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Well Completion Design Introduction

A well completion starts when the drill bit penetrates the pay zone. Every
action during drilling and completion can have significant impact on the final
productivity of the well.
The intent of the completion is as a flow path throughout the life of the well
and must be aligned with several needs to achieve maximum efficient
hydrocarbon recovery:
It must connect with the reservoir to achieve maximum inflow from the reservoir
to the wellbore.
If a stimulation is needed during the well life, the completion must make an
optimum stimulation practical (both possible and economic).
It must make outflow of the well economic with the lift systems available and in
line with governing restrictions and good engineering practice.
It must contain sufficient flexibility to allow well management activities, including
surveillance and well work, that will maximize hydrocarbon recovery.

Well Control at every step is the most critical issue.


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How does the reservoir impact

How big is the tank? => Interconnected porosity and saturation of
hydrocarbon. Recoverable vs. in-place reserves?
What, where, when, why and how does it flow?
What will flow first? low viscosity fluids from high permeability and high
pressure zones.
Where will it flow? where are the flow channels (high perm streaks, fractures,
vugs) in the reservoirs. Where are the barriers that prevent flow?
When will it flow? how much drawdown is required? Is a stimulation (frac)
needed? Is a special completion (horizontal or multilaterals) needed to connect to
the specific high value pay zones?
Why will it flow? What supplies the differential pressure in the reservoir? How
can the pressure differential be improved (pressure support)?
How does it flow? PVT (pressure, volume, temperature) information, add heat?,
add solvent?, add microbes?, add vibrations?, add ?????


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Reservoir-to-wellbore connection
Good completions engineering is an extension of
good reservoir engineering! The more you know
about the reservoir, the better your completion
can be.
Look at the possible connections which can
process the fluids in the best manner? Each is
right and each is wrong for specific applications.


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What is best configuration to make

the best flowing connection?
Compartments barriers, separate pays, thick pays, flanks,
multiple structures, etc., you must contact it to drain it.
Choke points convergant radial flow creates a choke and
large pressure drops.
Permeability what is reservoir perm compared to frac
perm? Are perfs & casing a choke point in highest perm
Bed tilt does the wellbore line up with the horizontal perm?
(Vertical perm is often << 10% of horizontal perm).
Drive mechanism is coning (gas or water) a problem?
Will the wellbore line up with the frac or will an inflow choke
point be created?
Will the drive mechanism bypass the hydrocarbons? Different
permeabilities in multiple zones or layers must be managed
by zone conformance techniques.

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Effect of Well Deviation

Natural flow is
dominated by gas
expansion. In a vertical
well, hindered settling
causes the liquids to
rise as the gas bubbles
rise and expand.
In a deviated well,
density segregation
makes the process
more difficult.

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Outflow in the Completion

Maximizing flow depends on removing pressure
losses the highest drawdown usually produces
the most fluids.
Major and minor losses of pressure include:
Major: flow and lift efficiency and pipeline operating
Minor: perf and pipe friction, choke usage, facilities
Where are the pressure drops?
What are
the risks to installation?
What can be done to minimize the
pressure drops.

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Outflow and Lift:

Wide variation exists in

lift method efficiencies:





Intermittent GL
Continuous GL
Hydraulic Lift
Beam Lift



Every lift system has limitations
imposed by design,
Every application imposes
requirements on the lift system.

Limits? Power availability, gas

production, solids production, fluid
viscosity, well deviation, total rates,
temperatures, intermittent flow,

Tubular Design Thoughts

The wellbore is a series of pressure and fluid containment vessels. It must
function correctly throughout the life of the well and for every operation that
can be expected during the wells life.
A well is designed from the inside out and from the bottom to the top. The
size of the tubing or pump required for target production at the highest total
fluid rate sets the casing diameter at the bottom of the well. This bottom
casing size sets the sizes used above it.
The materials used in construction must be suitable for operations at the
highest and lowest pressures of all the fluids that will be produced.
The general approach of concentric or nested tubular construction is to have
the inner string collapse before the outer string busts..


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You can usually repair a collapsed inner

string easier and with less environmental
impact than a burst in an outer string

Tubular Construction
A set of pressure and fluid containment
vessels.. A well may use several full or partial casing strings.
Each sting fits through the one above it. Isolation of these
strings with cement forms annulus areas between the
outside of an inner string and the inside of an outer string.
Pressures creased by lift and heat from flow must be
managed to prevent well failures.


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Where are the casing strings set?

The casing string set points are
dictated by the formation pressures
(high and low), the fluids in those
formations, the need to control
physical or chemical reaction of the
formation (e.g., shale instabilities).
The drillers work in a window of
minimum pressure to control the
highest formation fluid pressure or
rock failure and a maximum pressure
before the weakest formation


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Cementing making the pressure

Placing a cement slurry of the
correct density and volume to
create a pressure seal is the final
step of the casing process.
Some factors:
The mud and mud cake must be
removed before the cement can
form a tight seal between the pipe
and the formation.
The cement slurry must remain
pumpable to the end of the job.
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8/25/2015Fluid loss control, contamination
prevention, retarders to handle

A corrosive
water zone,
rock or a
salt zone
would be
reasons to
bring the


Tubing the flow path

Tubing is run inside the casing after cementing to
provide a isolated flow path that is better suited
to: the corrosivity of specific fluids; the need to
lift by natural lift or artificial lift; pressure
containment, or other factors.
The size of the tubing depends on:
Tubing performance at maximum
inflow and minimum economic rates,
Critical flow rate to lift the fluids,
Minimization of friction during flow,
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Preventing erosion
(upper limit on flow),


The Packer
A packer is a tool used to form an
annular seal between two
concentric strings of pipe or
between the pipe and the wall of
the open hole.

Permanent Packer holds both directions

packer is usually set just above the

producing zone to isolate the
producing interval from the casing
annulus or from producing zones
elsewhere in the wellbore.

Latch or threads
Upper slips

Elastomer package
Lower slips

Selection depends on pressures,

reliability and need to pull. Specific
needs drive slip design, packer bore
size and use of a PBR (polish bore


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Subsurface Safety Valve for

offshore and special

Primary purpose is
shut-in of the well in
event of loss of surface
well head integrity.
Types ball and flapper
Control Point
ScSSV surface control
Storm Chokes subsurface

Flow Tube


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Tubing conveyed George
of the tubing string



Wellheads and Trees

Serves as the control point
Must handles flow, pressure, access,
surveillance and other activities through the life
of the well.
Simple to extremely complex.


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Production Chokes
Control Flow achieve liquid
Maximize use best use of
gas (lift?)
Protect equipment
abrasion and erosion
Cleanup best use of
backflow energy
Control circulation holds a
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back pressure
Control pressures at surface


The Surface Facility

Fluids are produced as a mixture, sometimes an emulsion with 4 components (gas, water,
oil and solids). It must be separated and treated before it can be sold.

Horizontal Separator.


clean oil


The liquid section is the activeGeorge
layer and the site of chemical
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Well Integrity Management

Well Integrity is the application of technical,
operational and organizational solutions to
reduce the risk of uncontrolled release of
formation fluids throughout the life cycle of the
well; and the preservation of the formation from
outside influences that would have an adverse
effect on its capacity to produce. (Well Integrity Management
GOM Dave Porter)


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