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Smart Entry into Multilateral Wells with Coiled Tubing Fiber Optic Telemetry

Gabriel Coss, Doran Cruickshank, Syed Danish, Giuseppe Ambrosi, and Alexis Garcia, Halliburton

Copyright 2017, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Kuwait Oil & Gas Show and Conference held in Kuwait City, Kuwait, 15-18 October 2017.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written
consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may
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Verifying that conventional coiled tubing (CT) has entered the correct lateral of a multilateral well can be
a time-consuming and tedious challenge. While passing the kickoff point (KOP), surface pressure sensors
may not clearly identify that a hydraulic knuckle joint has entered the lateral. To verify which lateral has
been entered, the CT must be run-in-hole (RIH) to tag the unique total depth (TD) of the lateral. It can be
difficult to prove that the correct lateral has been entered if the TDs for two laterals do not differ significantly.
If the CT tags before or after the expected TD is reached, then the operator must pull out of hole (POOH)
and repeat this process.
This paper presents an improved method for detecting which lateral has been entered shortly after passing
the KOP by using a real-time, fiber optic cable (RTFO) bottomhole assembly (BHA). The RTFO BHA is
equipped with sensors for gamma radiation (GR), tool inclination, tool face, casing collar locator (CCL),
internal and external pressure, and temperature. These readings enable the operator to use the CCL and
gamma detector to correlate to the desired lateral’s pipe joints using an existing CCL/GR log. The tool face
reading theoretically predicts which angle the knuckle joint should be indexed. The internal pressure sensor
provides clear indication of pressure changes when a hydraulic knuckle joint has entered the lateral and the
inclination sensor verifies that the inclination of the BHA matches the inclination of the desired lateral.
This paper discusses two dual-lateral water injection wells; the TDs of the laterals in the first well
were equal, with no trait that conventional CT would be able to distinguish. In addition, the inclination of
each lateral was very close to the other, making the difference of pipe weight, read from the surface, not
significantly different enough to verify which lateral had been entered. However, with the RTFO BHA, the
correct lateral was easily entered and verified, significantly reducing time, risk, fluids, and CT pipe fatigue,
while providing assurance that the stimulation fluid was accurately placed.
This paper describes the first time that a flow-through gamma, inclination, tool face sensor module was
deployed to accurately enter, identify, and stimulate a casedhole multilateral well without cycling the CT at
the KOP, and without relying on tagging TD to confirm that the BHA is inside the desired lateral. The new
process proved to be a better, more cost effective, and efficient way to stimulate multilateral wells. This
solution can be used by operators to extend the life of their mature fields.
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In this field, the formation has both an onshore and offshore foot print with tight carbonate streaks. The
field has a waterdrive mechanism, with a major concentration of water injectors placed on land. Because of
challenging oil production/water disposal targets, three new multilateral water disposal wells were drilled
in a pad and put on injection. Acid stimulation was required because of poor response/mud damage. Coiled
tubing well intervention was proposed to perform the stimulation of the formation over the casedhole,
perforated zones. The primary challenge, however, was to accurately enter and identify each lateral. In
a similar well in the same field, a stimulation was attempted with conventional CT, and the job was not
successful because the entry into the lateral could not be confirmed with traditional techniques. Therefore,
the RTFO integrated system was proposed to eliminate uncertainty and wasted time.
Fig. 1 provides an example of a dual lateral well.

Figure 1—Example dual lateral well

RTFO System Overview. The RTFO system consists of a downhole sensor BHA that sends data signals
to the surface where it is received inside the CT reel. The signal is decoded and passed through the electrical
slip ring to the CT control house, where it is graphically viewed in real time. The RTFO system has been used
extensively worldwide to provide real-time CCL, internal pressure, internal temperature, external pressure,
and external temperature data (Webb et al. 2014).
Electrical Slip Ring. After downhole data has been received and processed inside the CT reel, the data
is sent to the CT cabin through an electrical slip ring mounted on the CT reel. The slip ring provides an
electrical path from the CT reel to the CT control house while the CT reel is rotating during operations. It
also enables continuous power to be provided to the data acquisition system (DAS) inside the reel for the
duration of the job. The slip ring is expensive and can be challenging to mount on the many different types
of CT reels used, but it eliminates the downtime associated with changing batteries in a battery powered,
wireless system.
Gamma–Inclination–Tool Face Module. This RTFO integrated system has been used on several jobs
in the same region and was proven to be reliable for CCL, pressure, and temperature data. However, this
was the first job to include the newly developed gamma module (Fig. 2), which includes readouts of gamma
radiation, tool inclination, and tool face data. The compact, modular design was developed to enable all
of these sensors to be used in combination to provide better information about downhole occurrences as
the BHA (Fig. 3) enters a lateral. The gamma detector is used to better correlate depth before reaching the
KOP. The tool face sensor (Fig. 4) measures the angular orientation of the BHA as the lateral is entered to
theoretically predict which angle the knuckle joint will actuate with respect to the lateral. The tool inclination
is used to confirm that the BHA has entered the correct lateral after passing the KOP.
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During its development, the module was subjected to rigorous testing, including shock, vibration, tension,
compression, torque, and temperature testing. It was then field tested for jobs in the US before it was
deployed to other regions.

