This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 29749, “Determining Produced-Fluid Properties for Accurate Production Profiling During a Drillstem Test Using Thermal-Imaging Technology,” by David Lavery and David Fyfe, Metrol, and Abu Rashid Hasan, SPE, Texas A&M University, prepared for the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, 29–31 October. Copyright 2019 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.

This paper describes the use of a downhole temperature-sensor array during a commingled drillstem test (DST) to determine the density of produced fluids accurately.  In a typical DST that uses only downhole pressure gauges, any fluid contacts between the pressure gauges would be missed and the produced-fluid density calculated would be erroneous. The complete paper demonstrates the importance of taking fluid properties into account when determining the zonal flow-rate contributions using the mass-enthalpy method. 


Downhole temperature-sensor-array data provide accurate fluid contact depths during buildup periods of the DST that typically cannot be observed in pressure gradients. Determination of these fluid contacts permits the calculation of individual produced-fluid densities. 

In a case study described in the complete paper, the deepest perforated zone produced a fluid with a higher density than that seen in shallower perforated intervals. The higher density of the produced brine caused the wellbore fluids to slug during the flow periods with a measurable response in pressure and temperature data. If this difference in the fluid properties is not taken into account, zonal-allocation flow rate will be in error because it relies on density and specific heat capacity. Qualitative assessment of the temperature-array data identified producing zones and clearly highlighted different fluid interfaces in detail that would remain hidden if the pressure gauges were relied upon solely.

High-Resolution Temperature Measurement During DST Operations

The deployment of the downhole temperature-sensor array during DSTs provides an in-depth look into reservoir characteristics that go beyond traditional downhole pressure-gauge measurements. The temperature sensors, contained within steel tubing and clamped to the outside of the tubing-conveyed perforating guns, cover the three perforated intervals in this case study. 

Two temperature sensor arrays were run, each with a sensor spacing of 0.6 m and offset with an effective sensor spacing of 0.3 m. Throughout the DST, the readings from the temperature sensor arrays were recorded on downhole memory devices at 1-minute intervals.

The temperature measurement covered the entire perforated interval. High-resolution pressure gauges are placed above and below the perforated interval and above and below the tester valve. Using an acoustic communication system, real-time temperature and pressure data were available during the DST so that observations across the entire test could be made.  

Zonal Allocation of Produced Reservoir Fluids From Mass-Enthalpy Balance

The mass-enthalpy method of calculating zonal contributions relies on intervals higher in the wellbore producing at a lower temperature than deeper producing intervals. The higher- temperature contributions from the deepest producing intervals will flow up the wellbore while losing some heat to the colder wellbore. The rate of cooling is dependent on the flow velocity. The shallower producing intervals contribute at a lower temperature than the mixture and will cool down the mixture. This method is detailed in the complete paper.

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