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Appraisal of exploration prospects using

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Home > More Subsea News > Appraisal of exploration prospects using extended well testing
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08/01/1997

Herm od provides good exam ple of EWT process


T. J. Leeson
The Expo Group
J. Barr, J. O. Selboe
Norsk Hydro

Well testing setup for Hermod.

An extended well test (EWT) was successfully planned and carried out on the Hermod Field, now known as Grane,
commencing in July 1996, in order to address the outstanding uncertainties ass ociated with the field following the
exploration/appraisal program .
The EWT, conducted by a tem porary production facility located on a sem isubmersible rig, perm itted data on the
reserves in place, vertical connectivity, and fluid handling characteristics to be gathered s ucces sfully. An electrical
s ubmers ible pum p (ESP) was successfully deployed and operated on a temporary completion with subsea test tree
(SSTT). Oil flow rates up to 20,000 b/d were produced.
The data collected has confirmed a minimum volum e of reserves and has provided a basis -for-design for future
proces sing facilities. In addition, extended well testing has been validated as an appropriate technique for appraisal of
fields carrying uncertainties regarding coning behavior or fluid separation characteristics.

Background
The Hermod Field was discovered in 1991 in 128 meter water depths about 125 km from the Norwegian coas t.
However, after two wells on the main structure, a number of major uncertainties regarding the nature and economic
viability of the field rem ained unresolved. These could be grouped into four main categories :

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Lateral com munication of reserves in place


Likely inflow performance and well productivities
Rate of water coning and its effect on productivity
Optimum s olution for control of em ulsions and separation of produced water.
These areas of concern gave rise to significant uncertainty with res pect to the expected long-term well perform ance and
production profiles for development wells. This, in turn, cast cons iderable doubt over the econom ic viability of
recoverable reserves and the optimum solutions for well path planning and tops ides facilities design.

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Appraisal of exploration prospects using

These uncertainties would traditionally make the dis covery a candidate for a phased field development. To reduce these
uncertainties and to evaluate the potential for a full field development, it was therefore proposed to undertake an
appraisal well test with an extended flow period, com monly known as an EWT.

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This would entail drilling and com pleting an appraisal well des igned to produce in exces s of 15,000 b/d, flowing the well
to a tem porary production facility, and storing the conditioned crude in an ocean-going tanker prior to transportation to a
point of s ale. The sale of the crude would offset a significant proportion of the testing costs .

EWT advantages
EWTs offer the opportunity to gain reservoir and production data not available from a traditional, short duration, well
drillstem tes t. The longer flow period provides a greater radius of inves tigation from the wellbore which, depending on
the nature of the reservoir, can assis t in identifying reservoir boundaries and proving up reserves.

Designing the well to accommodate high flow rates perm its a higher drawdown to be applied to the res ervoir, and this
in turn, allows vertical res ervoir connectivity and ass ociated water and gas migration to be assessed.
Onset of water production provides the opportunity to monitor the foaming and emulsion forming characteristics of the
produced fluids. Various techniques for managing these phenomena can then be trialed and optim ized, providing
valuable data for future topsides des ign and chemical injection requirements. This would be of particular importance for
any development of Grane as the high viscosity crude (19 degree API) raised concerns regarding emuls ion formation
associated with water production expected later in field life.

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General arrangement
In order to eliminate the cost of well sus pension and re-entry, the testing program was to follow-on immediately after
completion of the drilling phas e. It was decided to utilize a conventional EWT facility with the well produced through a
temporary completion and landing string com plete with through-BOP SSTT to a modular process facility located on the
drill rig.

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Conditioned fluids would then be exported via a tem porary low-pressure flowline to a moored tanker acting as a storage
ves sel. Produced gas would be flared from the rig, and produced water treated in the process facility to minimize the oilin-water content, before overboard discharge to sea.

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Storage and s ubs equent sale of the produced crude would minimize the environm ental impact of the test program and
provide revenue with which to offset a significant fraction of the program costs .
As it would be the first extended well tes t attem pted in the Norwegian s ector s ince 1991, adequate preparation was
identified as a critical factor for a successful program and 11 months were set aside between initial conceptual
discuss ions and planned first oil. Contracts for the main works copes were awarded in January 1996, jus t 3.5 months
before first oil was expected. The Expro Group had the responsibility for design, engineering and operation of the fluid
handling equipm ent from SSTT to export from the rig.
This included provision of the SSTT, landing string, crude processing facility com plete with em ergency res ponse
equipm ent, produced water treatment, export pum ps, and all s urface metering and data reporting.

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In order to guarantee the flow rates required to provide the necessary data, and to replicate the likely development well
design, it was decided to com plete the well with an ESP. To maximize the well control options and permit the rig to
unlatch from the well in bad weather and then return to production without the need for pulling and rerunning the
completion, it was necessary to provide an emergency quick dis connect from the SSTT complete with a wet mateable
connector for the ESP power cable. This would be the first time such equipm ent had ever been deployed. The SSTT was
designed built and successfully tes ted in less than four months in order to meet the project schedule.

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Tue, Feb 3, 2015

The principle challenges within the project were identified as follows :


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Induction and control of water production
Handling of high viscos ity oil
Produced water clean-up and disposal
Design and provision of the SSTT.

