Without the cushion of high oil prices, and especially once production declines, it becomes increasingly challenging for major operators with large overheads to sustain profitability. It’s no surprise then that, once the primary round of development and production is over, ownership of mature producing assets often moves over to smaller companies able to leverage lower operating costs.
For operators of these late-life assets, the name of the game is to squeeze every additional percent from production, not only generating cash but deferring costly abandonment.
Although the demographics of the industry has changed since Cleansorb first opened its doors 25 years ago, with the “big crew change”, the new generation of decision makers remain hungry for ideas that will get every cent possible from a barrel of oil.
Late life assets: What are the options?
In late-life assets the two paths to greater productivity and profitability are to drill new wells, and to stimulate production from existing wells.
With a newly drilled openhole well, drill-in fluid filter cake lines the wellbore. This drilling damage must be removed to ensure maximum production rates. Premature dissolution of filter cake by fast-acting breakers can make fluid placement difficult. When using ORCA delayed action breakers the presence of an intact mud cake actively assists with fluid placement, so the likelihood of successfully treating the entire wellbore is high. ORCA in-situ acidizing fluid generates acid after placement, ensuring acid is evenly distributed across the reservoir wellbore for the most uniform cleanup possible.
Wells already on production that have known, or suspected residual drilling damage may benefit from a remedial ORCA treatment. In some cases, treatment of the rock matrix with DEEPA may deliver benefits.
In a live producing well, removing residual drilling damage from at least part of the wellbore presents more challenges to achieve accurate placement of treatment fluid without specialist workover equipment. In marginal fields these additional well costs can jeopardise well treatment economics, while ‘bullheading’ fluids from the surface may seem like a cheap option but is often problematic for effective fluid placement.
A more predictable way to improve financial returns from well stimulations can be to build them into planned well intervention programs. Vital workovers such as replacing a failed ESP or damaged/blocked screen, or addressing paraffin deposits, or downhole scale incur unavoidable intervention costs. However, this can be an opportunity for remedial ORCA/DEEPA treatments to additionally improve production or bring shut-in wells back to life. Long-standing residual drilling damage can be tackled with ORCA and near wellbore matrix stimulation achieved with DEEPA. A significant proportion of the operational costs of “stand alone” ORCA or DEEPA treatments are often already covered in planned workovers while enhanced post ORCA/DEEPA production contributes to the original well intervention program costs.
Key advantages are that you can pump Cleansorb products without damaging any equipment that needs to remain in place. It’s the quick to mobilize option that’s easy and safe to mix and pump and may not require specialist personnel on site.
A recent Cleansorb project helped an operator quantify the effects of damage, and the long-term revenue opportunities going unrealized. Prior wells not treated with ORCA and producing 2000 barrels per day compared to later wells of the same design that were treated with ORCA to remove drilling damage pre-activation and produced 3000-4000 bopd per well.
For those ready to work closely with specialist companies Cleansorb is the perfect match – our size makes us agile, operating in key territories around the world without excessive overheads. Given the right partnership, even for these late-life assets the years ahead can be exciting and rewarding times.
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