In complex situations production optimisation often differs from plan to reality. Ideally a set of known factors are used to determine the optimal course of action for a production well. However, in reality many factors remain unknown and of those that are, many are only known within a range of uncertainty. Uncertainty is persistent; whether in the form of failed instrumentation, erroneous metering or production reconciliation to multiple reservoirs in commingled completions. Further, well optimisation is always governed by economics and operational constraints. Such constraints limit well surveillance activities and compound uncertainty. These challenges united when a large bore deviated depletion drive gas well on a small unmanned offshore platform in the Otway Basin began to exhibit unexpected production decline.
The large bore gas well with commingled reservoir completions was diagnosed as exhibiting liquid loading behavior. The intervention objective was to isolate the probable formation water source and restore water free gas production. A production log was required to confirm water was present and identify the source from three groups of completed intervals, each separated from one another using packers and mechanical sliding side doors. After risk assessments conducted during the intervention an active decision was taken to abort the work and not isolate the water source in favour of continuing cycled production to maximise gas recovery. Introducing an unknown, production logging identified that one of the three completed reservoir intervals was isolated by a closed sliding side door, previously believed to be open, presenting an incremental production opportunity.
A follow-up intervention retained an objective of isolating the water source, with the additional objective of accessing the isolated reservoir interval. Detailed planning and uncertainty analysis was conducted ahead of the campaign with a key risk being the range of pressure possibly present within this target interval and the resultant wellbore cross-flow immediately after accessing it. Whilst the second intervention experienced mechanical failure, the ensuing pragmatic decisions that were taken "on the fly" ultimately resulted in a successful production outcome. The water source was isolated and incremental rate and reserves were achieved through perforation of blast joints opposite the target interval.
This paper presents the workflows, tools & interventions used to diagnose production decline and optimise production from this challenging well. It is a case study in production surveillance utilising limited data, decision tree analysis and contingency planning for interventions performed with significant operational limitations. It includes the use of slickline production logging, tubing plugs, and electric wireline perforating in a strong cross-flow wellbore environment. This paper will be of interest to operators of unmanned platforms in hostile environments, commingled completions or wells with compromised production data. By integrating the learnings presented, engineers will get a head start when tackling similar uncertainties with their own challenging production optimisation activities.