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Oil & Gas

From exploration to distribution


Week 3 V14 Completion
Isabelle Rey-Fabret

W3V14 - Completion p. 1
IFPEN - IFP School 2015 / TOTAL SA 2015 / IFP Training 2015

How to connect the reservoir to the well ?


At the end of the drilling process, the mud is replaced by a completion fluid, most often salt
water, and the BOP is removed. The completion process can begin. The objective of this job
is to prepare the well, already drilled, for production. The completion design is made to
ensure safely the rate of production of the well, given by the reservoir studies, during the
field's life.
During this lesson, well see how to connect the reservoir to the well, and how to transport
the fluid up to the well head. Then, we will focus on the performance of a well, including its
ability of being eruptive or not.
The completion program defines the equipment to be installed in the well at the end of
the last drilling phase.
More particularly, it has to determine the kind of connection to be used between the
reservoir and the well at the well-reservoir interface, and also the equipment installed to lift
the fluid produced from the bottom of the well up to the surface. These choices depend on
the kind of fluid produced, the reservoir characteristics, the desired production, the future
maintenance of the well, etc.

Lets focus on the well-reservoir interface. There are 2 kinds of connection design:
1. open-hole completion
2. or cased-hole completion.
If an open-hole completion is chosen, there is no casing installed at the end of the last
drilling phase. The well remains directly
in contact with the reservoir.
Such a solution is well adapted in the
case of well consolidated reservoirs,
when the well produces from one
reservoir layer only. It is particularly well
adapted for gas wells.
On the contrary, a cased-hole
completion is based on the installation
of a liner at the level of the reservoir to
be produced. In this case, the reservoir
is isolated from the well at the end of
the drilling phase.
W3V14 - Completion p. 2
IFPEN - IFP School 2015 / TOTAL SA 2015 / IFP Training 2015

In order to open the connection for the production, a perforation job is necessary. This
consists in perforating the casing, the cement and the rock using a gun suspended on cable
at the reservoir level. This is the most frequently chosen connection. It enables efficient
management of the well's stability, and is well adapted in the case of a well connected to
more than one production zone.

How to lift the produced fluid to the surface ?


Now, lets see how to lift the effluent from the bottom up to the top of the well.
Most often, a tubing ensures the connection between the bottom of the well and the well
head.
Such completion is called simple conventional completion.
It is the most often chosen, and allows the productivity of the well to be optimized by
optimizing the internal diameter of the tubing. Moreover, the tubing can be removed and
changed if needed.
It is also possible to produce directly through the casing: this is what we call tubingless
completion.

W3V14 - Completion p. 3
IFPEN - IFP School 2015 / TOTAL SA 2015 / IFP Training 2015

At the surface, at the well head, a Christmas tree is installed. It includes a choke, regulating
the production rate of the well, and valves, useful for well interventions.
A safety valve is added to this completion, in order to close the well in case of emergency.

How to study and optimize the well performance ?


In the reservoir studies, each well is forecast to produce a certain rate of production
contributing to the field's production plateau. The final well design has to take this objective
into account.
The well performance engineer aims to study the behavior of each well in production,
including in the case when the reservoir is depleted, in order to help for the final design of
their completions.
A well performance study focuses on a well, and describes it in terms of pressure:
A producing well is connected to the reservoir and produces a part of it, which is called the
drainage area.
Lets look at the way followed by the fluid from the end of this area up to the well head. It
starts moving to the bottom of the well due to the drawdown, which is the difference of
pressure between the reservoir pressure and the flow's bottom hole pressure. Then, the
fluid flows up to the surface through the tubing. It is lifted due to the difference of pressure
between the Well Head and the bottom hole. Here is a graph representing the pressure as a
function of the depth.

W3V14 - Completion p. 4
IFPEN - IFP School 2015 / TOTAL SA 2015 / IFP Training 2015

The slope of the pressure profile in the well depends on the characteristics of the fluid, that
means viscosity, density, and the proportion of gas and liquid in the mixture, and on the
geometry of the tubing, including its profile and its internal diameter.
A well is eruptive if it can produce naturally : it is the case if the reservoir pressure is
sufficiently high for the fluid to be able to reach the top of the well without any extra help.
When the well is not eruptive, an artificial lift system is installed with the completion, in
order to introduce energy from the surface into the well to supplement the natural energy
of the reservoir. 2 main kinds of artificial lift systems exist: pumps and gas lift.

W3V14 - Completion p. 5
IFPEN - IFP School 2015 / TOTAL SA 2015 / IFP Training 2015

The principle of a pump is to increase the fluid pressure between the pump intake and
discharge. The fluid composition remains the same.
On the contrary, implementing a gas lift system consists in injecting gas at the bottom of the
tubing: the gas is mixed with the reservoir fluid and decreases in density. The column of fluid
in the well is lighter, and, therefore, easier to be lifted up to the well head.

W3V14 - Completion p. 6
IFPEN - IFP School 2015 / TOTAL SA 2015 / IFP Training 2015