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First Successful Low-Cost Abrasive Perforation with Wireless Assisted Coiled Tubing in a Deviated High-Pressure/High Temperature Gas Well

Authors: Walter Nez-Garcia, J. Ricardo Solares, Jairo A. Leal Jauregui, Jorge E. Duarte, Alejandro Chacn, Robert Heidorn and Guillermo A. Izquierdo

ABSTRACT
A number of highly deviated gas producing wells in the southern area of the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia were recently perforated using coiled tubing (CT) conveyed guns, and after performing several jobs, it was found that the cost of using the coiled tubing conveyed perforating (CT-TCP) approach was significantly higher than anticipated. Therefore, it became apparent that more cost-effective options were required. The decision was then made to trial test the CT abrasive hydrajetting perforating (AHP) technique. A well with a gross pay thickness of 130 ft was selected for the first trial. Consideration was given to the fact that the chance of achieving the job objective is higher if the selected intervals to perforate and the number of slots that can be made in the formation in one run are not excessive. Therefore, it was decided to create slots in 12 different sections along the wellbore. Given this constraint, it was important to achieve an optimum depth correlation, which was done by using a wireless real-time casing collar locator (CCL) tool, the first time for its use in this type of operation in Saudi Arabia. A procedure was designed to optimize implementation time and chemical volumes, and the job was successfully performed with better than expected results. The objective of this article is to share results, lessons learned, and solutions used to overcome problems and achieve the successful implementation of a technique offering a valid, low-cost alternative to conventional perforating in a highly deviated well. Full details of the planning and design of the job, operational procedures and data collected are also provided.

The technique has been widely used to increase the fluid entry area in wells scheduled for hydraulic fracturing stimulation as described in various publications1, 2. The technique has also been used as a way to overcome logistic difficulties in regions where permits to store and transport explosives are difficult to obtain. One of the distinctive advantages of using AHP for stimulation applications is the reduction of near wellbore tortuosity due to the large hole sizes created in the casing and in the formation rock. As mentioned3, tortuosity will often restrict the flow of hydrocarbons from the formation to the wellbore and restrict fluid entry during hydraulic fracturing treatments. Another distinct advantage of AHP is that the crushed rock and metal debris generated from the use of shaped charges during conventional perforating does not occur, thereby eliminating the usual reduction in the overall production potential. Only minimal skin is created when using AHP, because the formation rock is removed with the abrasive slurry instead of being crushed by an explosive charge3. These advantages, and the results of a cost comparison study, which showed that AHP was 20% more cost-effective than the traditional coiled tubing (CT) perforating approach being used, provided the necessary incentive to proceed with a field trial in Well A, a highly deviated cased well that is a highpressure/high temperature (HP/HT) gas producer.

INTRODUCTION
As shown in several technical manuals and papers dating back to the late 1950s, the abrasive hydrajetting perforating (AHP) technique was tested and proven to be an approach to connect the reservoir that induced zero damage, in contrast with conventional perforating techniques using explosives1-3. Unfortunately, the AHP technique has not been widely used until recently, due to concerns about longer operating times and its perceived overall inferior operational practicality; however, use of the technique has gained momentum in certain areas around the world, in large part because of its cost effectiveness and excellent results.

Fig. 1. Selected perforating zones (14,770 ft to 14,900 ft) in Well A.


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JOB DESIGN
Based on the experience gained from selective stimulation treatments performed in packerless open hole wells in the same field, the maximum number of abrasive slurry stages that can be carried out before washing out the hydrajetting tool was determined to be 12 to 14. Consequently, 12 high porosity zones were selected for perforation in a 130 ft

(14,770 ft to 14,900 ft) gross interval with a 73 deviation in Well A. Figure 1 shows the 12 selected zones. It was decided to generate three perforations per interval, for a total of 36 perforations, which was less than the traditional six shots per foot perforation density designed to maximize well productivity when using conventional perforating guns. Several studies1, 3 have shown that because of the reduction in tortuosity and crushing damage, the lower AHP density is equivalent to the higher perforating density of conventional guns. The pictures in Fig. 2 show the average shape of abrasive hydrajetting generated perforations, which achieve a much larger contact area than conventional perforation tunnels without any crush zone. The average calculated total penetration of AHP beyond the cement and pipe wall thickness is 3.72, Fig. 3. This value corresponds to the minimum expected penetration based on

Fig. 2. The average shape of abrasive jetting generated perforations.

