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IADC/SPE 81623

The Nimr Story: Reservoir Exploitation Using UBD Techniques
Ramalho, J., Shell UBD Global Implementation Team, Medeiros, R., PDO, Francis, P. A., PDO, Davidson, I. A., Shell
UBD Global Implementation Team
Copyright 2003, IADC/SPE Underbalanced Technology Conference and Exhibition
This paper was prepared for presentation at the IADC/SPE Underbalanced Technology
Conference and Exhibition held in Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 25–26 March 2003.
This paper was selected for presentation by an IADC/SPE Program Committee following
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paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the International Association of Drilling
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In May 2002, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) embarked
on a ten well, underbalanced drilling (UBD) trial campaign in
the Nimr field using crude oil as the drilling fluid and
membrane generated nitrogen as the lift gas. UBD was
proposed as a productivity improvement technique for the
Nimr field following a low risk/high reward analysis. The
Nimr field is a complex of six fields. UBD was implemented
in the Nimr A field consisting of two reservoirs: the Amin and
Al Khlata, which are generally high permeability (+1Darcy)
sandstone reservoirs containing medium gravity (21° API)
viscous (300-500 cP) crude.
Horizontal wells are generally completed with a wire-wrap
screen (WWS) across the reservoir section, due to sand
production history in some wells, and are produced via
artificial lift methods, primarily beam pump. Even though the
predominant factor affecting net oil rate performance was the
rate and behavior of water cut development it was suspected
that drilling-induced skin, combined with mechanical skin
from the completion, was a contributing factor to recent poor
results from the horizontal wells.
The paper will demonstrate the value of a multi-well
campaign to avoid eliminating a good candidate reservoir due
to inconclusive start-up results associated introducing a new
technology. It will describe some of these early start-up
challenges, the equipment modifications and changes to
operating procedures that have resulted in the uptake of this
game-changing technology in the Nimr field. Additionally, it
will emphasize the potential value of well inflow and reservoir
characterization data gathered during UBD operations. This
data indicated significant opportunities to improve well
performance and increase ultimate recovery resulting in a
potential value far exceeding those originally envisaged prior
to initiating the UBD trial.

In early 2000 SIEP (Shell International Exploration and
Production B.V.) identified UBD as one of four key
technologies to be taken up within the Shell Group on a global
basis. Global Implementation Teams were formed to assist
Group Operating Companies to prepare implementation plans
that included screening exercises, candidate selection, business
case development, and execution. Several of PDO’s assets
were considered good candidates for UBD and following a
ranking exercise; two fields in Nimr and Saih Rawl were
selected. A Low Risk/High Reward strategy1 resulted in a ten
well UBD campaign in the Nimr A field (Figure 5). The
objective of the campaign (similar to that in the Saih Rawl
campaign being executed concurrently2) was to quantify the
value of UBD for PDO.
Nimr Project – Scene Setting
Nimr is actually a complex of six fields. UBD was
implemented in the Nimr A field which is a large "turtle-back"
structure primarily composed of two reservoirs beneath the
Nahr Umr shale cap rock: 1) the Haima Amin (Cambrian,
Aeolian dune) which is the primary reservoir; and 2) Al Khlata
(Permian, glacial) which is eroded into the Amin and is
present along the faulted flanks of the field. The Amin and
Al Khlata both have reservoir permeability of >1 D in the
better quality sections. The Amin contains small cement
streaks within the section, which may cause local baffling. The
Amin also has 10-30+ m thick sections of weathered zone,
which is of lower quality, permeability and oil saturation than
the "good" Amin. The Al Khlata has been shown to have a
high degree of lateral variability but is generally good quality
over most of Nimr A field.
(Figure 3 and Figure 4). The crest of the structure is at
about 680 m SS and the original OWC is at 747 m SS.
Oil density is 0.93 sg, viscosity is 300-500 cP at 50 oC
reservoir temperature. Aquifer support is moderate to strong
bottom water drive. The initial pressure gradient was 10.2
kPa/m and the current reservoir pressure gradients range from
6.5 to 9.5 kPa/m. The oil produces at a very low GOR
(<1m3/m3) with intermittent traces of H2S.
