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Workflow Application for Advanced Well Completions to Meet IOR/EOR

Challenges in Malaysia
Rahim Masoudi, Keng Seng Chan, Hooman Karkooti, Sumit Soni, and Shlok Jalan, PETRONAS; Noman
Shahreyar, Tejas Kalyani, and Douglas Finley, Halliburton

Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Enhanced Oil Recovery Conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 11–13 August 2015.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or stora ge of any part of this paper without the
written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words;
illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Advanced well completions in Malaysia have been installed since 2003. Recently, advanced well completions have been
gaining increased attention for possible deployment in improved oil recovery/enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) projects.
This attention has resulted from recognition of values, such as reduced capital cost, improved productivity, operational
flexibility, well/reservoir management/monitoring, and increased ultimate recovery.
Controlled and selective injection and production through advanced well completions improve the conformance control
and the sweep efficiency in IOR/EOR projects. The technology implies the application of an inflow control device (ICD) or
intelligent completion or a combination of both. Application of intelligent and ICD completions have been identified and
evaluated by multiple operators for multiple fields under IOR/EOR in Malaysia.
This paper addresses field-wide challenges and proposes advanced completion technology solutions for productivity
enhancement and improvement in ultimate recovery from these fields. The focus of completion technologies’ evaluation was
to determine the need for zonal flow control requirements for multizone and multilateral applications for producer and
injector wells. Further evaluation was performed to determine fit-for-purpose flow control equipment for individual well
applications. Detailed well and reservoir modeling was performed to demonstrate added value with application of advanced
well technologies (Kokal and Al-Kaabi 2010). Moreover, a quantitative value screening was performed to assess
productivity/injectivity gain and estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) from the fields.
A selection and design methodology is presented for advanced well completion with flow performance modeling and
anticipated results with proposed completion technologies. Two advanced completion designs were proposed for these
offshore wells that intercepted stacked or compartmentalized reservoirs, thin-oil rims, and water zones being used for IOR.
Additional consideration was given during completion design for water injectors to accommodate switching to water-
alternating-gas (WAG) flooding techniques during later well life if required. The need for appropriate sand control methods
were identified and presented to meet sand control challenges in these fields.

The ultimate recovery factor from hydrocarbon reservoirs in Malay Basin is estimated to be in the mid-30% to early 40%
range, which leads to challenges and opportunity for EOR technologies to balance ongoing demand and supply. The majority
of oil production in Malaysia comes from mature or maturing oil fields, and reserves discovery is not keeping pace with the
growing energy demand. EOR techniques like water-alternating gas or chemical EOR are being studied or are in the
implementation phase in Malaysia. The addition of more than one billion reserves are expected through IOR/EOR techniques
in coming decades. EOR projects require a large amount of capital investment and operating expense, which in general have
marginal incremental production; hence, deployment of cost-effective technology is necessary.
Aging wells and surface equipment in the field present various challenges for implementation of IOR/EOR projects in
mature fields. Compartmentalization and multilayered structures of most Malaysian oil fields present enormous challenges
with regard to well placement and design. In addition, increased production of unwanted fluids (i.e., water and gas) from
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mature oil producing wells can also be a problem for production management as well as cause potential environmental issues.
Successful implementation and management of IOR/EOR projects is capital and resource intensive and highly dependent on
oil pricing and project cost vs. added-value evaluation. In addition, the timing of EOR is also important and it is typically
desired to implement IOR technologies as a first step before proceeding to full-field deployment of EOR techniques.
Advancements in current technologies and development of new technologies are now allowing greater percentages of
hydrocarbon to be produced economically. Revamping facilities, “smart” infill wells, and the injection of gas, steam, or
chemicals is being practiced as part of IOR/EOR methods to give new life to mature fields (Ali 2008).
In Malaysia, oil and gas reservoirs can be classified into three main types: thin oil-rim, stacked, and compartmentalized
reservoirs (Fig. 1). Additionally, these wells will be planned to intercept two or more reservoir targets. Hence, key challenges
in designing multistacked producers and injectors are layer crossflow and early water or gas production (or excessive water
injection) in key sands or fracturing of tight sands (in the case of water injectors) (Masoudi et al. 2012).

