Contribution to the “Jaarboek” of the “Mijnbouwkundige Vereeniging”, February 2001, by J.D. Jansen, Delft University of Technology, Department of Applied Earth Sciences, Section Petroleum Engineering, e-mail: email@example.com & Shell E&P Technology Applications and Research, Rijswijk, The Netherlands: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smart well technology involves down-hole measurement and control of well bore and reservoir flow. Drilling and completion techniques have advanced significantly over the last years and allow for the drilling of complex multi-lateral and extended reach wells, and the installation of down-hole inflow control valves, measurement devices for pressure, temperature and flow rate, and processing facilities such as hydro-cyclones in the well bore. Smart wells may allow us to go from passive/reactive production scenarios to active/proactive production control. This could e.g. be achieved through influencing the flow behaviour in the reservoir by imposing a pressure profile along the well bore based on results of down-hole measurements, and if necessary, continuously updated dynamic reservoir models. Full development of this potential requires a more systematic analysis of reservoir and well bore flow in terms of modern measurement and control theory. In parallel this should be combined with a revision of conventional production scenarios, and the development of computational tools to rapidly design and assess the value of smart well solutions.
Figure 1: Artist impression of a smart well with multiple branches, inflow control devices and reservoir imaging functionality.
Smart Wells, February 2001
In the oilfield. a reduced number of wells. just as in the real world. It is in this feedback process that the major value of smart well technology can be expected. well tests and reservoir images obtained from time lapse seismic or other sources. each on it’s own time scale: • Daily production: On a scale of days to weeks. see Figure 1.g. gas and water rates. Extensive modelling will usually not be required. However.
Smart Wells. but also to conventional production activities. for example production targets or utilisation rates. and oil. Dumb wells are sometimes the smartest solution. accelerated production and. Down hole measurement has the scope to improve routine process control (well surveillance) and production measurement (flow allocation). increased ultimate recovery. in addition to well bore and surface flow modelling. and especially those with both. in case of gas or water breakthrough. typical input variables are well head choke settings. intelligence is not always a guarantee for success. water injection pressures. In addition to the variables that control daily production. Control is usually focused on maximising the asset revenues. the production process essentially consists of draining the reservoir. re-completion. Measured output involves production histories. stimulation or even side-tracking or in-fill drilling. are nowadays known as smart or intelligent wells. input includes production engineering activities such as water or gas shut off. although some well bore flow and surface network simulation may be necessary for accurate flow allocation. Two major feedback cycles occur. in particular. it forms a good starting point for the analysis of the added value of smart wells. Control will often be driven by short time optimisation objectives. The picture of course not only applies to the use of smart wells. Processes Figure 2 shows a representation of oil and gas production as a feedback control process.What are smart wells?
What is smart anyway? Wells equipped with permanent down hole measurement equipment or control valves. involving measurement. or lift gas rates. and down hole control will allow for rapid reaction e. and the key question in the development of smart well technology is when the added functionality also adds value. modelling and control. through reduced well intervention costs. System modelling will often involve extensive reservoir simulation. Measured output from the process includes production variables such as pressures. which often translates into maximising ultimate recovery and minimising operating expenditure (OPEX). • Reservoir management: On a time scale of months to years. February 2001
involving measurement. Early co-operation of reservoir engineers.
Smart Wells. accelerated production and. This involves data acquisition.Input
System (reservoir & wells)
Figure 2: Oil and gas production represented as a feedback control process. As with all these developments. the decisions about the use of smart well technology have to be made during the development stage. Another integration aspect concerns routing of real-time data to modelling software. February 2001
. Although the majority of the value of smart wells can expected to be realised during the production phase of the petroleum life cycle. the value is in improved asset management through reduced well intervention costs. thus bringing more and more economic applications within reach. is essential to achieve the objective. modelling and control. transmission and storage in a data base. data brokering. quality control. Although costs are generally still high. The recent rapid increase in smart well applications have to a large extent been driven by the rapid development of down hole measurement and control equipment. it is useful to review the present state of smart well hardware. This involves comparison of a large number of development concepts. The key objective during FDP is maximisation of the net present value (NPV) within the constraints of the project. in particular during field development planning (FDP). production engineers and well engineers. via horizontal wells to multi-lateral wells. usually in combination with a number of subsurface models to reflect geological uncertainties. As was shown above. supported by the appropriate integrated software. Expertise in automated production operations has until recently mainly been gained for surface production equipment and needs to be extended to down hole tools and data transmissions systems. the value of the technology is not so much in the capability to drill and complete the wells. the reliability of the equipment has improved dramatically over the recent years. filtering and transfer to modelling tools. Integration Smart well technology can be seen as a next step in the development from vertical wells.
