This paper describes the challenges faced on the deployment of intelligent well completion (IWC) systems in some of the wells built in Buzios field, mostly related to heavy fluid losses that occurred during the well construction. It also presents the solutions used to overcome them. This kind of event affects not only drilling and casing cementing operations, but may also prevent a safe and efficient installation of the completion system as initially designed.
The IWC design typically used in Brazilian pre-salt areas comprises cased hole wells. Perforation operations must be performed before installing the integral completion system, as it does not include a separation between upper and lower completion. Therefore, the reservoir remains communicated to the wellbore during the whole completion installation process, frequently requiring prior fluid loss control as to allow safe deployment. Rock characteristics found in this field make it difficult to effectively control losses in some of the wells, requiring the use of different well construction practices that led to the development of some new well designs.
The well engineering team developed a new well concept, where a separated lower completion system is installed in open hole, delivering temporary reservoir isolation. This new well architecture not only delivers reduced drilling and completion duration and costs, but also provides the IWC features in wells with major fluid losses. This is possible by the use of multiple managed pressure drilling (MPD) techniques when required, which were considered since the initial design phase. Safe and effective construction of some wells in pre-salt fields was considered not feasible before the adoption of MPD solutions, both for drilling and completions.
Other important aspects considered on the new well design are the large thickness and high productivity of Buzios field reservoirs, as well as the need of some flexibility to deal with uncertainties. Finally, the new completion project was also designed to improve performance and safety on future challenging heavy workover interventions. The well construction area has gradually obtained improved performance in Buzios field with the adoption of the new practices and well design presented in this paper.
The new solutions developed for Buzios field have set a new drilling and completion philosophy for pre-salt wells, setting the grounds for future projects. The improved performance is essential to keep these deepwater projects competitive, especially in challenging oil price scenarios. One of the groundbreaking solutions used is the possibility of installing the lower completion using managed pressure drilling techniques.