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Julie Bowen : A case for improved oil
extraction using open hole acid stimulation


 

Latin America continues to develop its global importance in the energy industry, with new investments aimed at increasing refining capacity to 9,560 barrels of oil per day by 2030. Current production of crude oil stands at more than 9.5 million barrels per day. Now a key player on the world stage of energy production, Latin America is continuing to develop new extraction methods to improve efficiency and reduce overheads.

Multi-Hole Open Stage Stimulation

The Campos Basin, 80km offshore of the Macae coast of Brazil, has recently been the location for an extremely successful test study in developing previously uneconomical subsea reserves. The Campos Field Open Hole Acid Stimulation Experiment, conducted by Petrobras, has now led to the new development of a number of fields within the Basin. This case study will be a source of much interest at the 2014 Latin America Oil & Gas Summit, to be held at Cartagena in Colombia. Attendance at the Summit is expected to bring together Latin America’s leading oil and gas executives and to explore and overcome current industry issues.  Business events such as this are invaluable for networking and sharing information. Many companies will be taking the opportunity to approach prospective clients and partners for future exploration and exploitation; and the rewards to be gained from attendance and effective marketing will undoubtedly include a sharing of knowledge acquired through the recent developments taking place in the Campos Basin.

The Exploration Well

An exploration well drilled in 2009 by Petrobras led to the discovery of oil in the carbonate formation of the Waimea accumulation of the Campos Basin. In order to stimulate the flow, new technology in directional drilling and multi-stage completions was employed to section the well into stages to maximize the efficiency of acid stimulation across the lateral.

The challenge was in achieving a multi-stage completion with isolation; there were a number of concerns with the project due to aqueous carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), as well as the production of water at the toe of the well. Due to varying permeability, achieving distribution of acid through multiple hydrocarbon zones is a challenge. The aqueous acid has a tendency to enter those zones with the highest water saturation. These zones are often the highest-permeability zones and acid stimulation can often lead to higher water production. In matrix-acidizing treatment, the acid has a tendency to bypass the lower permeabililty, damaged layers; and various placement techniques are used to attain uniform distribution of acid across all layers.  

Mechanical packers were used for the exploration as they are able to withstand higher pressures and were therefore suited for the elevated stimulation pressure being sought. The final designed incorporated mechanical packers combined with premium screens and was constructed from corrosion resistant alloy to maintain its integrity. Due to the inclusion of screens, it was not possible to set the packers by pressuring up the liner. Instead, an inner string was run into the well together with the liner as far as the landing depth. This inner string incorporated a polished joint on either side of a perforated wash pipe. When the inner string was pulled out, the polished joints aligned with couplings above and below each packer, forming a seal. Fluid was then pumped through the wash pipe to pressure up and set the packers. With the packers individually set, it was possible to acidize the well using a similar inner string to seal above each stage at the coupling; sequentially stimulating the eight stages along the 1,000 meter horizontal wellbore. In order to increase the effective permeability by cleaning the formation to ensure optimum oil recovery, acid stimulation was conducted at 1,500 psi.

The Results from the Test Well

The results from a drill stem test were outstanding. The test showed a potential production rate of 40,000 BOPD of 20º API oil and an expected flow rate of 20,000 BOPD. The success of this operation has led to further horizontal wellbores being drilled. Before the development of this new technique, the only options for completing an open-hole horizontal well were either barefoot or using a slotted or perforated liner.

The development of a system to set in open hole, providing mechanical diversion and allowing for multiple fracturing along the length of the horizontal wellbore, has addressed previous problems with horizontal completions; having the benefit of both cost and time savings.

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Julie Bowen is a graduate of business and journalism. After graduating she worked in the finance sector, but since motherhood has worked as a freelance writer. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

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Petroleumworld News 09/26/2013

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