Complex well configurations coupled with intelligent completions offer great potential for the efficient production of oil reservoirs. One application of this technology is the use of surface adjustable downhole chokes. This allows wells to be divided into separate inflow zones, with each zone produced under a different pressure drawdown, but with production commingled. Chokes can be set to provide a more uniform inflow profile, which acts to delay the breakthrough of water and gas. The practical benefits of this technology have been demonstrated in several North Sea installations.

Despite the large technical and economic risks associated with these complex wells, little work has been presented on the detailed modeling of their performance. While it is possible to apply existing finite difference reservoir simulators, such models can be time consuming to build and the accuracy of the results depends on the grid and the well model. Here, we apply semi-analytical solution methods (based on Green’s functions), appropriate for modeling the performance of non-conventional wells operating under single phase flow conditions, to these complex well configurations. The approach entails a fully coupled nonlinear formulation that accounts for pressure drops in the annulus, tubing and downhole chokes.

Numerical results for a variety of cases are presented. The high degree of accuracy of the semi-analytical approach is first demonstrated through comparison to results from established methods for model problems. Then, using a geostatistical description of a highly heterogeneous fluvial reservoir, we demonstrate how the method can be used to model the performance of wells with intelligent completions. We show how the technique can be applied to determine downhole choke settings that provide optimal inflow profiles.

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