Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Intelligent Production System for Ultra-Deepwater with Short Hop Wireless Power and Wireless Data Transfer for Lateral Production Control and Optimization
University of Houston
- Increasing the production of UDW oil and gas resources – Today a large portion of the wells drilled in Ultra Deepwater are multilateral wells or utilize a lower and upper completions deployed separately. That implies that those lateral wells will have at least 2 branches, laterals, producing areas or 2 sections of completion tubing which are not continuously deployed in the well. The inability to deploy hydraulic lines and electrical cables in laterals and lower completions prevent the use of Intelligent Completion Systems in those laterals and lower completion pipe string potentially reducing hydrocarbon production and reducing the production life of the wells since production is done with little knowledge of the production pressures, water movements, reservoir status and hydrocarbon production source in the well and laterals. Furthermore, it is necessary to intervene in the wells using production logging tools to determine the reservoir and production status. These interventions are costly, require that the well production is stopped and create the potential that the deployed tools can get stuck in the well requiring a fishing job. Also, tools have to be deployed in the wells to open or close flow control devices deployed in the wells which are also risky and costly.
This project will develop the next generation of Intelligent Production System (IPS) with ultra low power modules and wireless power transfer. The system will be deployed inside the lateral wells in ultra deepwater for control of the production remotely. The system can also be deployed in deep wells where a lower completion and upper completion are installed in the well. The system will maximize the extraction of hydrocarbon from the reservoirs as well as optimize production which is critical for the security of the US. Today, the production in horizontal wells is done mostly from the toe of the horizontal well with the majority of the hydrocarbon in the lateral left behind. The encroachment of water into the producing zone which is a major problem today will also be delayed and controlled by the new system. The system will feature a system that will transfer power wirelessly from the mainbore into the lateral to power gauges, flow control systems and communications modules. A short hop 2 way communications system between the mainbore and the laterals will allow for data and commands to be transferred between a remote location at the surface and the laterals. Ultra Low Power Gauges will provide real time status information on the reservoir and production while multiple electrically operated flow control systems will control the hydrocarbon transfer from the reservoir into the production tubing. The system will also reduce significantly the completion costs and complexity due to the elimination of multiple hydraulic lines deployed in the well since a single electric line will be required for power and communications. The system will also reduce the number of penetrations required in the subsea wellheads.
- Reducing the costs to produce UDW oil and gas resources – Some of the main areas of significant costs for the production in UDW include water production and processing, intervention in wells requiring production shut in and intervention risks associated with the deployment of equipment in the well. The Intelligent Production System will reduce significantly the costs associated with the production of hydrocarbons since it will eliminate and/or delay interventions into the wellbore by controlling production remotely in the laterals as well as being able to reduce, delay and sometimes eliminate the production of water to the surface.
- Increasing the efficiency of exploitation of such resources – The ability to monitor the reservoir, production tubing events and the ability to control remotely the flow of hydrocarbon and water from the reservoir to the production tubing can significantly increase the efficiency for the production of hydrocarbons and reduce the time required to identify problems in the production of hydrocarbons.
- Increasing production efficiency and ultimate recovery of such resources – Today the laterals wellbores from the mainbores do not have the monitoring or control to optimize production. The ability to monitor the laterals for parameters such as water production level, hydrocarbon production will provide the operators with real time information outlining the location of water production. The ability to shut in individual sections of a lateral allows for the elimination of the water production from any section of the lateral. The ability to control the flow from a remote location at the surface will allow the operator to maximize production and optimize the hydrocarbon resources in the reservoir to maximize the amount of hydrocarbon that can be produced over the life of the well.
- Improving safety and environmental performance, by minimizing environmental impacts associated with UDW Exploration & Production – The ability to reduce the number of wells drilled and by minimizing the number of interventions in the well to perform production logging jobs and to deploy tools to operate mechanical flow control tools will positively affect the environment and increase significantly safety during the production of hydrocarbons.