The existing field development strategy places horizontal
wells with +/-400 m laterals 3-5 meters below the top of the
reservoir. A typical completion is 4 1/2" WWS inside 6 1/8"
reservoir section with beam pump for artificial lift. The
primary grid spacing is 172 m and current infill spacing is
86 m. The field is near completion of primary development,
with only flank (lower oil column) locations remaining.

R. In addition. plus the hydrostatic pressure is balanced by the formation static pressure. • Separation vessel rated for MAWP of 180 psi – and capable of handling gas rate of 55 MMscf/d and a liquid rate of 20. was concern about wellbore stability. After evaluating a number of native crude oil alternatives. Electromagnetic Telemetry MWD was considered but evaluated as uneconomical for this trial.2m vertical window. Maintaining UBD conditions during all phases is one of the primary goals for PDO and this was reflected in the base case procedures. bottom hole pressure (BHP) and petrophysical data etc. P.. intermediate 7” liner was set at 90° inclination within the target window (4-5 m below the top of the reservoir) and the lateral reservoir section was drilled underbalanced at 90° inclination with a +/. installed on top of the 11” 5000 psi conventional BOP stack to provide the annular pack off around the drill pipe and tool joints while drilling and tripping.. MWD was used to transmit directional. the well would be circulated clean and allowed to balance itself after injection gas is shut off. Nimr is classified as an IADC Level 1 UBO Type operation (Well incapable of natural flow to surface. It is recognised that whenever a UB drilled well is shut-in for any reason. Equipment and Procedures A conventional bottom hole assembly (BHA) that consisted of the following components was run: • 6 1/8” Tricone bit.400 bbl horizontal oil storage tanks for the fluids handling system. The original plan was to drill UB with an equivalent circulating pressure 1500 to 2000 kPa below expected reservoir pressure. • 4 ¾” short bearing pack 4/5 lobe PDM • UBD Float sub with dual flapper type UBD nonreturn valves (NRV’s). the solids handling system.000 bpd @ 150 psi. tripping and other operational procedures. It did however. Infill drilling commenced in earnest during 2002. The UBD surface package consisted of the following equipment: • A 13 5/8” 5000 psi Passive Type Rotating Control Head (RCH) rated for 2500 psi operating pressure. After the contract was awarded. J. variable pipe rams and blind/shear rams. • 6 ‘’ flare lines with WECO 206 hammer unions to a flare pit • 200 bbl (30 m3) solids settling tank c/w degasser unit • 2 . • IADC/SPE 81623 7 1/16” 5000 psi ESD valve wad installed on the outlet of the RCH • 7 1/16” 5000 psi Flanged Schedule 160 flow line to the choke manifold • 7 1/16” 5000 psi Flanged choke manifold c/w 3 1/8” 5000 psi double block and bleed choke and valve legs with Schedule 160 piping. overpressured or depleted) or whether the well is shut in at surface or down-hole (down-hole shut-in effectively removes a portion of the wellbore storage). MEDEIROS. This principle applies regardless of reservoir pressure regime (normal. A concentric annulus (9 5/8” X 7”) design was chosen for lift gas injection. Well is “inherently stable” and is low level risk from a well control point of view. but do it safe first time) and technical (demonstrate and prove the benefits of UBD for the Nimr reservoir and PDO in general). The same principle would be applied for . To meet the underbalanced well objectives extensive steady state multiphase flow modeling and compatibility testing indicated that crude oil in combination with gas lift was the appropriate drilling fluid. the use of a low flash point crude as the drilling fluid and the extreme ambient temperatures associated with summer work in a desert environment were identified and also addressed. Membrane generated deoxygenated air was selected as the lift gas in preference to cryogenic nitrogen for economic reasons. The fluid level in the well was monitored using a sonic echo-meter. I.78 sg) and low viscosity (30 cP) (Flammability 0-5 °C. For the 10 well trial. also had to comply with PDO’s HSE Management System. well-control procedures. it will continue to inflow until the shut in pressure. This was the philosophy that was used as a benchmark for resolving conflicting objectives as the project evolved to the execution phase. Auto Ignition Temp. in practice the ability to meet such a wide range