It has long been recognized that formation damage during drilling, completion, production, well intervention, and injection has a serious impact on well performance, field life, and value. Increasingly, formation damage has become a key factor in the successful development or otherwise of challenging reservoirs. Understanding and identifying damage has significant impact, and the process and knowledge has improved dramatically in the last twenty years. This lecture will make the case that formation damage can occur at any time in a well life; any place, i.e. in exploration, appraisal, production, or injection wells; and any where, i.e. in the completion, the very near wellbore, or deeper in to the formation.
This presentation attempts to demystify many of the legends of formation damage and their evaluation. Fines migration and wettability alteration have long been the mechanisms employed by engineers (or geologists) to explain and justify almost every well or reservoir behavior. These mechanisms share the characteristics of being difficult to prove and identify and having serious positive or negative effect on fluid flow. Their complexity should not be a barrier to understanding these mechanisms. With appropriate study, these processes can be identified, understood, and at least semi-quantified for most reservoirs. With understanding, it is then possible to evaluate damage mitigation or remediation. Fresh examples of the process of understanding and avoiding damage will be presented.
The cost of formation damage to our industry is difficult to quantify precisely, but it is undoubtedly true that less damage is better than more damage and significant productivity or injectivity can be added through damage awareness and mitigation. An attempt is made to quantify the cost of damage by country and region to put the technology presented in perspective. In 2007, the global annual cost of formation damage is estimated at one hundred thousand million dollars! Members should take away some insight in to formation damage mechanisms as well as an appreciation of the cost of damage to our industry.
A graduate of University College Dublin, Michael Byrne has worked in the oil industry for 19 years, and has spent 18 years evaluating formation damage and sand control problems. He has written and presented various training courses, and acted as a consultant to major oil companies worldwide. Numerous technical publications include key SPE papers on drilling and completion related formation damage mechanisms. He has been a principal author of papers on recommended laboratory practice and on description of formation damage mechanisms. He has served SPE as technical editor, short course instructor, and steering committee member and session chair at several SPE conferences, workshops and forums. Michael joined Senergy in Aberdeen in August 2007 as principal formation damage consultant.
Katherine Wallgren, Forum Chairperson, Katherine_Wallgren@oxy.com