Integrated Approach Overcomes Depleted-Reservoir Challenges

This paper describes challenges faced in a company’s first deepwater asset in Malaysia and the methods used to overcome these issues in the planning stage. Because of the depleted nature of all three reservoirs located above the untapped reservoir, a need exists to drill through these depleted intervals with an extremely narrow margin window (less than 0.5 lbm/gal). An added complexity is the location of the reservoir, directly below a hydrates bulge. To address the challenges of this well, an integrated approach between various disciplines has proved to be a critical success factor.


The field is offshore Sabah. The first phase of the development was completed in 2014, with 16 wells drilled.

The development includes gas reinjection and seawater injection. The hydrocarbons are trapped in a four-way dip closure developed in an anticline structure containing four sand reservoirs separated by sealing shale layers. The Phase 1 development targeted the two main reservoir units (B and C) in the middle of the four reservoir sands. The pressure maintenance for the development of these two main reservoir units is provided by a combination of downdip water injection in the water leg and crestal gas injection in the gas cap. The second phase, comprising two oil producers and two water injectors, aims to maintain the oil-production plateau.

One of the Phase 2 objectives is to target the deepest untapped reservoir (D) in the field with Well 4. However, as mentioned previously, Well 4 must drill through depleted intervals with extremely narrow drilling margins. Two of the four wells (Wells 1 and 2) only will drill into the depleted B reservoir in the final reservoir hole section, while the third well will cross the depleted B reservoir before drilling into the depleted target reservoir, C, in the final hole section.

Phase 2 will offer the opportunity to acquire further data. Because of the stacked arrangement of Reservoirs A, B, C, and D and the wells targeting different reservoirs, a possibility exists to sequence the drilling campaign in a batch mode and to use data acquisition, operational learnings, and prediction validation before committing to drilling the intermediate and reservoir sections of the most difficult well (Well 4).

The projected formation pore pressure and fracture gradient (PPFG) poses significant drilling challenges because of depletion plus the geomechanical requirements. The Reservoir C water injector is predicted to have a limited drilling margin because of the depletion of Reservoir B.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 28517, “Deepwater Extended-Reach-Well Planning Through Depleted Reservoirs,” by Beng-Hooi Shi, Jennifer Koh, Dexter Liew, and Guat-Lee Chio, Shell, prepared for the 2018 Offshore Technology Conference Asia, Kuala Lumpur, 20–23 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2018 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Integrated Approach Overcomes Depleted-Reservoir Challenges

01 May 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 5