Before discussing some examples of the use of smart well technology. in particular. impressive as these achievements may be. increased ultimate recovery.
to a limited extent. to achieve a picture of fluid front movements in the reservoir through observation of the differences in seismic images over time. Other developments. Most used are sensors using resonating quartz crystals: the resonance frequency of the electrically excited crystals is a function of pressure and temperature. the down hole developments make take a while before they reach the stage of routine application. and fibre brag grating technology which does away with electronics altogether and uses fibre optics for measurement and data transmission to surface. An exception is the use of venturi meters. • Distributed measurement of pressure and temperature. An effective way of installation of DTS is through pumping it down through a U-tubed ¼ inch control line that was run with the completion. Other flow metering concepts under development include fibre brag grating technology. February 2001
. i. there are several developments to obtain reservoir information from other sources during the producing life of a field. to infer information from the reservoir response to deliberately disturbed inflow into the well bore. capacitance or conductance measurements and electromagnetic helical resonators. although much more in their infancy. This is subject of a recently started PhD project in the section Petroleum Engineering (See below). be inferred from down hole temperature and pressure measurements in combination with surface measurements.
Smart Wells. also known as time lapse seismic. The value of DTS measurements to interpret reservoir inflow has yet to be confirmed. Also known as “permanent down hole gauges” which were already in use long before the term “smart well” became fashionable. are reservoir drainage imaging with the aid of continuous resistivity measurements in a well bore or between well bores. Most notably is the use of “4-dimensional” (4D) seismic. it is possible to obtain a very accurate (0. DTS employs a thin glass fibre optical cable running along the entire length of the well. Using the effect that light sent through the cable scatters with characteristics depending on the local temperature. which can be used for liquid rate determination in wells with inclinations up to 30 degrees. Also. Recent advances include the development of electric resonating diaphragms which have the advantage of having no electronics down hole. • Flow rate and composition meters for down hole use are still very much in a development stage. A recent development is distributed temperature sensing (DTS). Reservoir imaging In addition to direct or indirect down hole measurement of primary production variables (pressure and flow rates). the use of down hole inflow control valves allows for the determination of flow rates from individual well intervals through closing all intervals but one and using surface measurements only (“well testing by exception”).Measurement • Single point measurement of pressure and temperature.e. Given the difficulties to obtain accurate three-phase measurement at surface. Yet another possibility is the use of down hole control valves to perform “on-line well tests”. A next step in distributed sensing is likely to be distributed pressure sensing (DPS).1 degree) temperature profile along the entire well. or through listening to micro-seismicity (cracking) around the well bore with down hole geophones. Compositional meters under development make use of gamma ray absorption. • Information on down hole flow rate and composition can.
although this will usually lead to communication behind the casing between the intervals. Furthermore.
Figure 3: Well with three perforated intervals completed with interval control valves (ICVs). and down hole power generation (e. several experimental systems for cable-less communications have emerged. Another potential future application of down hole processing is down hole gas compression. February 2001
. All the major service companies can provide this functionality. sent mainly electrically or optically (via glass fibre). Recently. the concept can also be used to control outflow from injections wells. Experimental developments are in the area of batteries which can sustain down hole temperatures. and each interval is equipped with a remotely controllable ICV. ICVs can also be applied to wells completed with a slotted liner or a sand screen instead of a cemented casing. The typical cost of such a valve is in the order of 0. Obviously. ICVs installed in the main well bore of a multi-lateral well can be used to control inflow from branches.5 million $.
