Case Study: Restoring Sand-Prone Subsea Wells to Production
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 70 - 72
- 2009. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 42 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 115058, "Case Study: Restoring Sand-Prone Subsea Wells to Production," by M. Vazir, SPE, and L.G. Acosta, SPE, BP, prepared for the 2008 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Denver, 21-24 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
This case study describes intervention efforts that returned one dry-tree and two subsea wells to production after an extended shut-in in a mature BP-operated Gulf of Mexico deepwater field. The three wells had been shut in because of sand production. The production facility was not designed with any sand-management capability. Several operational challenges were faced during the planning and execution of this operation. They were carefully assessed, and the risks were managed effectively to return all three wells to production.
Pompano is the oldest BP-operated facility in the Gulf of Mexico; first production was in 1994. The facility was developed with 33 dry-tree wells and a 10-well subsea-template tieback to the fixed-jacket platform. The template is tied to the platform through two subsea flow loops, one 8-in. insulated loop for normal production and one 3-in. uninsulated loop for well testing and well servicing (Fig. 1). Pompano-field production peaked at 65,000 BOPD in 1999. By July 2007, total field production was approximately 11,500 BOPD.
Low-cost high-return well-intervention work was key to maximize field value. The challenge for the Pompano team was to identify and implement unique and creative production-enhancement activities. At the forefront of this search was a rigorous effort to revisit and recover production from shut-in wells.
This project focused on three shut-in wells, one dry-tree well (A-03) and two subsea wells (TB-03 and TB-07). Well A-03 was producing 290 BOPD, 52 BWPD, and 1.04 MMscf/D of gas before shut-in. The well was shut in August 2000 because of solids observed in the shake-outs during the monthly testing of the well.
Well TB-03 was shut in initially because of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. The well remained shut-in for almost 5 months as a result of this event. Before this shut-in, the well was producing 930 BOPD, 480 BWPD, and 1.09 MMscf/D of gas. A startup was attempted in January 2006, and the well produced approximately one-half cup of solids in 8 hours. Shake-outs during this period showed between a trace amount and 10% solids in the flow stream. The well was shut in pending analysis of the produced solids.Laboratory analysis of the produced solids showed them to be fine grained and that they could have been produced through the type of frac-pack completion in Well TB-03. This information indicated that the integrity of the completion might still remain and that the well could be restored to production.
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