As the overhead expenses for production was beginning to increase in the South Ghawar oil field, an operation optimization opportunity became a basic need to fully utilize resources. The optimization called for shutting down and mothballing of three gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs) and rerouting wells production to the nearest respective GOSP. This process was expected to have minor effect on the production potential of individual wells, due to subsequent increments in the length of the flow line. Evaluation of production potential for all the rerouted wells within a very short time was made possible through the installation and commissioning of two multiphase flow meters (MPFMs) per GOSP to cover low and high flow rate range producers. In a well-planned and executed campaign, each group of wells were rigorously tested through their designated MPFM, the results analyzed, compared with historical data and further assessed against results of downhole production logging and wellhead samples for validation 4 .

This paper discusses the unique experience gathered and lessons learned during this major resource optimization program, starting from the selection of MPFM type to the fine-tuning of the MPFM parameters to fit a relatively wide spectrum of flow ranges by using appropriate geochemical and pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) data and to finally arrive at a fairly accurate production rate measurement for the field. Each step in this process presented a challenge for the implementation team that mandated tremendous analysis and teamwork to overcome these challenges.

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