The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is one of the world’s most prolific hydrocarbon basins, with more than 80 years of development since the first offshore drilling began. GOM is the primary source of the United States (U.S.) offshore oil and natural gas production. According to data published by the United States EIA, approximately 15% of the U.S. domestic oil production came from offshore oil and natural gas fields in federal waters, with over 99% of that production coming from the Gulf of Mexico over the most recent year of data available at the time of this paper’s publishing (Q4 2022-Q3 2023) [1]. Nonetheless, GOM reservoirs have complex depositional settings. Reservoir heterogeneity, stacked pay system, reservoir compartmentalization, high-temp and pressure are some of the common challenges seen in these fields. The use of conventional completion design in vertical wells with commingled production form multiple zones has led to multiple operational challenges. In this paper, we explore the use of intelligent completions in the deepwater GOM as a solution to this problem. Specifically, we will show how intelligent completions have allowed for increased production, reduction in operating expenses, enhanced overall reservoir recovery and improved safety and environmental performance. A case study of intelligent completions in GOM is with sliding sleeves that are hydraulically controlled from the production facility.

In this paper we will be focusing on one of these deepwater oil fields located in the northern GOM. The field is comprised of a subsalt reservoir with best-in-class Pliocene age sands (main target reservoir). These conventional sands have good porosities and permeabilities up to 1 Darcy. The target producing reservoir sands are comprised of multiple, stacked, turbidite sands. This has led to the standard field development in this area to be vertical wells with commingled production from multiple zones. The field has been producing back to a deepwater facility for more than 5 years through multiple subsea wells. Initial production was over 10,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) per well. The producing reservoirs are supported with strong aquifer drive and leads to rapidly increasing water rates in wells post water breakthrough. Riser base gas lift is utilized in all producing risers to help optimize production.

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