of conditions created its own problems of over specification for the Nimr conditions.750 gallons/ min solids centrifuges • 4 . The procedure for Nimr was to maintain UB conditions while drilling in the reservoir and when it was necessary to trip pipe. Recent new oil well performance (1999-2001) had consistently performed lower than expectation. • 3 ½” drill pipe in the open hole section Surface equipment was selected that could meet the wide range of well conditions PDO’s candidate reservoirs could present and was designed for use in an H2S environment. secured consistent UBD equipment and personnel for entire trial period and provided an option to extend the contract at known costs. considerable effort was expended to ensure UBD related HSE issues specific to the project were clearly understood by all stakeholders. but project specific hazards such as potential for H2S. the primary driver for limiting the drawdown. It was the primary reason for the closed loop system.). & DAVIDSON. Not only were the usual hazards and concerns regarding UBD highlighted and addressed. FRANCIS. 239 °C). (Used for well control purposes to prevent back flow up the drill pipe during connections) • Non Mag DC’s for mud pulse MWD system. • The conventional BOP stack consisted of an annular. Sayala crude was selected as the base drilling fluid due to its low density (0. The primary project objectives were HSE (do it right. • 7 1/16” 5000 psi Schedule 160 piping Sample Catcher c/w 2 1/16” valves on dual sample legs. Project economics were important but secondary (economics would be fine tuned as the project progressed). Although at first glance this approach apparently offered flexibility. primarily due to the incompatibility of mud pulse telemetry measurement while drilling (MWD) and drill pipe injection of the high volume of lift gas required to maintain underbalanced conditions.2 RAMALHO. equipment and procedures proposed by the project team and vetted during HAZOP exercises for operational and HSE effectiveness.

This concern was justified and the problem proved to be more severe than expected. special attention was made to monitor and mitigate the effect of contamination in the fluids-handling process.5 and 1. The primary one was cuttings transport (both down hole and in the surface system) and which may have exacerbated the other issues observed. Once again fluid level was monitored and when it stabilised. Each tank on location was equipped with shipping valves at different heights to allow for transfer of separated liquids. via the choke manifold and geologic sample catcher and enter the vessel at the solids separation end. The fourth stock tank was used to store clean Sayyala crude. Severe sliding problems and increased torque and drag parameters were observed while drilling and it was suspected that this was . The sheer volume and complexity of the equipment (illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2) coupled with personnel new to the equipment and therefore unfamiliar with the specifics of rigging up this particular package. the WWS was deployed and the completion equipment installed. The fluids and solids-slurry from the separator goes into the first section of the tank. The fluid then flows over the second weir into the third section and is transferred by pumps to active system of the storage tank farm. Therefore. Fluids-Handling Process Description Single phase Sayyala crude is injected down the drill string and circulated along with drill cuttings and produced crude up the annulus. a down-hole deployment valve (DHDV) would be installed and run as part of the 7” tie-back concentric string. Lift gas is simultaneously injected down the concentric annulus and out the injection ports at 1100 m AHD where it enters the fluid stream and starts to expand as it raises to surface thereby reducing the effective circulating density above this point. The centrifuge system was piped and manifold such that it provided the ability to re-circulate recycled drilling fluid from most of the storage tanks on site. The centrifuges discharge underflow (solids) into an open top tank. Due to the poor rheological properties of the drilling fluid. Two of the four stock tanks were used exclusively for the active system. The fluids handling system comprised of a 200 bbl solids settling tank (also illustrated in Figure 1) and four horizontal 400 bbl stock tanks (Figure 2). It was expected that contamination from produced Nimr crude would take place over time