8 common misconceptions about horizontal injectors
Horizontal or vertical. Which is the best injector?
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One operator has decided that horizontal wells are the best injectors for her heavy oil pool. Check out her reasons for using horizontal injectors on page 3 of her application.
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There are many myths about horizontal injectors. Here are just a few. Nein commercial use of der AppIntel content.
Myth 1. We are the first
If you are converting your first horizontal injector, you are not blazing new trails.
The first horizontal injectors were drilled in the early 1990's.
Today less than 30% of injectors in service are horizontal, but the percentage is slowly climbing.
Because you are not the first, you can see how they worked for other operators using AppIntel
Myth 2. More injectivity
Although it is true that injectors can provide more injectivity, sweep is not always uniform. Many floods have seen quick break-through using horizontal to horizontal injector/producer patterns.
These short-circuits impair sweep, reduce recovery, raise water production and drop oil production. Who wants those outcomes?
Although some companies use polymer to try to block high perm streaks, others end up reducing injection to balance sweep patterns. Seems a shame to reduce injection after converting an expensive horizontal injector.
Myth 3. You need polymer
Special polymer diverter technology may help with injection conformance.
But use of polymer doesn't fix every short circuit problem. Often plugging the best perm in an injector severely reduces injectivity of the entire well.
Nevertheless, you might try to take your flood to the next level by using polymer or some other exotic injectant.
Myth 4. More contact with the reservoir
Although it is true that horizontal injectors have more length in meters or feet in the reservoir rock, that brings more unpleasant surprises than you would expect. Two of those surprises are heterogeneity of the rock and of the fluid types along the wellbore.
First, the reservoir rock is not the same along the well. The more length in the reservoir an injector has, the more rock differences will appear.
Although full open hole log sets are not always run on horizontal wells, even ROP and gamma ray logs show significant variation along a horizontal well bore.
Second, fluid types and concentrations may vary along the reservoir. For example, if a gas cap is encountered at any point in a horizontal leg, you may end up injecting all your water into the gas cap. Big Fail.
Myth 5. Every inch of the injector contributes
Not every inch of an injector length has great injectivity. Tight spots and shale breaks inhibit injectivity.
On the other hand, some areas of the reservoir are simply more permeable than others. Water often short circuits through these areas.
Myth 6. Formation damage is only in the toe
Some experts believe that formation damage is always worse in the toe because there is more mud pressure there. Others believe that the heel is exposed longer to drilling mud, so it is more damaged.
Rather we have found that the differences in permeability along the wellbore length contribute significantly to filter cake build up and fluid loss. Formation damage is most likely in those permeable sections of the horizontal injector.
Myth 7. East/West is the right horizontal injector direction
Many operators drill their injectors in an East/West orientation parallel to the section boundaries.
on the other hand, some swear that North/South is the right horizontal injector direction.
But we believe it is better to position an injector to take advantage of high permeability direction. A properly chosen injector direction will reduce water break through.
If you want to discover the best injector direction, inject first with a vertical well and track the water breakthrough pattern. After you have learned about directional permeability from the vertical injector, your horizontal injector will be placed in a much smarter direction.
Myth 8. Everybody's doing it
Not all new injectors are horizontal. In 2017, only 62% of injectors were being drilled horizontally. That's down from 95% only 3 years before. The trend is to drill more vertical injectors.
We have discussed eight common misconceptions about horizontal injectors. There are many more. Choosing the right injector type and azimuth directions depends on permeability distribution in the reservoir.
Call Proven to help you select injectors -- we have experience on over 200 floods.
Better way to learn than reading technical papers
There is a much better way to finding field level information than reading technical information in SPE papers. SPE authors only emphasize one aspect of a technical topic. They often try to conceal much of the other critical oil and gas information to maintain their competitive advantage.
Not so with a regulatory application. The picky regulator requires all the detail. They adjudicate the application with a careful eye to understand the technical merits of the entire operation. You can learn much more from applications than SPE papers.
Application documents are the best source
The technical information contained in application documents are a diary of real field implementation. That's the value of reading applications.
By reading applications, you can find out which wells are injecting polymer or solvent and which ones are only injecting water. It's difficult to find that any other way.
Why ignore the field trials of others? Learn from their mistakes.
The nice thing about looking for technical information about horizontal wells from applications is that you can see the actual UWI of the injectors. Then you can go to Accumap and see the injection response. We call it ground truthing technical advances.
AppIntel: the easiest, quickest and best source of application documents
When you need to find an application, closed or approved, you can get it quickest from AppIntel. AppIntel has better search capabilities, quicker delivery, and more information about the application than any other source.
AppIntel's search functions are quicker than any other search engine. You can search by area, application type, date or just key in natural language search as if it was google.
And AppIntel's collection of historic applications is much larger than any other collection we've seen.
AppIntel adds search by UWI for applications that don't even have a UWI.
AppIntel costs less than a quarter of one person's salary. For the same price of a team of six man data-mining department, you could supply all your petroleum and facility engineers with AppIntel.
Tags: Tight, Polymer, Flood, Heavy Oil
Granger Low 1 May 2019
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