Guest Editorial: Completion-System Reliability: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?
- Doug Lehr (Baker Hughes, a GE Company)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 14 - 15
- 2019. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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All completions systems should enable the safe and profitable extraction of reserves. Implicit in this statement is the presence of a stable, consistently performing completion system—in other words, a system with reliable hardware. This means that the completion system will enable production (or injection) with no system failures, over an expected span of time. This time span can range from 1 week for unconventional completions (fracturing plugs) to 30 years for deepwater completions. In all cases, reliable operations over some time t, or R(t), is the expectation.
A goal for the completion system designer should be to maximize the useful life of the completion system (Fig. 1). In practice, this is achieved by minimizing what can be termed “infant mortality” and delaying the start of wear out.
To maximize R(t), reliability of components, configurations, and processes must be maximized.
Component Reliability Innovation leads to higher performance and optionality for most types of completion components. However, the development of new, innovative components also requires that their reliability be a design priority.
Today, important drivers of component reliability are industry codes and standards (ICS). The American Petroleum Institute, the International Organization for Standardization, and NOR-SOK are ICS organizations with extensive portfolios of product standards. Each organization routinely updates its legacy standards and creates new ones. The Advanced Well Equipment Standards Group is a newer ICS organization that has recently completed a product standard for inflow control devices and is creating standards for encapsulated cable and degradable materials. Overall, the pace of standards creation is accelerating.
A discussion of component reliability is incomplete without including the role of design for reliability (DFR) or design-assurance programs. These programs ensure that reliability receives due diligence in component development. The use of design failure mode effect analysis (DFMEA) is a cornerstone of an effective DFR program. These programs should be more prominent; this gap presents an opportunity for improvement.
So, considering the question, “Where have we been?”, the answer is that the journey to date has been one of continuing improvements in the reliability of completion components.
Configuration Reliability Is an Opportunity
Of the technical paper abstracts I reviewed for the Completions feature in the April 2019 issue of JPT, 52% focus on completion configuration or optimization. Few abstracts focus on the ability of the completion configuration to perform reliably over long spans of time. Two critical aspects of configuration reliability are longevity and survivability.
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