Smart Wells. In combination with an inverted electric submersible pump (ESP) this allows for down hole re-injection. micro turbines driven by the production flow). In addition to electrically powered system. Figure 3 displays the basic concept: A well is completed with a perforated casing and equipped with a tubing extending below the production packer (also referred to as an extended stinger).can be achieved. and various levels of sophistication – and costs . Down hole processing The biggest development effort in down hole processing is currently in down hole water separation with the aid of cyclones. at present. hydraulic systems are available. No full-field implementations have been performed to date. or can just switch between open and closed (on/off valves). At the high end of the scale are electrically controlled continuously variable ICVs with pressure and temperature measurements and valve position feedback at each valve. The well is divided in intervals with the aid of packers between the tubing and the casing.g.Control Down hole flow and pressure control can be achieved through the use of interval control valves (ICVs). Cheaper solutions employ valves that have a limited number of discrete valve opening settings. Communications and power supply Further smart well hardware developments are in the field of power and data transmission. but several pilot tests are ongoing around the world. with the potential for a dramatic reduction in water production to surface. or even cross flow between different zones in a single well bore. Signals from down hole measurement devices to surface and vice versa are. Power to down hole control equipment is currently provided electrically or hydraulically.
and the possibility to produce commingled in cases were Ronal pressures are equal. either directly or “inferred”. or through work over and reperforation of the well. conventional. is of course necessary. this example relates to daily production optimisation. Water breakthrough in the layers does not occur simultaneously because of permeability differences. in theory. through choking the inflow from the highest pressured zone with a continuously variable ICV. it will probably be sufficient to assess the effect of closure of each ICV on the water production of the well at surface. In practice. if production is restricted at surface. Detection of the water could be done. the maintaining of a constant production plateau. scenario would be to sequentially produce the two zones. A similar solution could of course be used to shut off early gas influx. as well as to asset management.
Figure 4: Control of water break-through in a layered reservoir.Current applications
Water or gas shut-off A first example of the use of smart well technology is depicted in Figure 4. In the latter case some means of flow measurement. February 2001
. thus reducing the amount of water to be processed at surface and preventing early lift-die out of the well. but where government regulation require accounting of production from different zones. well segments can be shut off when water breaks through.
Smart Wells. Using a completion with an on-off ICV in each interval. or. The major value of the smart well solution is in this case the accelerated production. In terms of measurement and control. Commingled production A second example is the use of ICVs to allow commingled production from zones with different pressures. which is particularly attractive for sub-sea wells. through shifting of a sleeve on wire line or coiled tubing. to avoid cross-flow to the lowered pressured zone. by using the results from pressure and temperature sensors at the ICVs. The alternative. Additional benefits are the absence of a work over. see Figure 5. A reservoir with water drive and strong horizontal barriers is drained with a single well with perforated intervals in each separate reservoir layer.
the oil could be produced trough the same well as used for the internal gas injection. Gas dump flooding Figure 6 shows an example where a smart well is used to connect an oil reservoir with weak gas cap drive to an underlying gas reservoir with a higher pressure. In this example. be achieved through influencing the flow behaviour in the reservoir by imposing a pressure profile along the well bore based on results of down-hole measurements. Alternatively. current applications are often extensions of conventional completion techniques such as sequential production from different zones along the well bore.g. February 2001 7/11
.Figure 5: Commingled production from two stacked reservoirs.
Smart well research in the section Petroleum Engineering
Themes As shown in the examples above. Pressure sensors and a continuously variable ICV at the injection interval allow control of the “gas dump flood”. Full development of this potential requires a more systematic analysis of reservoir
Smart Wells. However. continuously updated dynamic reservoir models. This could e. smart wells may allow us to go from passive/reactive production scenarios to active/proactive production control. and if necessary. using a concentric or parallel dual completion solution.