Fig. 5. Abrasive perforation average diameter.

Fig. 3. The average calculated total penetration of AHP beyond cement and pipe wall thickness.

Fig. 6. Abrasive perforation average diameter.

Fig. 4. Abrasive perforation average length.

Fig. 7. Jetting tool with three 316" nozzles.

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empirical correlations from surface tests. At downhole conditions, this figure is highly likely to increase due to the effect of hydrostatic pressure and the hydrajetting stagnation pressure that microfractures generate4-6, making the abrasive jet go deeper than expected into the formation. From empirical data and yard tests, it was possible to estimate that at surface conditions the average penetration length in Well A would be approximately 5, or even deeper after pumping for approximately nine minutes with a P of ~ 2,500 psi. The abrasive slurry used during the yard tests was the same that was used during the actual operation. Figures 4 to 6 show the results obtained during the yard test performed ahead of the main job. The jetting tool for the planned job in Well A was configured so as to obtain the desired pressure drop across the nozzles,

taking into account the restrictions imposed by the 2 CT to be used. The previous experience in open hole stimulation treatments in the area suggested that the best approach was to install three coplanar 316 nozzles set 120 apart. This is the maximum number of nozzles that can be installed in the tool to be able to generate between 2,000 psi to 3,000 psi with the flow restriction imposed by a 2 CT. Figure 7 shows the jetting tool with the aforementioned nozzle configuration. Given that only 12 zones were selected for perforating with a total of 36 holes, it was deemed necessary to achieve high depth precision at the moment of positioning the jetting tool. Installing memory gauges was first considered, but having real-time correlation was determined to be important, so the decision was made to use a 3 wireless casing collar locator (CCL) tool that could tolerate the abrasive slurry while

Start

Run 3 GC down to max depth

Rig up 2 conventional HPCT, pumping unit and N 2 unit

Perform dedicated run for wellbore cleanout

Is there access to the perforating zone?

No

Make up motor and mill and RIH to mill out obstruction

Yes POOH CT breakdown BHA and install memory gauges Clean the wellbore all the way to TD and perform bottoms -up

Yes

Is there access to the perforating zone?

RIH with GR/CCL memory gauges to perform correlation passes (with and without pressure to verify CT stretch)

Is there access to the perforating zone?

No

Circulate 50-100 bbls of CT drag friction reducer

Yes Execute correlation run (memory gauges + wireless CCL) and POOH CT to surface to change BHA

Circulate 50-100 bbls of CT drag friction reducer

Yes

Is there access to the perforating zone?

No

Is there access to the perforating zone?

No

RIH CT with jetting tool and wireless CCL (depth correlation) for abrasive jetting perforation

No

Rig down and cancel the job

Yes

Is there access to the perforating zone?

Yes

Execute hydrajetting perforations as planned

POOH CT to 13,800 ft and wait for sand to settle (3 hours)

No Perform necessary runs to complete 12 abrasive jetting perforation stages

POOH , M/U SCO BHA and flow cleanout procedure as per Attachment #13

Yes

Sand covering perforations?

RIH with jetting tool and tag the top of the . fill

No Rig down and cancel the job POOH CT and rig down equipment Flow back Go to Page 2

Fig. 8a. Decision Tree.


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Page 2

Does the well flow by itself?

Yes

No

N2 lifting

Does the well flow by itself?

Yes

Is formation water being produced?

Yes

End Job Rig down and prepare a program for PLT, surveillance and water shut-off

No No

Bullheading matrix acidizing

No

Is the well producing as expected?

