Detailed Well Design Unlocks New Area of Production

Posted by Doug Gilmour on Aug 1, 2014 12:07:00 PM RSS Share Post

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With Paradigm Sysdrill, engineering services team overcomes urban drilling restrictions in Colorado Wattenberg field.

Drilling in urban environments is typically conducted on a limited scale due to a lack of physical and legal drilling locations, with the result that hydrocarbon reservoirs in these areas are generally under-developed.

However, a recent project conducted by Integrated Petroleum Technologies Inc. for Mineral Resources Inc. dramatically demonstrates how production limits imposed by restricted surface locations can be effectively overcome through detailed trajectory and engineering well design.

The project involved generation of a full field development plan for a 10 square mile acreage beneath the city of Greeley, Colorado and filled what had been a significant development hole in the heart of the Denver-Julesburg Basin’s Wattenberg field – one of the largest natural gas deposits in the United States.

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Location and extent of the Wattenberg Gas Field, Colorado. 

Located in northeastern Colorado, this basin-centered field covers more than 2,000 square miles and has produced more than 4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas from geologic formations including the Codell Sandstone and the Niobrara Formation. In 2009, the US Energy Information Administration listed Wattenberg as the 10th largest gas field in the US in terms of remaining proved gas reserves and 13th in remaining proved oil/condensate reserves.

The Greely development plan targeted both the Niobrara at around 6650’ TVD and the Codell at around 6950’ TVD. In the case of the Niobrara, two key formation benches were targeted, requiring planned laterals to be staggered between a total of three separate zones. In combination with the dense pad patterns proposed, these target requirements demanded accurate trajectory planning, survey error modelling, clearance analysis, and visualization to ensure optimal wellbore placement and avoid potential wellbore collisions.

To access the gas condensate reserves on an economic basis, it was necessary to use long horizontal wells (up to 17,000’ Measured Depth), some of which required significant offsets (up to 4500’) before entering the mile and a half long lateral section. Such extended wells needed detailed engineering design to ensure drillability and avoid potential string failures.

The overall challenge was to generate a reliable development plan for the entire acreage that effectively addressed all trajectory and engineering concerns, and produce final well proposals that could be drilled safely, efficiently and successfully.

Integrated Petroleum Technologies found its solution in Paradigm Sysdrill®, a single application for comprehensive well planning, survey management and drilling engineering analysis. Sysdrill enhances productivity and accuracy through unprecedented levels of data, interface and workflow integration.

By using the Sysdrill system, the engineering services team was able to rapidly design multiple pad patterns that fulfilled all the requirements of anti-collision and reservoir placement. They could then immediately validate these proposed trajectories from the perspective of critical engineering aspects such as torque & drag, hydraulics, cementing and casing design.

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Fully engineered wells for the Greeley field development project displayed in the Sysdrill 3D Viewer (Image courtesy of Integrated Petroleum Technologies Inc. and Mineral Resources Inc.)

Sysdrill torque & drag functions were an important part of the engineering workflow, enabling the team to run multiple scenarios for different well path and string combinations. On the basis of this work, they made several key recommendations regarding string design, including the use of more robust string connections than were originally proposed.

Because of the large number of wellbores in close proximity to each other, the ability to share high-quality, interactive 3D output files with their client was a distinct advantage for Integrated Petroleum Technologies when reviewing refinements to the development plan.

“The Sysdrill solution has allowed us to significantly expand our service offering and has rapidly become essential in our day to day operations,” said Clayton Doke, senior engineer at Integrated Petroleum Technologies. “The integrated nature of the application coupled with its ease of use allows us to efficiently deliver the comprehensive well planning and drilling engineering services that our clients require.”

Through use of the comprehensive Sysdrill well planning and drilling engineering tool, Integrated Petroleum Technologies was able to demonstrate engineering feasibility for their client’s acreage despite the significant challenges present in the area. The client is now successfully executing on this development plan with a high degree of confidence.

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