The role of real time reservoir management is crucial from the point of view of setting up stage in discussing the importance of intelligent field. There has been higher level of correlation of the benefits as achieved from the intelligent field technology with that of the real time reservoir management. Reservoir management is defined in this section and also includes an analysis of the evolution of reservoir management process. The efforts as made by Saudi Aramco in building four major layers for the purpose of efficiently implementing the real time reservoir management will also be discussed. There are four stages of which the first one involves the measurement and acquisition of data as associated with reservoir. However, it is essential to validate the data in the analysis stage, and at this stage, there has been the introduction of workflows and tools is being performed in managing and integrating data. Engineers at this stage aims at understanding the performance at field level through applying numerical simulation. After having an in-depth understanding of the field performance, the third stage focuses on optimisation and decision making process. There has been emphasis being placed in the recent years over the implementation of intelligent field initiative. The higher level of application of this technology is an indication of the fact that there has been strong buy-in from the industry. This signifies that this technology is likely to deliver what it promises in maximising the production of hydrocarbon, and also towards enhancing the compliance with respect to health and safety performance.
Saudi Aramco has occupied the leading position in performing the application of this technology for the purpose of enhancing the value of hydrocarbon reservoirs. From the analysis of the experience of Saudi Aramco, it has been evaluated that there has been a major transformation in respect to the data acquisition and production controls processes. The efforts as placed in by Saudi Aramco are significant from the point of view of optimising the reservoir performance and achieve overall enhancement over the oil recovery process. The major challenges faced by operating companies are also highlighted and also the ways in which these challenges can be efficiently addressed.
The realtime reservoir management is defined in this section and also the benefits that are availed from the implementation of real time reservoir management. An analysis of the concept of real time reservoir management indicates that it is an integrated process that helps in the development of a hydrocarbon field with goals of achieving maximisation of profit while achieving higher recovery. Out of the four stages as involved within it, the first stage focuses towards the measurement and acquisition of data in relation to the reservoir. The analysis stage involves the validation of the data for any kinds of anomaly, and the focus of the engineers at this stage is mainly towards understanding the field performance. The complete understanding of the field performance is followed by the entry to the third stage which involves processes such as optimisation and decision making. There has been the application of multidisciplinary approach at the third stage, and the final stage comprises of the implementation of decisions in the field and it is performed by the operational engineers and operators. The technology as applied is responsible for the determination of time cycle and the collaborative environment and integration processes also plays an important role. The data with respect to static reservoir pressure and wellhead measurements are collected by a crew of people from field study and there is a need for coordination in respect to various field organisations in performing such collection of data. The advances in the field of technology has been crucial to engineers in intervening in the process of managing the operations remotely and the real time high frequency data can also be transmitted in a highly efficient manner. The application of technology has made real time reservoir management a reality.
The literature comprises the discussion on Saudi Aramco efforts with respect to the infrastructure needed in implementing the real time reservoir system in a highly efficient manner. There are four major layers in the implementation architecture, and this is mainly surveillance layer which acts as a key enabler in respect to intelligent field. It comprises of real time measurement devices in the form of permanent down hole monitoring systems (PDHMS) and control devices in the form of inflow control valves (ICVs). This layer has been highly significant in supporting the first and the last stages of the reservoir system and in respect to the integration layer, it involves building up of required tools for the purpose of monitoring reservoir performance and report anomalies such as unexpected higher water or pressure decline or it can be rate violations. The second stage of the reservoir management cycle is being positively supported by this layer and provides actionable information for the optimisation layer that is indicated below.
Optimisation layer has been quite significant from the point of view of providing various processes, assets and resources for the entire production systems. This layer also involves the development of post simulation and optimisation tools. Innovation layer is the last layer and it is aimed at taking maximum level of advantage of intelligent field by way of efficiently transforming the data to knowledge and informed decisions. The environment needed in capturing experience is being provided by this layer and also in introducing innovative solutions. The third stage of the reservoir management cycle is being adequately supported by the optimisation layer and innovation layer. This particular layer represents the Saudi Aramco’s outline and it indicates the successful implementation process of the real time reservoir management. The example from Khurais complex is being presented in the next section which illustrates about the implementation of these layes:
A maintenance shutdown has indicated about the power of utilising intelligent field data and during such period, the requirements concerning the static bottom hole pressure (SBHP), and productivity and injectivity indices requirements were being captured. The intelligent field technology has allowed for the coordination within various organisations and despite having more than 100 wells, engineers were able to capture higher productivity levels.
It is highly important to perform the management of pressure propagation supported by the reservoir management. There has been the application of real time reservoir pressure data being indicated by the generating models in assessing pressure propagation.
Intelligent field technology has allowed for proactive management of communication between reservoirs. There are two main carbonate reservoirs included within it. It is essential that there should be the anticipation of communication process in the field, but the communication in the analog field which lacked intelligent field technology was not identified during the initial stage and it took years to understand it. There has been the identification of communication in respect to different areas of the field and it was characterised, modelled and finally, the management has been ensured in three months period.
There are different stages in which the optimisation of field performance can be achieved and it can be done at the well level. This level is identified as a first loop and the slow loop condition is identified as a major challenge in this context. Reservoir characterisation and modelling are the important for the purpose of efficiently performing the optimisation process. There has been the adaptation of a model based real time reservoir management concept by Saudi Aramco for the purpose of changing the reservoir management from sporadic actions to a near continuous process.
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