Yes

Flow back and test the well

End Job

Fig. 8b. Decision Tree.

providing a sufficiently large flow path to allow pumping at ~3.0 barrels per minute (bpm). Then, the operational decision tree, Figs. 8a and 8b, was developed to prepare for a wide spectrum of possible scenarios. The main decision tree branch included a required wellbore cleanout to ensure full access to the perforating zone, and to try to minimize potential sticking problems when running in hole (RIH) with the final bottom-hole assembly (BHA), Fig. 9. The cleanout procedure included a nitrified fluid combined with linear gel to have excess annular velocity in case a large amount of debris was found in the wellbore. A nitrogen (N2) kickoff contingency was included in the plan in case the well could not flow by itself. A contingent acid matrix treatment was also included in case the well did not achieve its production target.

JOB IMPLEMENTATION
A base cased hole log was not available for Well A, so gamma ray/CCL memory gauges were run in tandem with the wireless CCL as a backup in case something went wrong. Logging
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Fig. 9. CT BHA.

passes were made at the speed required for the wireless CCL tool to work properly, while pumping at a minimum rate, and then the pumping rate was increased to determine the CT stretch. A different set of logging passes at a higher speed were made at different pump rates to determine the CT stretch during the AHP operation. This logging run was equivalent to running a base cased hole log, which could then be used for future interventions requiring depth correlation. After completing the correlation logging run, the jetting tool was made up and run in tandem with the wireless CCL during the

final AHP run. The CT was run down to the perforating interval and a final correlation pass was made before positioning the jetting tool in front of the lowermost zone to be perforated. Figure 10 shows the comparison between the two CCL correlations, one using memory gauges and the other one using the CT run wireless CCL, which performed very well. A 2,000 gallon abrasive slurry mixture of 40#/Mgal linear gel and 100 mesh sand with a 0.5 ppa concentration was pumped at an average rate of 2.5 bbl/min to 3.0 bbl/min for each perforating stage. The maximum pumping rate was driven by the maximum allowable circulation pressure, which was set at 9,000 psi due to safety considerations. A hydrogen sulfide corrosion inhibitor pill was pumped after each stage to protect the CT and BHA. Figure 11 shows data details of the operation to complete all 12 scheduled stages. Each stage can be clearly distinguished

Fig. 11. Acquisition graph from abrasive jetting perforation stages.

Fig. 12. Data recorded during injection test and acid wash operations.

Choke Size Poststimulation Prestimulation


Fig. 10. Compararison between the two CCL correlations, one using memory gauges and the other one using the CT run wireless CCL.

FWHP (psi)

BS&W (%)

Estimated Gas Rate (MMscfd) 22 3

TCA (psi)

46/64 26/64

2,695 985

4 10

2,831 900

Table 1. Production data pre- and post-stimulation

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CONCLUSIONS
1. The successful implementation of the field trial demonstrated that hydrajetting perforating is a viable and safe alternative to conventional perforating techniques. The post-stimulation gas rates from Well A exceeded all expectations. 2. The use of a wireless CCL tool proved to be a key to the successful outcome of the operation. The depth correlation performed was accurate, and the tool worked well under abrasive conditions. 3. The 100 mesh sand worked well as the abrasive material needed for the hydrajetting perforating operation; however, the small size of the material created a low permeability pack around the perforations, which reduced injectivity and required an acid wash. Similar jobs performed in other wells after this one have been carried out using 20/40 proppant as the abrasive material with much better results and no operational complications. 4. Due to concerns about the back splash effect that the abrasive material could have on the jetting tool, the number of stages was limited to 12, which proved to be conservative. The jetting tool withstood the abrasive effect of 12,000 lbs of 100 mesh sand without any problems or apparent damage, thereby indicating that future jobs can be designed with a larger number of stages. 5. The data obtained from the downhole pressure/temperature gauges set below the jetting tool, which were configured to measure data from inside the CT and from the CT casing annulus, were very valuable. The collected data helped analyze the effective pressure drop across the nozzle, which is the main point in achieving penetration through the formation. Figure 13 shows surface and downhole pressure data recorded throughout the operation. 6. The acid wash performed right after completing the hydrajetting perforating operation was useful in increasing conductivity and helping the well flow back on its own. 7. A wellbore cleanout ahead of the hydrajetting perforating operation is highly recommended.