and very-fine solids entrainment in the drilling fluids system could create a fluid system that was potentially formation damaging. The combination of the two contaminants would affect not only the viscosity of the drilling fluid but the density. Rig-up. The operations team decided to use this technique on the first few wells until they were comfortable with at-balance tripping. It was planned to recycle Sayyala crude and re-use it as the drilling fluid. After the second well. produced crude and the active drilling fluid system. cuttings transport was identified as a potential problem area during the design phase of the project but it was anticipated that once the well started to produce the higher viscosity Nimr crude. An agitator is installed in this section to keep the solids in suspension for transfer to the 3 centrifuge system. This allowed fluids within the storage tanks to be re-circulated via the solids handling system thus ensuring recycled drilling fluid and produced crude did not exceed solids content limits imposed by the process plant. Unprocessed fluid from the first section flows over the weir to the second section and mixes with cleaned fluid from the centrifuge.IADC/SPE 81623 THE NIMR STORY: RESERVOIR EXPLOITATION USING UBD TECHNIQUES tripping at TD. It was decided that once the UBD campaign was running effectively. with the produced Nimr crude by providing for storage of clean Sayyala crude. which resulted in excessive non-productive time (NPT). This would mitigate the requirement for well killing or a snubbing unit. commissioning and rig down of the UB equipment was on the critical path of the operation during the first and second wells. until a DHDV was available. The centrifuge system was also incorporated in the fluids handling process to deal with solids control in the active and the storage system. in the event the well proved capable of sustained flow of hydrocarbons to surface and/or creating pipe-light conditions while tripping. It was recognized that this was a potential source for formation damage and could negatively impact the evaluation of UBD as a reservoir enhancement technique. The solids end is separated from the liquids end by a weir. In the liquids end. Gas is discharged off the top of the vessel to the flare system and solids slurry is transferred from the solids end to a 200 bbl settling tank using separator pressure. Solids content was kept between 0. The returned fluids and solids are diverted by the RCH to the 4-phase separator (Figure 1). the operations folks face issues of varying complexities either not considered or underestimated in the planning and design phase. Excess crude from the active system was transferred to a third tank used as storage of produced crude and subsequent transhipment to the field process plant for handling. is demonstrated by the typical learning curve illustrated in Figure 6. one level higher than the base case classification for the planned operation. The settling tank is an atmosphere tank with a degasser unit mounted on top to knock out any entrapped gas in the fluid being transferred from the separator unit. the equipment was rigged up/down off the critical path while the rig was drilling the top-hole section of the well. separated produced water and oil (mixture of Sayyala and Nimr crude) are also transferred to the same settling tank via riser tubes of differing heights. and the cleaned fluid is discharged into the second section of the settling tank. Operational Challenges During start-up of most new projects. The second section provides retention time for additional settling. used to dilute and control the viscosity of the active drilling fluid. a step-wise approach would be used and the contingency plan called for the well to be balanced with filtered brine if necessary. Running the wire-wrapped screens (WWS)) to complete the lateral section would also be conducted in a balanced well. Four horizontal 400 bbl stock tanks were used to deal with the contamination of drilling fluid.81 sg by dilution with clean Sayyala crude. While drilling the first well. However.0% and the density of the active system was kept below 0. The Nimr UBD project was not an exception in this regard. PDO also supports the philosophy that a robust contingency plan must be in place for an IADC UBO Classification Level. there were a number of challenges. the problem would be reduced. The tank is divided into three sections by two weirs. to allow for tripping and the running of WWS.

