This paper describes a pilot installation of a digital intelligent artificial lift (DIAL) gas lift production optimization system. The work was inspired by PETRONAS' upstream digitalization strategy with five single and dual-string gas lift completions planned from 2018 to 2020, offshore Malaysia. The authors evaluate the impact of the DIAL system in terms of increasing production, optimizing lift-gas injection, reducing well intervention frequency, as well as OPEX and risk reduction.

Methods, Procedure, Process

DIAL is a unique technology that enhances the efficiency of gas lift production. Downhole monitoring of production parameters informs remote surface-controlled adjustment of gas lift valves. This enables automation of production optimization removing the need for well intervention.

The paper focuses on a well installed in June 2020, the first in a five well campaign. The authors will provide details of the technology, and pilot program phases: system design; pre-job preparations; run in hole and surface hook-up; commissioning and unloading; and subsequent production operations. For each phase, challenges encountered, and lessons learned will be listed together with observed benefits.

Results, Observations, Conclusions

DIAL introduces a paradigm shift in the design, installation, and operation of gas lifted wells. This paper will compare the differences between this digital technology and conventional gas lift techniques. It will consider the value added from the design stage through installation operations to production optimization.

The DIAL system's ability to operate at greater than 80-degree deviation enabled deeper injection while avoiding tractor interventions for GLV maintenance in the highly deviated section of the well. Built-in downhole sensors provided real-time pressure monitoring that enabled a better understanding of reservoir behaviour and triggered data-driven reservoir stimulation decisions. The technology also proved very beneficial for production optimization, with the intervention-less adjustment of gas injection rate and depth downhole, based on the observed reservoir response in real time. The variable port sizes can be manipulated by means of surface switch/control.

Overcoming the completion challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions, the well was unloaded and brought online with the assistance of personnel located in Houston and Dubai using Silverwell's visualization software. The well continues to be remotely monitored and controlled ensuring continuous production optimization, part of PETRONAS' upstream digitization strategic vision.

Novel/Additive Information

First deployment worldwide of new and unique gas lift production optimization technology in offshore highly deviated well. The technology deployment was the result of collaborative work between a multi-discipline engineering team in PETRONAS, Silverwell, and Neural Oilfield Service.

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