Fig. 1—Types of reservoir offshore Malaysia.

These challenges can be mitigated by application of advanced well completions (AWC) (Al-Khelaiwi et al. 2008;
Lauritzen et al. 2011). AWC refers to a well completed with either passive control (e.g., ICD or autonomous ICD) and/or
dynamic control (e.g., interval control valves) (Ajayi et al. 2006; Aram et al. 2001). Passive control is typically some form of
a fixed downhole choking arrangement and dynamic control refers to an intelligent completion with the ability to remotely
control and monitor individual zones of a multizone completion. Reservoir monitoring typically takes the form of either
permanent downhole gauges and/or distributed temperature sensing. Both passive and dynamic controls have specific
applications. The workflow methodology presented in this paper covers both passive and dynamic controls.

Application and Challenges of Advanced Well Completions for IOR/EOR

The degree of data uncertainty is great during the exploration stage but decreases as the reservoir development plan is
executed and production data is obtained. Standard probabilistic workflows are developed to quantify this uncertainty and are
usually framed by the reservoir scale development plan, ending prior to the well’s detailed completion design. Therefore, it is
critical to select the right kind of advanced completion design to reduce the impact of geostatistical uncertainty on the
production and injection forecasts.
Deployment of advanced completion technology offers flexibility to adapt to prevailing reservoir conditions and allow
production and injection as per forecast as well as management of unwanted well effluents. The end result of these
technologies is meant to increase the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) (Labastie 2011).

Benchmarks and Recommended Workflows

A workflow was developed for completion selection and design to increase the EUR through the application of AWC. This
production integrated advanced well completion benchmark was also presented by Chan et al. (2014b). A graphical summary
of the benchmark is shown in Fig. 2. AWC is shown as a critical part of the workflow which helps achieve optimized well
performance and enhanced field recovery.
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Fig. 2—Production integrated advanced well completion benchmark (after Chan et al. 2014b).

Much of the benchmark is standard procedure for developing most completion strategies. The difference here is the desire
to optimize on improvements to the well’s productivity and EUR by evaluating use of an AWC versus a legacy completion.
Once an inflow control requirement has been identified, the next stage is to simulate the well flow performance to
compare and optimize the AWC system and evaluate its performance over different well operating conditions. The most
common simulation tools available on the market today are static near-wellbore hydraulic and dynamic reservoir simulators.
Static near wellbore simulators are preferred for single well modeling because of the ability to conduct rapid calculations
with multiple scenarios. Different simulation runs covering various scenarios over the life of the well are modeled to ensure
the design is effective throughout its life. The simulations help in selecting the right level of inflow regulation in the inflow
control device (ICD) prior to installing it in the well. It is common to perform the final well design optimization with the
actual log data. The simulations also evaluate the effectiveness of the number of compartments in the wellbore and spacing.
Steady-state modelers can also quantify the potential increase of oil with inflow control versus “base case” scenario (i.e.,
legacy completion). Additionally, this technique quantifies the reduction in water and gas production. The shortcoming of the
static modeling technique is it only simulates well condition at a single instant of time and requires multiple scenarios to be
modeled and simulated sequentially for well performance evaluation during well life.
Once a wellbore model is created, different sensitivity analyses are performed to evaluate the performance of the well and
completion with variation in input parameters. Full-scale dynamic reservoir simulators are preferred for the life of the well
and life of the field simulation to gauge additional gain in recovery with AWC. These can also predict the time and location
of water or gas breakthrough, while calculating other parameters like cumulative phase production. This simulation is
typically performed on full-scale reservoir simulators and is not feasible to perform individual runs for each well completion.
Recent advancement in simulation technology can facilitate full-scale reservoir simulation with provision to incorporate
advanced completions designs in the field models for full field performance evaluation, EUR estimations, and optimized
reservoir management. EUR gain from such simulation could help drive selection and implementation of fit-for-purpose well
completions. Fig. 3 shows a generic workflow for well production or injection performance assessment by comparing various
completion scenarios during reservoir life.
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Fig. 3—Comparison of completion performance over well life for varying AWC options.
Following are two case studies highlighting and demonstrating the application of the well completion optimization
workflow and its value in increasing EUR.