Fig. 13. Merged surface and downhole pressure data from gauges.

by observing the pressure spike recorded every time abrasive slurry was pumped through the CT. The CT pressure at the surface was ~6,300 psi throughout the operation while pumping at 3 bpm. The flowing wellhead pressure when the choke was fully open, which was done to circulate abrasive sand out of the wellbore and avoid clogging the BHA, was around 600 psi. After completing the perforating stages, the CT was pulled up to 14,000 ft to allow for settling time, and after three hours the CT was rigged in hole again to verify that the perforations were not plugged. The CT did not tag hard, so it was concluded that the perforations were free of obstruction in the wellbore. The CT was then pulled out of the hole and a nitrogen lift was performed to kickoff the well. The well flowed on its own at below target rate so an injectivity test ahead of bullheading a matrix stimulation treatment was attempted, but it was unsuccessful as the injection pressure built up quickly and no fluid intake was observed. It was assumed then that the most likely cause of the problem was that the perforations had been plugged up, either with the 100 mesh sand used in the abrasive slurry during perforating operations or with some other solid material. An acid wash was successfully performed using a high-pressure CT to pump organic and 15% hydrochloric acid blends. A new injectivity test was then attempted, and the injectivity rate significantly increased from 0.8 bpm to 6 bpm. Figure 12 shows details of the operation. Finally, a matrix acid treatment was bullheaded down the tubing at an initial maximum treating pressure and rate of 6,000 psi and 5 bpm, respectively. The well was opened for flow back at an initial shut-in wellhead pressure of 3,580 psi, and it performed in an excellent manner, Table 1. This job was the first successful utilization of hydrajetting technology as a cost-effective alternative to perforating with CT in a high angle Saudi Aramco gas producer. The results from this highly successful field trial were very encouraging, and the technology has since been used with equal positive results in other wells.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank the management of Saudi Aramco and Halliburton for their support and permission to publish this article. This article was prepared for presentation at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., November 1-4, 2010.

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REFERENCES
1. McDaniel, B.W., Surjaatmadja, J.B. and East Jr., L.E.: Use of Hydrajet Perforating to Improve Fracturing Success Sees Global Expansion, SPE paper 114695, presented at the CIPC/SPE Gas Technology Symposium 2008 Joint Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, June 16-19, 2008. 2. Rees, M.J., Khallad, A., Cheng, A., Rispler, K.A., Surjaatmadja, J.B. and McDaniel, B.W.: Successful Hydrajet Acid Squeeze and Multifracture Acid Treatments in Horizontal Open Holes Using Dynamic Diversion Process and/or Downhole Mixing, SPE paper 71692, presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 1-3, 2001. 3. Surjaatmadja, J.B., Abass, H.H. and Brumley, J.L.: Elimination of Near-Wellbore Tortuosities by Means of Hydrojetting, SPE paper 28761, presented at the Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference, Melbourne, Australia, November 7-10, 1994. 4. Surjaatmadja, J.B. and Sierra, L.: New Alternative to Selectively Fracture Stimulate Extended Reach, Horizontal Wells, SPE paper 119475, presented at the SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, March 15-18, 2009. 5. Garzon, F.O., Franco, C.A., Ginest, N.H., Sierra, L., Surjaatmadja, J.B. and Izquierdo, G.: First Successful Selective Stimulation with Coiled Tubing, Hydrajetting Tool, and New Isolation Sleeve in an Open Hole Dual Lateral Well Completed in a Saudi Arabia Carbonate Formation: A Case History, SPE paper 130512, presented at the SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing and Well Intervention Conference and Exhibition, The Woodlands, Texas, March 23-24, 2010. 6. Garzon, F.O., Franco, C.A., Al-Saeed, H.A., Al-Omair, W.M. and Ginest, N.H.: Successful Selective Stimulation of Open Hole Dual Lateral Gas-Condensate Producers with a Coiled Tubing, Hydra Jetting Tool and New Isolation Sleeve in Saudi Arabia, SPE paper KSA-0138, presented at the SPE/DGS Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition, al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, April 4-7, 2010.

