One of the current largest oil increments in the world in Saudi Arabia is undergoing field development. The southern part of the field traverses the Arabian Gulf Sea. The Production Engineering team crossed major hurdles in the development of this field with Causeways construction on artificial islands over drill sites to assess well sites.

Flowback options on wells in these drill sites to unload drilling fluids presented key challenges. The flowback objectives included well cleanup, stimulation, production logging, and extended well tests for reservoir characterization requirements. Flowback would also allow conducting electric submersible pumps (ESP) spin tests prior to ESPs installation.

A smokeless flaring option considered the heavy crude's characteristics with relatively high H2S content, possible emulsions from intermixing with completion fluids, interwell spacing limitations, and the sensitive nature of the nearby challenging marine environment. The choices were between using a conventional flare system and modifying the proposed layout to optimize the project's objectives while respecting the constraints imposed by a sensitive aquatic environment, highly sour crude, space limitations, and work conditions or implementing pre-existing conventional practices with the attendant risks of compromising health, safety, and environment.

The authors examine the processes leading to the implementation of a smokeless and an environmentally friendly flowback option. The discussion includes the modifications made to the burner system, and H2S removal from the gas and oil phases. Also a new methodology is presented that fully controlled oil and gas flow to the burner to mitigate the risk of burner flameout for the highest burning efficiency, minimizing spills, and enhancing safe operation. The authors examine the pros and cons of other welltest options such as to re-inject produced fluids into the same reservoir, different reservoirs, or injection into water injectors.

Key significant technical contributions include the presentation of several practical measures to avoid oil spills, and to guarantee ambient air quality. The welltest layout included several automation systems or the elimination of human interventionto deliver safely the project's objectives.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.