Case Study 1: Multizone High-Rate Water Injector (Baruah and Chan 2014; Bogaert et al. 2004;
Chan et al. 2014a; Carvajal et al. 2013).
Deepwater “K” field in Malaysia has been on production since 2006 and is currently being produced in association with a
waterflood. Wells completed in this field include subsea wells and dry-tree wells tied back to a spar. Conformance issues
abound in the complex, multistacked, heterogeneous reservoirs intercepted by wells in this field. Early water breakthrough
and high water cut were a common theme for many of the wells in this field.

K-field challenges.
• Increase oil productivity by 25,000 B/D
• Improve reservoir conformance and delay the onset of water breakthrough at the producers
• Reduce/eliminate well interventions in the subsea wells
• Commingled injection into multiple sands to reduce the well count
• Achieve the target desired injection rate without exceeding fracture propagation pressure

Proposed solutions.
Based on the challenges and objectives, multizone intelligent well completions for subsea water injectors were finalized.
Intelligent well completion consists of a zonal interval control valve (ICV) with gauges separated by zonal isolation packers.
One of the reasons for selecting the subsea multizonal injectors for the intelligent completion was to make a slot available for
oil producers. This would allow for optimization of the limited slots at the spar for additional oil production.
After extensive collaboration between the operator’s subsurface team and the service contractor’s reservoir solutions
team, two subsea water injectors were selected as potential intelligent completion candidates; both wells covered reservoirs of
interest for the waterflood as follows. Previously most completions targeted only one zone per well.

Well Zone 1 Zone 2

05 Sand3 Sand4
06 Sand2 Sand5
Table 1—Well completion strategy by zones.

Fig. 4—“K” field sand layers.

Well information (including pressures and rates) for wells 05 and 06 are shown in Table 2.

Well Avg THP Avg PDG Avg Rate BHT (°F) IIfrac (B/D/psi)
(psia) (psia) (B/D)
05 4148 6384 13000 100 8.09
06 4205 6609 14492 107 9.74
Table 2—“K” well information – water injectors.

Once the data was reviewed, well and reservoir modeling commenced to determine if flow control was feasible and would
be worthwhile. Results of the modeling for the 05 water injector were encouraging as they clearly illustrated an injection rate
of 20,000–22,000 B/D could be achieved. Likewise, results of the modeling for the 06 well indicated an injection rate of
30,000 B/D could be achieved. Furthermore, injection into the two zones intercepted by both wells could be controlled from
the surface to optimize the injectivity as required. Figs. 5 and 6 present the comingled water injection modeling
(Konopczynski and Ajayi 2004) results of wells 05 and 06, respectively.
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Fig. 5—“K” well 05 intelligent completion water injector modeling results.

Fig. 6—“K” well 06 Intelligent well completion water injector modeling results.

Once the modeling was satisfactorily completed and suitably predicted the successful performance of an intelligent
completion with multiple downhole position choking capability, the next step was to design the completion. Previous
experience as well as related studies not covered as part of this evaluation had previously determined sand control would be a
prudent measure in these wells. Hence, the completion design needed to be capable of accounting for potential sand issues
(most likely to occur during unplanned events resulting in the shutdown of the water injection). Hence, subsequent to the data
review and well/reservoir, an intelligent well completion design was proposed as shown in Fig. 7.
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Fig. 7—As completed “K” well intelligent completion water injector (with sand control completion).

