Potential Infill well plans showing different sidetrack opportunities while targeting bypassed oil in an onshore oil field. Data courtesy of RMOTC and US DOE.
The economic and engineering risk associated with the development of hydrocarbon assets is immense. In existing fields, drilling of new infill wells brings in a separate set of challenges regarding optimal well spacing and placement. So, now more than ever, engineers and geoscientists are relying on technology that provides them with a better understanding of the oil field to handle the challenges in planning and development of infill well projects.
In directional or horizontal drilling of infill wells, the ability to plan ahead can help reservoir engineers and geologists make assessments regarding risks and cost reduction opportunities. With advanced technological software capabilities, asset teams can visually assess various types of uncertainty to make accurate predictions about well placement and its economic value.
Optimizing Infill Well Spacing
The potential challenges involved with infill well development are determining the optimal part of the pay zone to target and the drilling opportunities among a myriad of existing wells. Decision-making in such cases requires reservoir engineers, geologists, and drilling engineers to have an opportunity to analyze all possible outcomes and evaluate the uncertainties in drilling. The ability to include a 3D model during the well planning phase can help asset teams visually evaluate the reservoir to predict the ideal drilling response and its effect on the reservoir and production behavior.
With an integrated 3D visualization capability, it is easier to analyze subsurface characteristics and attributes and define the potential target. During the planning phase, engineers can first utilize the interactive 3D model for the optimum targeting of the pay zone. These points can then be utilized to navigate around the existing wells for developing plans—taking into account surface works, the intermediate portion of the wellbore, ideal infill well spacing, as well as the production zone. This also gives the asset team much collaboration opportunity to review the plan and study its feasibility.
The ideal implementation of the visual analysis approach to infill well planning can help asset teams identify targets in less iteration, saving time and cost for the infill project.
Visual Analysis Enhances Accuracy
A large amount of existing subsurface, well, and production data contribute to the computation of infill well spacing. However, precision in planning can be compromised with data uncertainties resulting in potential risks of well collision or interference. With the help of software tools like CoViz 4D and WellArchitect, it is possible to reduce these risks in the planning phase. Visualization abilities can be leveraged to:
- Identify the optimal geospatial positioning of the target.
- Integrate 3D model with existing well plans to evaluate possible well trajectories and landing zones with nearby wells.
- Run multiple iterations during the planning stage to help identify the best approach to infill well drilling.
- Measure distance between wells and drainage radiuses.
- Display faults, horizons, and boundary lines.
The availability of this information can help increase accuracy and precision in infill well spacing. Asset teams can collaborate with each other to review and identify the feasibility of the infill well plan over time with respect to the subsurface geology and its potential variations. Any possible deviations identified earlier provides the project with an opportunity to look at the alternative approaches, reducing negative economic consequences for the project.
CoViz 4D and WellArchitect: Utilizing Visual Analysis Capability for Efficient Planning
Most infill well projects are strictly time-bound and require precision during implementation. CoViz 4D and WellArchitect facilitate the integration of a 3D model with other disparate subsurface data and models during planning to identify the optimal geospatial position of the target. Pay zone imaging can be used to navigate infill wellplans around offset wells to within an optimal well spacing to help reduce collision risks and optimize production. Leveraging the visualization ability also allows the asset team to locate shallow hazards. With a 3D model, it is easier to readjust the well plan to avoid such hazards without compromising accuracy. The visualization and analysis of a wide range of data reduce the number of iterations required during planning which helps in saving time and costs in data-intensive projects such as the infill well projects.