Multilateral and intelligent well construction and completion technologies has proven themselves to be effective means of increasing recovery rates and improving operational efficiencies in subsea wells, yet, there are no known applications where both technologies have been applied in deep water in the same well. This paper discusses the evolution of the use of both of these technologies in subsea well environments and then the challenges and technology gaps that have to be overcome to develop a fit for purpose solution for deep water wells.
This paper discusses the origins and benefits that the two technologies have brought to subsea wells while presenting examples of the integrations of both in installations in various areas of the world. The unique environment and challenges posed by deep water subsea wells introduce risks such as, limited number of wellhead penetrations, longer stroke lengths to position components in the wellbore, lack of rotational ability due to the control lines and safety concerns. This paper also discusses the successful track record of each technology, developing customized solutions for deep water subsea wells and mitigating risks involved. Finally, the challenges posed by the integration of both technologies in these deep water wells are presented.
In these challenging economic times, the desires for solutions that reduce capital expenditures/operating expenditures (CAPEX / OPEX) are at the forefront of completion design discussion. Integrating various technologies to that effect is the next logical step. Efficient drainage of complex reservoirs can be achieved by effectively combining multilateral and intelligent completions technologies while actively managing CAPEX / OPEX. Monitoring and active control inside the lateral would be the ultimate solution for maximizing reservoir drainage and performance. For that to happen, it would require technology advancement that is currently non-existent or in its infancy stage at best. However the first logical step would be to monitor and control laterals from the mainbore which is achievable with some enhancements to existing technology. The second step would be to incorporate monitoring in the laterals as inductive coupler and disconnect technology begin to prove themselves. Finally as wireless technology, downhole power generation, and battery technology start to evolve, we will be able to monitor and actively control the reservoir within the laterals.
This paper conveys some of the numerous challenges that exist for an integrated completions approach. It will require both operators and service companies to work together to overcome the numerous obstacles; and it requires thinking outside the box and challenging the traditional approach without which we as an industry will be limited in what we can achieve, which in the end is maximizing our return on investment.