Subsequent to the proposed completion designs, a value proposition was determined to support the selection of an
intelligent completion design. The value proposition for “K” wells 05 and 06 if using intelligent completions was as follows:
• Four additional slots on the spar would be freed; if those slots were used to drill oil producers, the resultant increase
was estimated at an additional 16,000 B/D.
• Injection into the six zones via wells 05 and 06 would improve conformance and eliminate four additional single-
zone water injectors; estimated CAPEX savings of $117 million.
• Intelligent well completions in subsea wells remove the need for intervention for downhole control of injectivity;
estimated savings of $10 million per intervention.

Case Study 2: EOR (Water-Alternating-Gas Injectors) for Compartmentalized, Multiple Block

Reservoir (Aram et al. 2001; Baruah and Chan 2014; Bogaert et al. 2004; Chan et al. 2014a).
Field “D” in Malaysia is a mature oil field with a relatively large number of development wells. This field has multiple
stacked reservoirs and is highly compartmentalized. Conformance was a major challenge as most of the wells are producing
and injecting commingled across different reservoirs. The field GOR and water cut is increasing over time. Currently most of
the wells in the field are completed as multizone completions with sliding sleeve device (SSD) and isolated with a packer.
The immediate challenge for this mature field was conformance control while keeping the number of wells as low as
possible. Currently, the field is under water injection; however, water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection is envisaged. It is
expected the severity of the conformance issue will be further increased with the onset of WAG injection. To address the
problem of controlling conformance with a minimum number of wells, intelligent completion was identified as a potential
Two wells were screened as potential candidates for intelligent completion (Fig. 8). Both wells were planned to be side-
tracked and re-completed as WAG injectors as part of a wider EOR project.
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Fig. 8—Well placement in “D” field and target injection zones.

Data review and QA/QC.

Significant permeability and reservoir pressure contrast between upper and lower reservoirs (Fig. 9) was observed during
data review (i.e., considerably lower permeability and lower reservoir pressures in the upper reservoir). In addition,
heterogeneity was also observed in formation permeability in upper and lower sands.

Fig. 9—Reservoir pressure and permeability profile in upper and lower sands.

Well designs were required to facilitate average commingled water injection of 5,000 B/D with a split of 1,500 B/D into
the upper zone and the rest in the lower sand; whereas, during the gas injection cycle, a total of 5 MMscfd rate with injection
split of 1.5 MMscfd and 3.5 MMscfd in upper and lower zones, respectively.

Evaluate the base case.

Both wells were initially targeted as two-zone WAG injector completions. A base-case (i.e., with SSD-type completion)
well model was developed using a commercially available near-wellbore hydraulic simulator to estimate well injection
performance and outflow contribution between upper and lower sands. It was observed during base-case evaluation that
during the water injection cycle more water injection occurred in lower sand because of higher permeability compared to the
upper sand. Whereas, during the gas injection cycle, all of the gas was estimated to be injected into upper sand primarily
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because of lack of hydrostatic support and lower flowing injection pressure than reservoir pressure at lower sand. In addition,
zonal crossflow from lower sand to upper sand was expected because of reservoir and injection pressure difference between
the zones.

WAG injection performance comparison.

With the current practice of using SSD completion (with four compartments, two in upper and two in lower reservoir),
uneven distribution of water injection is observed across the two reservoirs. Fig. 10 presents a comparison of the SSD versus
the ICV injection profiles (Lauritzen et al. 2011).

Fig. 10—Water injection performance; SSD vs. intelligent completion.

Gas injection cycle.

In the SSD completion scenario, it was estimated no gas injection (caused by crossflow) was achieved in the lower sands.
Conversely, if using a variable choking ICV, the layer crossflow can be mitigated and much better gas injection profile across
two reservoirs can be achieved. Fig. 11 presents a comparison of the gas injection performance of the SSD completion versus
the variable choking ICV completion.

Fig. 11—Gas injection performance; SSD vs. intelligent completion.

In WAG injector, as phase changes at regular intervals, an active control system is required to avoid layer crossflow as
well as achieve the desired target injection. SSD and/or ICD completions have limited capabilities in offering such “active
control”. This type of completion also requires intervention, which has its own risk and demerits. An intelligent completion
with choking ICV with variable positions can be achieve zonal injection controllability and selectivity without well
intervention during well life.