The purpose of the project is to develop a system specifically for Ultra Deepwater for deployment in horizontal wells and the lateral sections in multilateral wells to control and monitor hydrocarbon production. This next generation Intelligent Production system can also be used to provide power in the lower completion to bring gauges near the perforations on a upper and lower completion well. The new Intelligent Production System will provide a unique method for the optimization of the hydrocarbon production in multilateral wells. The system will be composed of the following modules:
- Low Power Electrically operated flow control system to open, close or chock the flow of hydrocarbon from the reservoir into the production tubing. Multiple flow control systems will be deployed in the horizontal section of the well to divide the lateral into multiple zones and to equalize the pressure in the lateral. The equalization will allow for the production from all sections of the lateral instead of having the production coming from mostly the entrance of the lateral.
- Instrumentation system composed of the following sensors:
- Pressure gauge – provide pressure information from the reservoir and production tubing using a new micropower technology.
- Gamma ray detector – the gamma ray system will monitor water production since there has been some evidence that gamma activity in the formation increases with higher water production.
- High resolution quartz temperature sensors - to provide a distributed temperature system distributed throughout the lateral using micropower electronics and digital addressing.
- Flow meter – utilizing a small pressure change methodology to track fluid flow. The pressure detectors would be deployed in clusters where the fluctuations in pressure generated by the flow in the tubing would be converted into flow measurements.
- Communications System – all modules deployed in the laterals and mainbore will have a 2 way communications module to allow for digital interface between the surface and downhole for transfer of commands and data for a complete Intelligent Production.
- Wireless Power and Communications Transfer - A new technology will provide up to 2 meters power transfer from the mainbore to the lateral as well as a short hop 2 way data transfer to and from the lateral as well as from the upper to the lower completion. The power transfer will allow for power to be available in the lateral for the operation of sensors and flow control systems to optimize production from the laterals and to stop the areas which produce water. Electromagnetic techniques developed over the past 18 months will provide the foundation to the wireless power transfer method as well as communications.
- A cable will be part of the system in each lateral being deployed along the long axis of the wellbore and interfacing to all instrumentation and flow control systems.
- A cable will also be installed in mainbore from the surface to near the deepest lateral in the well. This cable will be interfaced to all wireless power and communications modules along the mainbore.
- A Power and Communications mainbore system will be a module that will perform the following functions:
- Receive commands from the surface via cable and transfer the commands via wireless electromagnetic waves short hop communications into the lateral.
- Receive data from the laterals via short hop communications and transfer the data to the surface via electrical cable.
- Convert DC power from the cable into AC power and transfer the power from the mainbore into the lateral using electromagnetic technology.
- A surface system will generate the DC power and also send commands into the well via electrical cable that were received from a remote location. The system will also monitor for data from downhole to the surface and decode, store and transfer to a remote location the received data.
Key Deliverables Associated with the Project
The development of the project will allow for the construction of a system composed of the following modules. There will be 2 complete system prototypes that will be manufactured for the project which will be used for field tests. Tubel Energy believes that the retail value of the 2 prototype systems that will be built for the project will be near the total cost of the research and development of the proposed Intelligent Production System.
- Surface SCADA system for data acquisition and transfer as well as command issues.
- Mainbore wireless power transfer and control and communications system
- A complete set of instruments to monitor reservoir and production status in the lateral such as micropower quartz pressure gauge, gamma ray detector and flow measurement.
- A micropower electronic based flow control system.
- A wireless power and communications module for lateral installation.
- Downhole Cable splicer unit.
Potential Impact of the Project
The project will create the next generation of Intelligent Production System that will control the horizontal and lateral sections of the wellbore. The system will also allow for gauges and flow control in the lower completion in wells with a permanent lower completion and an upper completion. The system will provide the following benefits:
- Decrease in the number of interventions in the wellbore.
- Optimization on the production of hydrocarbons.
- Minimize the production of water.
- Full control of the laterals.
- Instrumentation of the entire lateral.
- Increase the amount of hydrocarbon produced over the life of the well.
- Deploy gauges closer to the perforations in lower completions for deepwells.
- Ability to power the Lower completion from the Upper completion to place gauges and control devices near the perforations
- Ability to reduce the number of penetrations in the wellheads by eliminating hydraulic lines control and utilizing a single electrical line in the well.
The other participant will be the University of Houston.
The University of Houston will continue the research on the wireless power transfer and focus the research for the deepwater environment. The research will provide the following:
- Information on the distance and efficiency on the wireless transfer.
- Design of the coils for optimum transmission of power.
- Wireless data transfer to and from the laterals.
Principal Investigator: Paulo Tubel