Oil production Gas re-injection for pressurization
Figure 6: Pressure maintenance in an oil reservoir through controlled gas dump flooding. a second well is used to drain the oil.
and in particular of a model-based control framework for reservoir engineering.
Smart Wells.e. modelling and control. This involves low-order models focused on direct identification and control. The current research program into smart wells in the Section Petroleum Engineering therefor focuses on the following three themes: • Application of measurement and control concepts to reservoir engineering: • Development of conceptual smart well solutions for improved reservoir drainage. • Use of down hole measurement and control equipment to perform frequent down hole well tests. • Development of techniques to systematically take into account the effects of uncertainties in the entire cycle of system response. the activity of building and updating a model using measured data. • Development of computational methods for smart well modelling. • Development of system identification techniques to estimate reservoir model parameters from down-hole measurements. • Development of model reduction techniques and control algorithms for the systematic optimisation of production parameters.and well bore flow in terms of modern measurement and control theory. measurement. We will discuss these themes in somewhat more detail below. and represents the oil production process as a model-based control problem. Some topics that are currently being investigated or are planned to be addressed in the near future include: • Development of system models of the behaviour of reservoirs. including the time-varying and non-linear aspects. as a well as large scale reservoir models. In parallel this should be combined with a revision of conventional production scenarios. Application of measurement and control concepts to reservoir engineering Figure 7 is a more detailed version of Figure 2. wells and surface facilities. February 2001
. In the modelling phase a box has been added to emphasise the role of identification. and the development of computational tools to rapidly design and assess the value of smart well solutions. i.
Input System (reservoir & wells) State variables
Figure 7: Model based control.
caused by frictional pressure drop in the well bore resulting in a higher draw down at the heel than at the toe. As a result the well is prone to early water or gas breakthrough at the heel. . often referred to as the Peaceman model. white = oil. the grid block size in reservoir simulators is far to big to accurately represent the detailed near-well bore flow. This typically occurs for large-diameter. Figure 9 (top left) illustrates the occurrence of a very uneven inflow along the axis of a horizontal well. black = water. that particular interval is shut off and the water or gas cone is allowed to recede before re-opening of the interval . Left: top view of the reservoir with a pair of parallel horizontal injection and production wells. Right: Displacement pattern at the moment of waterbreakthrough using smart wells. revealing a much higher recovery. The first one. employs an extended stinger with one continuously variable ICV at the heel to flatten the draw down profile.
Smart Wells.Conceptual smart well solutions for improved reservoir drainage Figure 8 displays the results of a first attempt to improve ultimate recovery in heterogeneous reservoirs through the use of smart wells. An intuitive optimisation algorithm was used to control the ICV settings to optimise recovery . and the effectiveness of the well near the toe is strongly reduced. February 2001
. Other work in the area of computational modelling involved the well bore flow in extended stinger completions such as the SSC discussed above . . Middle: Displacement pattern at the moment of water-breakthrough using conventional wells. wells sometimes a more accurate description is required. The second method. multilateral. For advanced. This study forms the basis for a more formal optimisation approach currently under development. and recently research in the section Petroleum Engineering addressed some aspects of improved inflow modelling . Computational methods for smart well modelling Usually.
Figure 8: Improved water flooding of a reservoir with a highly permeable streak. and thus the inflow profile . using a pair of horizontal production and water injection wells with ICVs. the smart stinger completion (SSC). highrate wells producing from highly permeable reservoirs. Once water or gas has broken through. Another area of interest is the use of smart wells to counteract the effect of pressure drop in horizontal wells. Figure 9 (top right and bottom left) display two conceptual solutions to counteract this effect. the inflow switching process (ISP). uses a number of on/off ICVs to regularly move the point of highest draw down along the well bore. This particular example simulates the drainage of a reservoir that incorporates a high permeable streak. Figure 9 (bottom right) illustrates that both methods result in an oil production behaviour almost identical to that in case of an ideal well without pressure drop. This is often accounted for through the use of a semi-analytical correction method.
