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Measuring oil and water inflow

Published:  01 August, 2017

In any deep water field development it is important to monitor oil and water production from all wells in order to manage fluid movement and maximise hydrocarbon output. The use of Smart Tracers integrated into a lower completion, alongside the use of waterflood tracers, can provide a number of advantages over traditional oil and gas inflow measurement technologies, often at a fraction of the cost.

One recent application reportedly required Tracerco to install 53 unique oil and water Smart Tracers in production wells of a subsea development, along with a number of interwell tracers in seawater injection wells. The oil tracers’ primary use was to verify clean out and long term oil flow from each of the wells. Water tracers were used to detect the position of water breakthrough along each well and confirm whether the water source was from the formation or injected seawater.

During well start up and pressure build up tests, regular samples of oil were taken from the common flow line transporting fluids from all wells to the production facility. Analysis of tracer response allowed the measurement of average inflow across specific portions of each well. Comparison of reservoir quality acquired during drilling activities matched those inflow parameters measured using the Smart Tracers. 

Following the onset of water breakthrough, regular samples of water were taken from the comingled flow line and analysed for the presence of tracers. Detection of tracers in samples and knowledge of their position in each of the production wells allowed an assessment of where the water was originating and whether it was injected seawater or formation water. Over time, as more water tracers were produced, comparison of water tracer concentration allowed a comparative map of water cut across all of the wells. 

Over time waterflood tracer breakthrough was detected originating from one of the injection wells. In parallel with the detection of the waterflood tracer it was noticed that an additional inflow Smart water tracer had simultaneously appeared. This well was shut-in for a short time period to verify that injection water was flowing into this well. During shut-in the waterflood and smart tracer disappeared from sampled water confirming the relationship between the injector and production well. 

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