Well-Testing Operations in High-Temperature Environments - Experiences and Best Practices
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 130 - 135
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 61 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 148575, "Challenging Well-Testing Operations in High-Temperature Environments - Worldwide Experiences and Best Practices Learned," by Alejandro Salguero, SPE, Edgar Almanza, and Josmar Haddad, SPE, Halliburton, prepared for the 2011 SPE/IADC Middle East Drilling Technology Conference and Exhibition, Muscat, Oman, 24-26 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
High-temperature (HT) wells are classified as those with bottomhole temperatures in excess of 300°F. New technologies and advances in the industry (e.g., gauges, downhole equipment, and samplers) have been applied to improve decision-making capabilities and to increase well-testing-evaluation success, even in extreme and challenging environments. These enhancements enable improved economics and operational efficiency along with better safety conditions for the involved personnel and lower environmental risk during testing operations.
Well testing is a reliable, dynamic method of retrieving and collecting a variety of information from the reservoir, including permeability, formation damage, bottomhole pressure and temperature, fluid samples, and production quantification. The methods and equipment used to collect these data have evolved as exploration has moved into more-demanding and -challenging environments.
In recent years, high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) wells have become more common, and they required new techniques that support the environmental challenges. Proper planning and personnel and qualified equipment are key to achieve successful well-test results, especially considering that well and reservoir conditions can change easily from one region to another, adding challenges to the evaluation operation. HT prospects are defined as wells having bottomhole temperatures in excess of 300°F, and extreme HT wells are prospects having bottomhole temperatures of 350 to 400°F. The chart in Fig. 1 depicts designations for each pressure and temperature definition. Most HT cases have required the use of a deep-well simulator to test and qualify/certify equipment for the expected well-test conditions.
The complete paper details three cases of testing wells with temperatures ranging from 340 to 430°F. These cases were carried out in different geographical locations. These wells were chosen because different bottomhole configurations of full-scale downhole assemblies were used.
It is important to mention that special tools and equipment are available to perform operations under extreme conditions (e.g., 450°F and 20,000 psi). Currently, electronic memory gauges used in drillstem-test (DST) equipment are designed and tested to work in conditions of 400°F and 30,000 psia. Real-time gauges are available that have been tested to 350°F. However, when more-challenging conditions are encountered, mechanical pressure and temperature gauges must be used.
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