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Has deep expertise in the application of construction
engineering practices and technologies. Has
Well, process design
The well was drilled from the Treasure Saga sem isubm ersible and com pleted with 7-in. tubing in 10 3/4-in. casing. The
horizontal section was drilled with a 9 1/2-in. section close to the oil-water contact, in order to induce water production,
and com pleted with 7-in. pre-packed screens.
The ESP was installed in the high-angle section close to the reservoir and provided with a bypas s to permit production
logging of the production intervals .
The proces s facility was designed as a two-stage separation process with a maximum liquid throughput of 20,000 b/d,
and a maximum of 8,000 b/d of water production, and specialized defoaming internals ins talled in the s eparation train to
minimize the need for injection of control chemicals.
Stable oil/water em ulsions were broken using a electros tatic coalescer to provide an export quality of les s than 0.5%
BS&W, and produced water was cleaned to a maximum oil-in-water content of 40 ppm with hydrocyclones.

extensive experience in dealing with and managing


international construction contractors on major
projects....

Regional Process Engineer A sia and Pacific


BP
Country: China
etc.- Knowledge of all relevant and industry codes,
standards and regulations associated with process
design and process safety engineering- Knowledge
of process safety...

The facility design underwent an extensive hazardous operations analysis and a number of modifications were carried
out to the rig equipm ent including hard-piping all the flare lines. In addition, the process facility included:

Construction Manager (Constr.M)


BP

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Appraisal of exploration prospects using

Liquid scrubbers in the gas flare lines to eliminate the ris k of flaring condensed liquids
Continuous monitoring of the produced water discharge stream to monitor the oil-in-water content
A monitoring system on the s team side of the interstage heat-exchangers to detect any loss of hydrocarbons
from the proces s stream
Installation of a deluge s ystem to cover the hydrocarbon proces sing areas.

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Finally, a full integration between the s hutdown logics of the rig and production facility was undertaken with a number of
levels of executive action. This was interfaced with the tanker via an executive telem etry link. Certification of com pliance
from Det Nors ke Veritas was required, and issued, to specification - PROD N. The facility was classed as a production
installation.
High accuracy turbine meters were included as part of the facility to provide fiscal quality data, and continuous BS&W
monitoring was added to ensure export quality com pliance. All s urface, and downhole, data was collected on-line and
s tored by a PC-based data acquisition system and transmitted in real-time via a satellite link to the operators office in
Os lo. This proved particularly important when decisions were required regarding progress ion of the tes t program.

Test program
After some delay, principally caused by the s ector-wide industrial action in 1996, first oil finally flowed on 21 July 1996.
Within two days the potential problems of handling such a difficult crude were highlighted by the buildup of salts in the
inter-s tage heat exchangers , deposited from the produced free water/brine. This was simply rem edied by injection of
s mall volumes of potable water upstream of the separation proces s, and a maximum flow rate of 20,000 b/d was soon
achieved.
A full test program involving production logging, downhole and surface sam pling, and flow and pressure buildup
periods was undertaken us ing the ESP as artificial lift to maximize production rates . The well had been drilled to
encourage water coning to reach the wellbore after a short production period. As the water cut began to increas e, a
num ber of chemical injection trials aimed at optimizing emuls ion and foaming control were carried out.
A number of production logging pass es were undertaken and these provided evidence that the pre-packed screens
appeared to be restricting the com ingled flow of water and oil from the areas where coning was expected. Nevertheless ,
a maximum watercut of 11% or almost 3,000 b/d of water was achieved. By recycling of up to 6,000 b/d of produced
water on surface, the separation proces s was tested to up to 50% watercut.
The surface facilities designed to separate the water were a succes s providing valuable inform ation for design of the
future topsides facilities. In order to maintain the water coning, it was decided to run the ESP beyond its norm al
operating envelope and this was done with success . However, on 12 Septem ber, the ESP shut down unexpectedly due
to cable dam age above the SSTT within the marine riser section. The last week of the test period, during water recycling,
was perform ed without artificial lift.

Conclusions
Having collected the total data set required from the test and having produced about 490,000 bbl of salable crude
without a lost-time accident, the operation was deemed a success. Minimum reservoir volum es in place were
confirm ed, as was the proces sability of the produced fluids.
In addition, a num ber of less ons were learnt for the future and thes e can be grouped together as follows:

Clear program philosophy and test objectives must be set early in the planning phas e.
Early, and frequent, com munication with the regulatory authorities is ess ential.
Design and implementation of the rig modifications required can be com plicated and expensive, requiring
choice of rig, and participation of the rig contractor at an early stage.
The auditing of potential rigs for EWT requires a different emphas is from that normally us ed prior to drilling
operations.
EWTs provide an unequalled opportunity for evaluating the applicability of production systems and process
facility options .
Integration of the marine facility (LP flowline, tanker etc.) is relatively s imple so long as the system functionality is
correctly s pecified and the proposed solution is s uited to the particular marine environm ent.
The use of the EWT technique has proved to be essential in moving this prospect through to field development,
and will be cons idered an attractive option for s imilar fields in the future.

Copyright 1997 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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