Figure 2—Compact gamma module

Figure 3—RTFO BHA

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Figure 4—Tool face display gauge

Reentry Process and Stimulation of Lateral Wells

This section provides information about the reentry process and stimulation of two lateral wells: Well A
and Well B.
Well A. In Well A, the laterals, L0 and L1, each had a TD of 7,694 ft, which made it impossible to
determine which lateral the CT had entered by tagging the TD. The KOP for this well was at 6,133 ft.
No CCL log was available for either lateral, but a partial pipe tally was provided along with azimuth and
inclination surveys. The inclination of each lateral differed by only five degrees at the two TDs. Fig. 5 shows
the well schematic of each lateral.

Figure 5—Well A schematic for L0 and L1 laterals (note: L0 is actually a cased hole because the schematic is not current)
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The azimuth survey showed that the L1 lateral was slightly more westward than the L0 lateral at the
KOP, whereas the inclination survey showed less inclination angle at the KOP. By using an indexing tool
and a hydraulic knuckle joint, it was possible to aim the knuckle directly toward the desired lateral by
using the tool face readings from the RTFO system. Fig. 6 shows the complete BHA, which consisted of
a CT connector, downhole RTFO tool, motorhead assembly (MHA), stabilizer, flow-activated indexing
tool, hydraulic knuckle joint, straight bar, and jetting nozzle. While function testing the indexing tool and
hydraulic knuckle joint at the surface before RIH, the radial position of the knuckle joint was noted with
respect to the 0° point of the tool face sensor of the RTFO BHA. Throughout the job, or by reviewing the job
data, the number of pumping cycles above the indexing threshold (approximately 1 BPM) of the indexing
tool was tracked. By using this process, the downhole tool face measurement could help to determine which
angle the knuckle joint would actuate downhole. The downhole tool face sensor is a gravity-sensing tool
face, rather than a north-sensing tool face that is common in MWD tools; a north-sensing tool face sensor
would be unable to detect the Earth’s gravitational field while inside a cased hole.

Figure 6—BHA: CT connector, RTFO tool, MHA, centralizer, indexing

tool, hydraulic knuckle joint, straight bar, and jetting nozzle

Figure 7—Surface function test of hydraulic knuckle joint and indexing tool

During the first RIH, the hydraulic knuckle joint was not activated, and the coiled tubing naturally found
the L0 lateral. The L0 lateral was confirmed using the CCL and partial pipe tally provided. It was also
confirmed using the inclination measurement and the provided inclination drilling survey. The comparison
between both of these was clear. In Fig. 8, the CCL spikes are small because the RIH speed was low (10
fpm) past the KOP (6,133 ft) of the laterals.
The real-time inclination measurements were also compared to the inclination survey and confirmed the
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Figure 8—Well A: L0 and L1 CCL LOG at KOP=6,133 ft

Figure 9—Well A: L0 inclination checks

After the TD of L0 was tagged, a short POOH correlation run was made before beginning the stimulation
over the perforated intervals of L0. After the L0 stimulation, the coiled tubing was POOH above the KOP
to attempt to enter the L1 lateral. While RIH, approaching the KOP, the tool face reading was 270°, which
indicated that the knuckle joint needed to actuate at the 180° point with respect to the 0° point of the RTFO
tool, according to the azimuth and inclination survey provided. After function testing the knuckle joint at
the surface, the knuckle joint was at the 90° point, and the indexing tool had cycled 10 times during the job
thus far. This meant that the knuckle joint was theoretically at the correct orientation, and it was decided
not to index further. The CT was slowly RIH past the KOP while closely monitoring the downhole internal
pressure. A pressure decrease was expected when the knuckle joint entered the lateral; however, a slight
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pressure increase was observed, which suggested that the knuckle had straightened even further, rather than
bending. It was quickly confirmed with the CCL that the CT was still in the L0 lateral. The indexing tool
was indexed before POOH above the KOP in an attempt to detect the L1 lateral while POOH. While POOH
to the KOP, a slight pressure decrease was detected from the downhole internal pressure sensor, and it was
decided to RIH in an attempt to enter the L1 lateral. The CCL confirmed that the L1 lateral had been entered;
the CT continued to RIH and began the stimulation in L1. In addition, the tool inclination readings were
compared and matched to the inclination survey provided to further confirm the L1 lateral.
Fig. 10 shows the L1 inclination checks for Well A; Fig. 11 shows a summary of the job with key events.