storage tanks requirement and flare volumes. severe BHP fluctuations were observed while drilling. Reoccurrence of the solids dropout problem in the surface equipment. 20-4 ¾” DC’s were added above the 3 ½” drill pipe to stiffen the assembly while orientated drilling. this is a tedious process and often results not only in NPT but also in periods of the well going overbalanced. Practice of loading well with brine prior to trips no longer done as the procedure for monitoring fluid level in the well with the sonic echo-meter is effective and has been accepted by the operations staff. Failure of conventional drilling equipment has also resulted in unplanned well kills and related NPT. the well is circulated and flowed until it cleans up (1 ½ times hole volume is produced). MEDEIROS. which leads to additional cuttings bed build-up. all a result of insufficient hole cleaning.4 RAMALHO. On the second well the process flow was directed from the separator to a settling tank (one of the horizontal 400 bbls tanks in the active system on the tank farm). This is a known phenomena usually solved onsite by trial and error (varying several drilling and injection parameters and while adjusting the surface backpressure). & DAVIDSON. For Nimr. The short bearing pack motor used on the first well was replaced with a more conventional design (standard bearing pack with 7/8 lobe design). The curved bottom allowed more effective processing of solids while drilling the well. when the phenomena of localalized depletion was observed . This effectively allows the well to balance itself after injection gas is shut off but with native Nimr crude from the formation in the open hole section rather than drill fluid. This we now believe caused localized washouts to occur. In addition to fighting the solids dropout problem. This also resulted in increased directional work (sliding) to maintain hole angle. as was the case on the first two Nimr wells. The suction for the centrifuges now comes from the bottom of this settling tank and discharges into the process tank. a transient flow simulator (Ubitts) has been utilized to investigate design and operational parameters. Severe cuttings dropout was also observed in the surface equipment. This has been optimized in time to a 50/50 blend currently in use and the practice of dilution continues. whereas hole stability was originally suspected. the importance of accurately knowing the static reservoir pressure cannot be overstated.. The RCH bowl is installed on top of the BOP as part of • • • • • • • IADC/SPE 81623 the stack rig up. the static reservoir pressure varies throughout the field and up to date static BHP measurements are not easily available because of the complexities of the beam lift system. To mitigate the NPT associated with BHP pressure instability resulting from well slugging. led to an early TD of the first 2 wells. This change. Controlling BHCP with separator backpressure solved the problem on the first well. At the shoe. This procedure was followed until the 4th well. The accumulator affect caused by the charging and discharging of the concentric annulus resulted in the gas/fluid ratio above the gas injection point to vary by extremes and therefore. included but not limited to pump rates. This facilitates installation and pressure testing of flow lines and the UB surface equipment off the critical path while drilling top hole. combined with the modified process flow appears to solve most of the solids-handling problems. Although this tool is designed as a training simulator. I. The well is circulated clean. FRANCIS. J. The sparge system proved inadequate for the amount of cuttings and the transfer system clogged up. reduce NPT (Figure 5) and lower the unit cost of the project. • The 13 5/8” RCH was replaced with an 11 1/16” RCH. A special bell-nipple adapter was built. This led to efforts to control the ROP by intentionally reducing it and short wiper trips and increased circulation time prior to connections to aid in cuttings removal. a 65/35 blend of Sayyala and processed Nimr crude was used as the kickoff drilling fluid after the second well. This finally led to a decision to shut down and clean out the solids from the separator and settling tank. but gas injection continues and the well flowed while the pipe is stripped back to the shoe. To improve drilling performance. To mitigate issues related to cuttings transport.. gas injection rates. injection gas volume required. the principle of continuous improvement was used to optimise ongoing operations. The remainder of the process is as described before. causing increased torque and drag. The driver for this is no potentially damaging . This can affect many of the design parameters. static pressure was measured after drilling 20 m of reservoir section and the draw-down was applied relative to this pressure. The procedure for tripping pipe has been modified. the pump capacity of the sparge system in the separator was increased and the process flow was modified slightly. Excess unprocessed fluid is pumped from the settling tank into first section of the process tank as before. the well to slug/unload excessively. R. P. it is also now used to predict this behavior as the well is drilled and the appropriate action is taken to minimize the effect on the operation. which made it convenient to switch from conventional mode while drilling top hole to the underbalanced mode simply by removing the adapter nipple and replacing it with the pack-off and bearing. Operational Learning – The way forward Throughout the trial. Therefore. The choke was used on the second well and on subsequent wells reverted back to controlling with separator backpressure. which influence this behavior when using concentric casing gas injection3. More stringent attention to QA/QC of conventional drilling equipment and continuous improvements to the drill string design have also contributed to reduction in NPT. A key element in successful application of underbalanced drilling techniques is the amount of draw-down that the formation will be exposed to during the process. the BHA was redesigned. To improve solids handling at surface. during the trial.It had been observed that by re-measuring the static reservoir pressure while drilling the static pressure measured at the heel may be higher or lower than at the mid-section and at the toe (TD) the pressure can be different again. However. It can also have an impact on borehole stability and fluids/solids handling at surface. Therefore.

