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Downhole inflow control devices allow for the flexible operation of nonconventional wells. They provide the ability to independently control each branch of a multilateral well and can, therefore, be used to maximize oil production or to minimize unwanted water or gas. A method for optimizing the operation of intelligent wells (IWs), i.e., wells containing downhole sensors and inflow control devices, is presented, with examples.
The method entails use of a conjugate gradient optimization technique applied in conjunction with a commercial reservoir simulator that contains a detailed multisegment well model. The overall optimization technique is applied to example problems involving different types of wells and geological models, as well as multiple geostatistical realizations. The improvement in predicted performance using inflow control devices, which is as high as 65% in one case, is demonstrated for all of the examples considered.
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