gas lift capabilities. The analysis also incorporated generating streamlines for analyzing fishbone well designs areal reservoir sweep and an examination of remaining movable oil areal distribution. An assessment matrix was formulated for comparing extra-long MRC single laterals base development design versus different fishbone well designs. The assessment matrix incorporated in addition to reservoir related flow performance indicators: drilling complexity and well cost, well life cycle activities, etc. for a comprehensive assessment.

The main findings show that fishbone well designs have complicated areal sweep performance, especially with sealed motherbore, that result in a lower oil recovery factor with higher hydrocarbon pore volume injected and water oil ratio compared to extra-long MRC single laterals. Also, fishbone well designs have serious limitations during well life cycle activities compared to extra-long MRC single lateral design in terms of stimulation, well accessibility and well intervention options making the extra-long MRC single laterals the preferred field development concept within tight reservoirs especially with the base short well spacing. Finally, the analysis has shown that Fishbone well designs can’t reduce the well count since base short well spacing is still needed for effective pressure support by water injection in addition to maximizing the oil recovery factor within the field life time and building and sustaining the target plateau.

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