First ultra-deepwater integrated completion system
As operators began to set their sights on the huge reserves in the Gulf of Mexico’s Lower Tertiary and other ultra-deepwater plays, the disparity between today’s “conventional” deepwater completions technology and what is needed for tomorrow’s wells became increasingly pronounced. Safe, economic development of these reservoirs would require a step change in technology—and a new approach to collaboration and integration.
In 2012, Baker Hughes announced the creation of its Lower Tertiary Integrated Product Team (IPT)—an integrated cross-functional group dedicated to closing the frontier technology gap in anticipation of today’s ultra-deepwater opportunities. The IPT’s first mission was to design and deliver the Hammerhead system—the industry’s first ultra-deepwater wellhead-to-reservoir integrated completion and production solution.
The Hammerhead system is designed for wells as deep as 33,000 ft total vertical depth, located in water depths of up to 10,000 ft, and it must perform reliably in pressures and temperatures of up to 22,500 psi and 300°F. In addition to unlocking hydrocarbons from tight, low-permeability formations through massive stimulation treatments, it must also sustain production volumes as great as 20,000 bopd, or more, for decades. Meeting these challenges required a new portfolio of products designed for HPHT conditions, and these new products must also work together as a fully integrated system. This holistic engineering approach would help to reduce operational risk and eliminate the burden of multi-vendor integration.
The development process for the Hammerhead system started with validating design and scope through customer feedback. The system was engineered-for-purpose based on the needs and wants of the operator. Key requirements included long-term, safe and reliable operation in extreme conditions, full regulatory compliance, reliable well control, and ultimately, the ability to secure the planned return on investment.
For the last three years, the IPT—composed of 95 dedicated members from various disciplines—operated outside of the typical business model for product development, enabling rapid engineering design and development of the system, as well as shortened manufacturing lead times. This approach accelerated the system to market in less than half of the time compared to the typical development cycle for a system of its scope. Much of the research and design work occurred at Baker Hughes Center for Technology Innovation (CTI), located in Houston, Texas. The CTI facility is capable of testing up to 40,000 psi and 700°F—the highest in the world. The test cells at CTI were critical in validating specifications of every component. The IPT worked closely with customers through every phase of development, ensuring the system would meet, and even exceed, their expectations.
Fully assembled, the system includes an upper completion with intelligent well system (IWS) capabilities, isolation assembly, and a lower completion system, Fig. 1. The lower completion features a 5¼-in. minimum production inside diameter—the industry’s largest for a high-pressure 8½-in. drift completion. The system is capable of handling sustained flowrates up to 30,000 bopd with high differential pressures up to 15,000 psi, and it is fully compatible with subsea boosting technology for reduced abandonment pressures and maximum recovery.
The lower completion, including screens, sleeves, and packers, is run in hole in a single trip, and features a high-performance frac-pack system designed and tested for extreme rates, pressures, and temperatures. The frac-pack system is engineered to increase reliability and simplify operations through positive tool indications that enable greater set-down weight and higher up-strain. When supported by advanced stimulation vessels, the frac-pack system can deliver as much as 5,000,000 lb of proppant at up to 50 bbl/min., into as many as five zones, ensuring optimal reservoir connectivity and conductivity for increased hydrocarbon flow.
Selective shifting profiles allow the lower portion of the isolation assembly to be run into the lower completion before any sleeves are opened, minimizing fluid loss into the formation. A mechanical barrier is included to maintain reliable well control during the upper completion installation.
Downhole wet-connect technology allows distributed temperature sensing fiber optic cables to be placed inside the lower completion and then brought online during production. Once the well is turned on, surveillance and control capabilities permit remote monitoring and facilitate selective zonal control with dual choking, hydraulic IWS valves for proactive reservoir management. The system allows operators to selectively control zones to optimize production flow, while deposition inhibitor technology can be delivered, as needed via chemical injection valves, helping to avoid costly production interruptions and to provide reliable flow assurance.Related Articles
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