Latest test data indicate the well is producing at 92% BSW. While NM496 H2 was for the most part successful in avoiding the larger feature seen in H1 but still encountered some smaller fractures towards the heel. An FMI log was run to positively identify the geological features contributing to the massive influx of water. Production uplift is more difficult to quantify in the better quality Amin and Al Khlata reservoirs due to the fact that most of the UBD wells drilled in the good quality reservoir are infill wells and initial net oil rates are largely dependent on BSW development. A second plug set 30 m above the first and with additional cement pumped below succeeded increasing the net oil to approximately 60% of the gross production. As of December 2002. A flow test was performed and indicated 99% BSW. The well was sidetracked to land further towards the crest of the structure and away from the previously penetrated features. to the heel toe effect or from localized depletion from potentially drilling in to a pressure sink created from producing wells in the area. The well flowed well over 1. The Nimr PE Team decided to plug off the toe section of the well using an ECP and cement.000 kPa draw-down. The first plug succeeded in increasing the net oil 15% of gross production. 5 Reservoir Characterization via UBD Data Applying UBD to identify and characterize flow units within and between the various Amin and Al Khlata reservoirs has by far the largest potential for improving oil production rates and ultimate recovery in Nimr (and many other) fields. this is quite a successful result but it was achieved at the sacrifice of almost 80 m of high Soi length of well. Figure 9 & Figure 10). Preliminary examination of test data indicated a production uplift of at least double conventionally drilled wells to as much as four times conventional well flow rates. Well Inflow Uplift via UBD The initial justification for implementing UBD at Nimr field focused largely on initial oil production rate uplift based on achieving more even inflow from the completion interval due to lack of drilling and completion induced skins. It penetrated good quality Al Khlata P9 just below the overlying Nahr Umr shale and 7" casing was set. To improve data gathering while drilling. well NM493 was drilled underbalanced in good quality Amin reservoir. In December 2002. An additional weathered Amin well is scheduled in early March 2003 to confirm the findings. well NM499 (GI145) was drilled underbalanced in a combination of good quality Amin and weathered zone Amin. Both NM496 and NM498 were drilled along the northern flank of the field. the largest initial production rate uplift has been achieved in the lowest quality Nimr reservoir. Attempts were made to shutoff the fractures and the well was completed barefoot. an additional bank of membranes was added to the gas generation process to allow more flexibility in managing drawdown . Further action to reduce BSW is being considered at this time. Note that 4 1/2" WWS was run following the 3rd flowback test and a subsequent 4th flowback test indicated that additional draw-down caused by the WWS was small. Drilling was stopped at about 85 m of open hole length and a quick production test was run. Results of the various flowback tests are summarized in Figure 6. Considering the reservoir parameters involved. Still not capable of identifying small changes to productivity as we drill but we are sure we are underbalanced on the basis of gross productivity increases as we drill and from instantaneous production increases due to geologic features (sweet spots). Incremental reserves recovery). the measurements made on NM493 are the only absolute measurements of PI ever made in Nimr field. NM498 (FY165) was drilled from the crest towards the flank. the well continues to enjoy good inflow without signs of substantial WWS plugging. (combination of faults and fractures and Al Khlata P9). After drilling the shoe track plus a couple metres of formation. However. However. An intermediate flow-back test was made on the short (+60 m) good quality Amin reservoir section prior to drilling the remaining hole length in the weathered Amin.IADC/SPE 81623 • • THE NIMR STORY: RESERVOIR EXPLOITATION USING UBD TECHNIQUES drilling fluid is left in the open hole while tripping. the Amin weathered zone. A flow test was performed and indicated that well was producing at a 90% BSW. immediate measurable WWS plugging was not expected to occur and well inflow performance continues to be monitored. There is an ongoing effort to identify