"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler". Albert Einstein
Initial conditions: Well A. A two stage hydraulic fracturing operation was completed. The packer was pulled out of the well, the production tubing was run in. Low permeability formation. Different reservoir pressures at different intervals (see the visualization below).
Problem: A coil tubing fleet was involved in well flowing operations for more than 73 days, did more than 10 full RIH/POOH operations, spent more than 691 tons of liquid nitrogen. It was clear that during the well fluid displacement operations, part of the fluid flown back into the depleted interval. In order to begin fluid displacement operations, the coil tubing (CT) should be pulled almost up to the "mirror", then run in again almost to the bottom, which significantly wears the CT. The tubing annular space (remember, the packer is no longer in the well) significantly impaired the process. If you asked me, whether it was possible to displace the fluid, and flow the well without a coil tubing by old an school method using surface equipment, I would answer, it was tried. The result was close to nothing. Low permeability and difference in reservoir pressure at diffent intervals played against the country's energy independence. Answering you next question, foam was also tried. (Well, I am sure you know what I mean)
Task: To optimize well flowing operations in these conditions.
"From simple to complicated." Very often we hear this principle as a concept when solving various engineering and technical problems, but we do not always use it. Looking ahead, I will say that it is certainly not necessary to always simplify ways of solving problems, but, in my opinion, they should always be considered. There are many possible reasons for rejecting simple solutions. The main ones are in the psychological and commercial field:
- A "great" specialist (chief, scientist. It must be emphasized) cannot make decisions that are impressive in their simplicity. This is not why he "graduated from university";
- In the engineering and technical team, no conditions have been created for the development of creativity. Decisions are made, as a rule, template, based on the previous experience of the leader. "I'm the boss, you're a fool" is the extreme form of expression of such a collective;
- In the search for a solution to a technological problem, it is very often necessary to turn to specialized service companies. In turn, service companies already offer their "template" solutions, with some degree of variability and necessarily marginality. You won't make money otherwise.
The above-mentioned factors are given as a part and only rough strokes of the overall picture. They can manifest themselves to a greater or lesser extent, can be completely different, or combined in many options. This is not the main problem. The main problem is that it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to assess the quality of the engineering and technical decisions that are made. I claim that an experienced technological engineer will always be able to justify the decision made in his favor. Moreover, he will always be able to substantiate the "positive" results of the implementation of such a decision. "Space is better explored than a well. There have been people in space, but no one has yet descended into the well." We have all heard about such an expression, and it is the fork in the road to making a single and correct decision, it is the one that brings to a special level the role of Personality (with a capital letter) in the fate of the company.
Let's move on to a practical example. The conditions of the problem are given above. This case was discussed earlier at the workshop of Andriy Zakrevsky at one of the "Newfolk OGCC" conferences, so it is already in the infospace and, in my opinion, is quite revealing. (I thank Yuri Nagornyak, Serhiy Kravchuk, and Mykhailo Pytko for taking part in the active discussion).
Possible solutions: In the process of "brainstorming", many options were proposed, from well-known to fantastic ones. The possibilities of their practical implementation were discussed, taking into account the actual state of organization of processes in the Company, its technical and technological capabilities, capabilities of contractors, potential contractors and much more. Here it is necessary to emphasize, in general, the importance of such a process as "brainstorming" in the operational activities of any functional direction of the company, especially the technological one.
What is the idea? During the discussion, a simple idea of using special nozzles for a flexible pipe in a complex with a funnel at the end of the pipeline ("pipeline shoe". This component is already mandatory to use. It was proposed to make minor changes to its design) with a special saddle for the possibility of sealing the pipe space if necessary. What they tried to implement in the following wells.
Results: The use of these simple downhole tools, which, if necessary, can be made in the nearest workshop not for all the money in the world, made it possible to solve the following practical problems:
- Separation, if necessary, of the formation system from the pipe space of the well, by planting special nozzles in the saddle of the tube funnel;
- Removal of liquid from the pipe space of the well using the minimum required amount of nitrogen and minimal loss of liquid;
- By slightly raising the spec. nozzles, allowing the accumulated liquid to flow from the annular space of the well into the pipe, sealing, repeating the process of removing liquid from the pipe space the required number of times. I ask you to take into account the fact that the minimum working time of the HT is only in a certain interval, which is easily solved in the future, by cutting off the necessary section of the HT after the completion of the work to shift the working interval;
- Next, the well is left to accumulate liquid to a static level (remember that the permeability is quite low and the well does not really want to say goodbye to the fracturing liquid) and the process is repeated. But it is already more predictable, more controlled and with significantly lower, ultimately, financial costs. Which is reflected in the following results.
My beliefs are not the ultimate truth. This article is only the result of personal reflections and the result of the implementation of practical cases, aimed at sowing or confirming the following idea: "The center of creativity is an important component of any company." It can be implemented in various ways, from a personal function to a functional unit, such as an engineering and technical center (ETC), a Lean unit, etc. It is he who is the basis for making optimal decisions, including simple ones, precisely to the extent that it is necessary. In the final result, I am sure that everyone will agree with me, the optimal solutions lead to the optimization of the company's financial indicators. Of course, by itself, "ETC" cannot function only to satisfy its ambitions. It should be better integrated into the overall structure of the company, be aimed at achieving general strategic goals, be subject to evaluation of results, etc., etc. This topic is quite broad and is not the topic of this article, but its importance should be noted. Also, in relation to this issue, I would like to emphasize the importance of the HR department (as the antithesis of the "personnel department") in the activities of a modern company, as a unifying and coordinating center. The CEO must understand the need, the HR specialist must help the chief executive to find (grow) a personality with a predominant type of "raEi", and possibly "RaEi" according to Adizes, to stimulate, motivate, etc. (this is only in relation to this topic, regardless of all other, of course, very important issues).
Conclusions: Of course, practical results can be subject to debate and discussion. But, in this case, it is not the main thing. The main thing, in my humble opinion, is the approach to problem solving. A creative approach to solving any problems. The search for simple solutions should not be confused with simplifying the solution and cutting sharp corners, which is extremely important. However, in order for any process in the company to "fly", three fundamental things are necessary:
- Understanding and comprehensive support of the chief executive (CEO);
- Creation of the necessary foundation for attracting, maintaining, and developing the competencies (HR) necessary for this company;
- Availability of a center for creative (entrepreneurial) thinking. For the engineering and technical direction - certainly, for others - I am not sure, but there is something to work on...