The three lines close together represent production using the SSC. and in particular optical techniques and cable-less communication are likely to lead to a dramatic increase in down hole measuring capabilities over the coming years.e. Lagging behind the hardware developments are the capabilities to use the equipment for creation of value. Top left: a conventional horizontal well. The solitary line represent production for a conventional completion.00E+00 0 1 2 3 4 Time [years] 5 6 7
Figure 9: Smart well solutions to combat frictional pressure drop in horizontal well bores. February 2001
. Research in the section Petroleum Engineering should focus on concepts. This is to a large extent a matter of asset management. and not on hardware.50E+04
Basecase ISP Frictionless SSC
1.1 and Kh = 2000m D
Inflow / unit length
Oil rate [sbbl/day]
1. not on what is possible with smart well technology today. the concept of using measurement and control to optimise oil and gas production is here to stay. the ideal situation). Bottom left: the inflow switching process (ISP).00E+04 Kv /Kh = 0. but on what will be possible whenever the hardware becomes available. displaying decreasing inflow from heel to toe because of pressure drop along the well bore. and increased integration between disciplines. Top right: the smart stinger completion (SSC). the handling of large amounts of data.Inflow / unit length
Inflow / unit length
2. and the major steps to take are the development of improved concepts for “smart” reservoir management.
Although the expression smart wells may be likely to disappear as suddenly as it came into fashion. Hardware is developing fast and in many directions. Bottom right: Cumulative oil production as a function of time.
Smart Wells. the ISP and production from a conventional well without pressure drop (i.00E+03
D. MSc Thesis. Centre for Technical Geoscience. Jansen. A.P. Centre for Technical Geoscience. Delft University of Technology. Van der Starre. Droppert. C.W.
DTS DUT ESP E&P FDP ICV ISP NPV OPEX SIEP SSC 4D Distributed Temperature Sensing Delft University of Technology Electric Submersible Pump Exploration and Production Field Development Plan(ning) Inflow Control Valve or Interval Control Valve Inflow Switching Process Net Present Value OPerating Expenditure Shell International Exploration and Production Smart Stinger Completion 4-dimensional (3 in space. December 2000. Shell sponsors two PhD positions. Delft University of Technology.: Recovery Increase Through Waterflooding Using Smart Well Technology. The Hague. which were taken from internal Shell publications.F. Report CTG/PW/00-017. Centre for Technical Geoscience.
Smart Wells. the author of this paper is jointly employed (50%-50%) by DUT and SIEP. J.: Expressions for the flow through grid block boundaries near wells in reservoir models with irregular grids. Centre for Technical Geoscience. Wagenvoort. MSc Thesis.B. SPE European Formation Damage Conference.W. Report CTG/PW/99-015. J.D.W.: Numerical modeling of the flow in extended stinger completions. paper SPE 68979. September 2000. Berentsen. Delft University of Technology.R. Delft University of Technology. Delft University of Technology.: Application of Smart Well Technology to Combat the Effects of Frictional Pressure Drop in Horizontal Wells . Jansen..D. Report CTG/PW/00-019. MSc Thesis. S.J. Jansen. 21–22 May 2001.J.: Application of an Advanced Well Model in a Reservoir Simulator. December 2000. and furthermore. V.The Interval Switching Process. Van der Starre. S.: Recovery Increase Through Waterflooding Using Smart Well Technology..S. M. 1 in time)
 Brouwer. The author acknowledges permission from Shell to publish the material and to use Figures 1 and 4 to 6. Report CTG/PW/00-002. Delft University of Technology. MSc Thesis. Report CTG/PW/00-003.The Smart Stinger Completion. December 2000.: Application of Smart Well Technology to Combat the Effects of Frictional Pressure Drop in Horizontal Wells . February 2001
. D. September 1999. Proc. J. Report CTG/PW/00-020. De Koning. and Van Kruijsdijk. C. Centre for Technical Geoscience. Centre for Technical Geoscience. October 2000.Acknowledgements
Research into smart wells in the section Petroleum Engineering of the Department of Applied Earth Sciences of the Delft University of Technology (DUT) is supported by Shell International Exploration and Production (SIEP).