Combined Technologies Offer Time-Saving and Efficient Alternatives for Zonal Isolation
Abstract Effectively managing resources encompasses accurate engineering of target formations and prudent execution of project capital. Attaining both requires employing current technologies and implementing efficient operations, especially with today’s challenging drilling environments and economic climate. In multiple cases these objectives have been realized by combining solid expandable tubulars and swellable elastomers to effectively isolate zones without cementing. Swellable elastomers on openhole expandable systems installed in hard rock eliminated not only the need for cementing, but also for underreaming (usually a necessity when installing expandables). The dual technology, when coupled with coiled tubing, enabled isolating multiple zones while optimizing casing diameter to accommodate high-rate fracturing operations. This approach enabled implementing a flexible fracturing process for operational efficiency. In addition to drilling and completion applications, solid expandable tubulars and swellable elastomers provide a solution for challenges encountered when producing from mature reservoirs. A major challenge in reservoir management lies in controlling water production as the well life ages. An intervention project that combined solid expandable and swellable elastomer technology shut off unwanted water production that resulted in a sustained increase in oil production. This paper describes how the respective evolution of solid expandable tubulars and swellable elastomers provided a step change in technology. Applications and case histories will be cited to illustrate the resulting savings of time, money, and consumables, and exemplify the technology’s efficiency, reliability, and cost effectiveness.