whether the pressure decline observed as we drill is due. This impacts project economics (Acceleration vs. This was followed by a couple of intervals of fracture clusters separated by about 30 m of good oil saturation intervals until a major fault/fracture cluster was encountered towards the toe of the well. UBD data collected while drilling (PWD) indicated a relatively small influx of water near the heel of the well followed by approximately 150 m of good quality Amin at Soi. Not surprisingly.000 m3/d water (100% BSW) with less than 2. In September 2002. UBD operations were commenced. . The well immediately flowed water. there is evidence that initial production rate uplift is possible using UBD on the high quality Amin and Al Khlata reservoirs. NM496 was drilled from the north towards the south. This well was the first well in the campaign that was flowed back and tested at various well lengths. Two UBD wells illustrate this potential: NM496 and NM498. where the Al Khlata subcrops at the roof and several faults (and erosion features) define a thickening of the Al Khlata section and deepening of the top Amin from south to north (Figure 3. Approximately another 50 m was drilled before an even larger influx of water was recorded by the PWD and surface BSW grind outs. It encountered another high water influx interval (large open fracture and fracture clusters) after +170 m was drilled and another fault and fracture cluster was encountered another +50 m onwards. The resulting calculated Productivity Index (PI) per metre of net well length was substantially higher (20-50%) than prior estimates. The goal for the future is to reduce the loss of high Soi wellbore length to a minimum while controlling water influx even further. It was purposefully drilled below the Al Khlata-Amin erosion interface and steered to ensure that it stay entirely within the Amin reservoir. However.

& DAVIDSON. Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Oil and Gas and PDO for permission to publish this paper.. to increase productivity.. persisting with the implementation through inconclusive start-up results that are typically associated with introducing new technology. MEDEIROS. P. 2 Hashimi.” paper SPE/IADC 79853 presented at the 2003 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference. C.. Walid Eissa.A. which has lead to successful water shut-off and will lead eventually to higher ultimate recovery in Nimr and elsewhere in PDO. J. The data collected from NM496 H1 & H2 and NM498 clearly illustrate the potential to reduce field water to oil ratio (WOR) and improve ultimate recovery using UBD technology in combination with other technologies that can efficiently and reliably control water inflow upon initial completion. Determining precisely where early water breakthrough is occurring in horizontal wells with completions (WWS in open hole) and reservoir properties possessed by fields such as Nimr is more difficult still. P. Feb 19-21.” paper IADC/SPE 81629 presented at the 2003 IADC/SPE Underbalanced Technology Conference and Exibition. et al: “Design and Operational Considerations to Maintain Underbalanced Conditions with Concentric Casing Injection. Houston. 3 Mykytiw.6 RAMALHO.” paper IADC/SPE 81629 presented at the 2003 IADC/SPE Underbalanced Technology Conference and Exibition. IADC/SPE 81623 UBD technology has been effective at exposing the dangers of incorporating simplifications in geological reservoir models when trying to locate unswept oil volumes. et al: “Low Risk/High Reward Strategy Drives Underbalanced Drilling Implementation in PDO. They would also like to thank all those who contributed to the success of this project. The success of the campaign has been due to the multiwell campaign approach. March 25-26. References 1 Francis. Clayton Mykytiw.. Norbert van Beelen. Houston. et al: “A direct Comparison Between Conventional and Underbalanced Drilling Techniqes in the Saih Rawl Field Oman. The initial goal of the campaign. Conclusions Surveillance of horizontal wells is notoriously difficult. I. R. Amsterdam. The learning and concepts applied to Nimr A field have relevance to a wide variety of reservoir settings. has been superceded by the increase in reservoir understanding. March 25-26. . while having some success.G.. in particular Keith Sisson. whose commitment and support were crucial to the success of this campaign. H. FRANCIS. UBD technology has enabled PDO to characterize reservoir flow units and determine the root causes of early water production. and the management and crews of Weatherford UBS and Essar Rig 1.