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BIOGRAPHIES
Walter Nnez-Garcia is a Senior Petroleum Engineer. He has worked for the Gas Production Engineering Division for 4 years and has 17 years of overall experience in the oil industry. Previously, Walter worked for ECOPETROL (Colombian national oil company) serving in several different technical and administrative positions. In 1992, he received his B.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Universidad America, Bogot, Colombia, and in 2000, he earned a financial degree from La Gran Colombia University, Bogot, Colombia. Walter then earned his M.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, in 2002. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Walter has authored several SPE papers covering field technology applicstions. J. Ricardo Solares is a Petroleum Engineering Consultant and a Supervisor with the Southern Area Production Engineering Department (SAPED) in Udhailiyah. He has 25 years of diversified oil industry experience. Throughout his career, Ricardo has held positions as a Reservoir and Production Engineer with Arco Oil and Gas and BP Exploration, while working in a variety of carbonate and sandstone reservoirs located throughout the worlds major hydrocarbon provinces in the Middle East, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and South America. Since joining Saudi Aramco in 1999, he has been involved with a variety of technical projects and planning activities that are part of large gas development projects. Ricardo manages a team responsible for the introduction and implementation of new technology, the issuing of operating standards, stimulation and production optimization activities, and completion design. His areas of expertise include hydraulic fracturing and well stimulation, all aspects of production optimization, completions and artificial lift design, pressure transient and inflow performance analysis, completions design and economic evaluation. In 1982 Ricardo received his B.S. degree in Geological Engineering and in 1983 he received his M.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering, both from the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. He also received an MBA in Finance from Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, AK, in 1990. Ricardo received the 2006 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Regional Award in the area of Management and Information, and a SPE Technical Editor award for his work on the Editorial Review Committee. He has also published over 20 SPE papers and articles in a variety of international technical publications.

Jairo A. Leal Jauregui is a Senior Petroleum Engineer in the Gas Production Engineering Division of the Southern Area Production Engineering Department (SAPED). He has 19 years of experience in the oil and gas industry in areas like workovers, acid stimulation, and perforating and fracturing, with operations in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Jairo has authored several Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) papers on field technology applications, fluids and stimulation results. In 1990, Jairo received his B.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia, and a Specialization in Project Management from Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Bogot, Colombia, in 2005. Jorge E. Duarte is a Production Engineer working in the Gas Production Engineering Division. He has 13 years of oil field experience. In 1996, Jorge received his B.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Universidad America, Bogot, Colombia. Alejandro Chacn is the Lead Technical Engineer for Halliburton Coiled Tubing in Saudi Arabia. He has held this position since January 2009. Alejandro joined the industry in early 2006 in Colombia as a Field Engineer, and since then he has gained experience in the following types of operations, among others: matrix stimulation, pinpoint stimulation, logging, CT-TCP, conformance and general coiled tubing (CT) extended reach applications. He is currently focusing on new technology applications for CT operations in Saudi Arabia. In 2006, Alejandro received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogot, Colombia.

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Robert Heidorn is the Lead Technical Professional for Halliburton Coiled Tubing, Saudi Arabia, and has held this position since December 2009. He joined Halliburton in early 2006 in South Texas, where he received his coiled tubing (CT) training, and then worked for the following 3 years offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, before transferring to Saudi Arabia. During this time as a Field Engineer, Robert gained experience in formation consolidation, matrix stimulation, pinpoint stimulation, and general CT operations for high deviation and extended reach applications, among many others. In 2006, he received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Guillermo A. Izquierdo is a Petroleum Engineer working for Halliburton in Saudi Arabia as a Senior Account Representative in Production Enhancement. He has held this position since December 2005. Guillermo joined Halliburton in 1997 and his experience includes acidizing, de-scaling, scale inhibition, coiled tubing, conformance and fracturing technology applications for both sandstone and carbonate formations. He received his B.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia, in 1996. Guillermo has authored several papers covering stimulation technology. He is currently focused on new technology applications for production enhancement for Saudi Arabian fields.

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