Figure 10—Well A: L1 inclination checks

Figure 11—Well A dual lateral stimulation

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Well B. Well B had the KOP at 4,762 ft; the laterals, L0 and L1, had TDs of 6,940 ft and 7,385 ft,
respectively. With a 445 ft difference in TDs, it would be possible to confirm which lateral was entered by
tagging the TD; however, it would still be a time-consuming task if the correct TD was not successfully
tagged within a few attempts. A complete pipe tally was provided with L0; no pipe tally was available for
L1, but a CCL/GR log was provided. Operationally, the same procedure was followed as that used for Well
A. As the CT was RIH to perform the first stimulation, the hydraulic knuckle joint was not activated, and
the CT naturally found the L0 lateral, which was confirmed by the CCL, GR, and tool inclination readings.
Well B was nearly vertical up to the KOP and into the L0 lateral. Therefore, the tool face sensor could
not be used to determine the orientation of the BHA as the CT approached the KOP. However, the hydraulic
knuckle joint still found the L1 lateral on the first attempt; this was confirmed by the CCL, GR, and tool
inclination readings shown in Fig. 12 through Fig. 14, respectively.

Figure 12—RTFO CCL/GR LOG of L1 lateral

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Figure 13—Wireline CCL/GR LOG of L1 lateral

Figure 14—Well B: inclination checks

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Stimulation Results
An injectivity test was performed before and after stimulating the laterals. The post-treatment results for
Well A showed approximately 22,000 BPD incremental injectivity. Based on an average water cut of 40%,
the expected incremental oil production capacity is approximately 13,200 BPD oil. Fig. 15 and Fig. 16
shows preand post-injectivity tests, respectively, for Well A. Well B produced similar results.

Figure 15—Well A: pre-job injectivity test

Figure 16—Well A: post-job injectivity test

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Opportunity for Further Enhanced Stimulation

Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS). Although the operator chose not to use the DTS capability of
the RTFO integrated system for these wells, it was a possibility considered to further improve the efficiency
of the stimulation. By using the fiber optic cable inside the CT, a complete temperature profile of the well
can be obtained to determine the proportion of fluid being taken by each zone that is stimulated. With this
information, decisions can be made to place more fluid into one zone vs. another. This method has proven
to be an effective approach in similar operations (Gorgi et al. 2014).
Load Module. An additional load module is readily available to provide tension/compression and torque
measurements in real time at the BHA. This option would provide further insight into downhole conditions
while performing the operation. For example, the operator would be able to determine exactly when the
BHA tags something, rather than waiting for the delayed weight indication at the surface. Furthermore, the
weight measurement at the surface may not provide a good indication of the actual weight detected by the
BHA because of wellbore conditions.

This paper presents a more efficient method to verify entry into a specific lateral of a multilateral well by
using a RTFO integrated system.

• The system incorporates a newly developed gamma module that includes a gamma detector, tool
inclination, and tool face readings.
• The combined sensor data provides better visibility of downhole occurrences where conventional
CT data was not sufficient to confirm entry into a specific lateral.
• The tool face readings were used to orient an indexing tool for a hydraulic knuckle joint to actuate
in the correct direction to find the lateral.
• Real-time downhole pressure sensors better identified when the knuckle joint entered the lateral,
as opposed to relying on surface sensors.
• CCL depth correlation ensured accurate placement of fluids during stimulation.

• Time spent locating the lateral and confirming the lateral was significantly reduced, reducing the
overall time of the job.

The authors thank Halliburton Energy Services for permission to publish this paper.

Gorgi, S., Medina, E., Gleaves, J., Acuna, J., et al. 2014. Wellbore Monitoring in Carbonate Reservoirs: Value of DTS
in Acid Stimulation through Coiled Tubing. Presented at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and
Conference, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10-13 November. SPE-171933-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/171933-MS.
Webb, E. D., Howard, R., Garcia, A., and Gleaves, J. 2014. Real-time Fiber-optic Integrated System Used For Maximizing
Coiled Tubing Wellbore Cleanouts in the Latin American Region. Presented at SPE Bergen One Day Seminar, Bergen
Norway, 2 April. SPE-169218-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/169218-MS.

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