-850 -900 Haima subcrop -950 F g i . :1 0 0 2 5 5 C P AL KHLATA P1 SANDS 50 % Sw OWC@747MSS -750 0 500 1000 m AL KHLATA P1 AL KHLATA P5 AL KHLATA P9 .: 4 Dr.: Date: January 2000 Fig.:100261 PC Figure 4 .No.IADC/SPE 81623 THE NIMR STORY: RESERVOIR EXPLOITATION USING UBD TECHNIQUES 7 Figure 3 . : D r N o .– UBD Process Equipment NIMR A : W-E Structural Cross Sections NM-78 W NM-85 NM-84 NM-57 NM-43 E it -500 Separa tor Un So l ids Se Tan ttling k Membrane Gas Generation -550 A -600 NATIH -650 AMIN WEATHERED NAHR UMR AL KHLATA P1 AL KHLATA P5 -700 50 % Sw OWC@747MSS -750 AMIN AL KHLATA P1 SANDS -800 AL KHLATA P9 --850 -900 -950 0 500 m -1000 NM-32 W Solids Processing NM-68 NM-303 E -500 -550 B -600 NATIH AMIN WEATHERED -650 NAHR UMR -700 AL KHLATA P5 AL KHLATA P9 AL KHLATA P1 50 % Sw OWC@747MSS -750 AMIN -800 Figure 2 – Fluids Storage -850 -900 950 0 500 m -1000 NM-28 W E -500 -550 C -600 -650 AMIN WEATHERED NATIH -700 NAHR UMR AL KHLATA P1 AL KHLATA P5 50 % Sw OWC@747MSS AL KHLATA P9 -750 AMIN -800 -850 A B -900 Haima subcrop S t o r a g e T a n k F a r C m -950 Nimr-A Area Volumetric Polygon 0 500 m -1000 Author: ONP/22 Rep.No.N o :.Nimr Field Cross-Section N-S Nimr A : N-S Structural Cross Section -500 NM-145 S NM-131 NM-53 NM-85 NM-178 N -550 -600 NATIH -650 NAHR UMR AMIN WEATHERED -700 -800 A tu h o :r AMIN O N P 2 / 2 R e p . Nimr-A Area Volumetric Polygon 5 -1000 .Nimr Field Cross-Section W-E Figure 1 .

.Nimr A Field Map with UBD Well Locations IADC/SPE 81623 . & DAVIDSON. I.8 RAMALHO. P. J.. FRANCIS. Figure 5 . MEDEIROS. R.

Reduction in NPT NIMR UNDERBALANCED DRILLING PERFORMANCE Non Productive Time (Hours) NPT (Hours) 200 150 NON UBD UBD 100 50 0 477 482 484 488 489 491 493 NIMR Well No.IADC/SPE 81623 THE NIMR STORY: RESERVOIR EXPLOITATION USING UBD TECHNIQUES 9 Figure 6 – Rig Up and Rig Down Performance NIMR UNDERBALANCED DRILLING PERFORMANCE Rig Up & Rig Down Time (Days) 25 Days 20 15 10 5 0 477 482 484 488 489 491 493 496 498 499 NIMR Well No. 496 498 499 . Figure 7 .

P. MEDEIROS. J. & DAVIDSON. R. I.. FRANCIS.10 Figure 8 – Flowback Tests for Nimr-493 RAMALHO. IADC/SPE 81623 ..

N-S X-Section along NM498NM496 11 .IADC/SPE 81623 THE NIMR STORY: RESERVOIR EXPLOITATION USING UBD TECHNIQUES Figure 9 – N-S X-Section along NM496 Figure 10 .