ICV flow trim design.

The ICV trim design (Konopczynski and Ajayi 2004) for a WAG injector is a unique exercise. The desired ICV trim
specifications should be suitable for both water and gas injection. The ICV trim used in this exercise features eight flowing
positions for the greatest amount of flexibility when selecting the trim position flow areas. Typically, the smallest four
positions would be used for the gas phase of the WAG injection and the largest four positions would be used for the water
phase of the WAG injection. However, the four gas and four water positions can easily be customized to accomplish the
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desired injection controllability and rates between discrete flow positions. In addition, real-time data monitoring could further
allow for zonal performance evaluation and re-adjustment (flexibility) of the ICV positions to maintain desired zonal
injection targets during WAG injection cycles.

Completion design.
Fig. 12 illustrates the intelligent completion strategy proposed for the two WAG injector wells. Fewer zones could be
designed; however, four zones were determined to be optimal from the flow modelling evaluation.

Fig. 12—Proposed intelligent well completion design, WAG injector wells.

Inside of 7-in. casing, 3 1/2-in. ICVs with a 5.85-in. OD shall be used. To protect the casing from jetting effect, the ICV
can be covered with a deflector, which will allow flow-to-flow parallel to tubing upon exiting the ICV ports. The production
packer is a hydraulic-set device featuring multiple feed-through capabilities. The isolation packers shown here are also
hydraulically set. Depending on the selection of the drill-in and completion fluids, swellable packers could also be considered
as the isolation packers. Electronic dual-sensor permanent downhole gauges are proposed in each interval for real-time
pressure and temperature measurement in the tubing and annulus above each ICV. Pressure and temperature data shall be
used to perform zonal injection allocation in real time.

Reservoir surveillance, proactive optimization, and reservoir management (Carvajal et al. 2013).
For EOR, the design of the fluid injection well system shall focus on achieving maximum contact with the oil reserve.
This is known as optimizing the sweep; driving the mobile oil toward production wells. Smart water injection completion
shall help in controlling and allocating the injection EOR fluids following a preconceived injection plan. This in turn is
critically dependent on the connectivity of the injectors with the intended producers and the production response they show.
Therefore, a planned surveillance program shall also be developed to calibrate, verify, and update the injection control
plan. Surveillance data required can be the basic rate and pressure of the injectors and producers in a fault block or an
injection pattern. In addition to well-known arts, such as production logging tools (PLT) and distributed temperature sensing
(DTS) systems, new and advanced techniques, such as tracers, pressure pulse testing, and their corresponding data analysis
methods can be applied. The process of surveillance, data analysis, and injection production adjustment shall be continuous
as depicted in Fig. 13. The end results shall be improving well performance and extending well life.
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Fig. 13—Continuous surveillance and data analysis for adjusting the injection and production coordination to improve production
and well value.

1. Benchmarks and a workflow application for the recommendation and design of advanced well completions have
been successfully applied for IOR/EOR fields in Malaysia.
2. IOR/EOR activity in Malaysia is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade.
3. Challenges and risks of advanced well completions applied to IOR/EOR fields in Malaysia were highlighted.
4. This paper presented two case studies of application of the workflow to IOR/EOR fields in Malaysia:
 The workflow was successfully applied to the design and subsequent installation of advanced well completions
(i.e., intelligent completions) in the high-rate water injectors of the “K” field.
 The workflow has been successfully applied to the recommendation and design of advanced well completions
(i.e., intelligent completions) in the WAG injectors proposed for the “D” field.
5. The successful application of this workflow could easily be applied to other IOR/EOR fields in Malaysia; the
workflow is producers and injectors.

The authors thank PETRONAS and Halliburton for permission to publish this paper. They also acknowledge and appreciate
Mike Konopczynski for his valuable guidance and constant support during the execution of this project.

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