Innovations and smart well technology applications have helped overcome the challenges of complex and mature fields such as the Abqaiq field. This paper presents the application of smart well technology in utilizing "free energy" from an overlying gas cap to produce high water-cut and low productivity wells completed in underlying reservoirs.

The smart well completion was implemented in Abqaiq field to naturally gas lift an intermittent well (a well which cannot continuously flow to the surface), completed in the low permeability Hanifa reservoir. The well is drilled through the gas cap having 40 ft of gas column in the upper section of Arab-D reservoir. In this application, the smart well completion consists of a surface controlled, hydraulically operated downhole choke valve that regulates the gas inflow from the gas cap into the production tubing. This application eliminates the need for artificial lift infrastructure at the surface and operational expenditures. Using gas cap energy basically is providing free energy. This paper discusses selection criteria of smart well application to naturally lift an oil producer by utilizing energy from an overlying gas cap, completion & operation experiences and production optimization. Results show the applicability of natural gas-lift dependent upon standoff (with respect to the initial gas-oil and water-oil contacts) and target production rate. The paper addresses design considerations for natural gas-lift applications and report the operational experience gained in the Abqaiq field with gas-cap gas-lift applications.

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