To increase the amount of oil produced, it is important to monitor where the produced fluid is coming from. Reservoir surveillance is often expensive, risky, and sometimes even unfeasible with standard technologies. Meanwhile, a clear picture of what is happening in the well, is key to increase oil recovery. Inflow tracer technology is a risk-free solution to get data on what is happening in the wells. Furthermore, inflow information may be utilized to update the reservoir model and as the wells are producing, continuous monitoring can provide an update about how the drainage strategy is affecting the reservoir and recovery of oil reserves. Hence, operators see great value in the inflow data, and want the data to be available for the life of the well.
While the typical monitoring is a few years, the current project will increase the longevity of the data provided to threefold. With the increased lifetime, additional questions such as "how is my well performance changing over time?" can be answered.
The innovation concept in this project is the development of systems with over 10-year operational life expectancy for continuous monitoring of oil wells. To achieve that, it is important to balance detection of tracer and amount of tracer released with available space for the tracer system in completion. Available space is limited, so the project will focus on the tracer release and detection of tracers in field samples at ultra-low concentrations. The planned project will tackle these challenges and once successful, enable operators to tune oil production towards being more cost efficient and environmentally friendly (e.g. reduced water production). Together with SINTEF, RESMAN sees the potential to target the observed issues and take the technology to the next level to reach an average of 3x longer wireless monitoring lifetime for petroleum wells.
Since 2005, RESMAN has focused on technology for downhole inflow monitoring of oil, water, and gas in production wells using unique intelligent tracers embedded in a polymer matrix. RESMAN is the market leader for this technology and has continued to broaden the scope of what the technology can offer. Today, the monitoring lifetime of a production well is typically a few years. To utilize the massive potential that lies in inflow monitoring technology the longevity of the monitoring needs to increase, potentially to the lifetime of the well. However, factors such as properties of the produced fluids, analytical instrumentation and sample preparation methods currently limits the technology to reach the monitoring lifetime the market needs. This project aims to address these challenges by an innovative approach inspired by other areas. The underlying idea for the project is to develop new inflow tracer systems and new/improved methods for tracer detection enabling continuous monitoring with a 10-year operational life expectancy. Research will build on existing knowledge, developing improved release systems with high chemical compatibility between the matrix and tracer, giving a controlled release profile. The research aims to minimize the differences in release profiles in various fluids using knowledge gained from characterisation of these oils, optimized polymer systems and coated systems. Field samples can contain thousands of components which can interfere with tracer analysis. A detailed understanding of the field samples is required to allow characterisation of the interfering compounds with state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation. Solid phase modifications will be applied to improve the extraction of tracers from field sample with high selectivity giving cleaner extracts and more sensitive analytical procedures. Together with latest developments in analytical instrumentation this is expected to yield tracer detection at ultra-low concentrations.