How to Use Smart Tracers Effectively in Multi-Well Subsea Field Development

Posted by John Hannen



In any deep water field development, it is extremely important to monitor the oil and water production from all wells so that fluid movement can be managed and hydrocarbon output can be maximised. With the use of Smart Tracers from an oil inflow expert like Tracerco, which is integrated into a lower completion, alongside the use of waterflood tracers, a number of advantages can be provided over traditional oil and gas inflow measurement technologies, at a fraction of the cost.

When Tracerco was tasked to install 53 oil and water Smart Tracers into the production wells of a subsea development, the advantages of this technology were clear to be seen. A number of interwell tracers also needed to be installed into seawater injection wells. The oil tracers' primary use was to verify clean out and long term oil flow from each of the wells. Water tracers were used to detect the position of water breakthrough along each well and confirm whether the water source was from the formation or injected seawater.

During start up and pressure build up tests, samples of oil were regularly taken from the common flow line transporting fluids of all wells to the production facility. Analysis of tracer response allowed the measurement of average inflow across specific portions of each well. Comparison of reservoir quality acquired during drilling activities matched those inflow parameters measured using the Smart Tracers.

After the onset of water breakthrough was achieved, the next step was for samples of water to be taken regularly from the comingled flow line. These water samples were then analysed to look for the presence of tracers. Detection of tracers in samples and knowledge of their position in each of the production wells allowed an assessment of where the water was originating and whether it was injected seawater or formation water. Over time, as more water tracers were produced, comparison of water tracer concentration allowed a comparative map of water cut across all of the wells.

A detection of waterflood tracer breakthrough was eventually established; originating from one of the injection wells. In parallel with the detection of the waterflood tracer, it was noticed that an additional inflow smart water tracer had simultaneously appeared. This well was shut-in for a short time period to verify that injection water was flowing into this well. During shut-in, the waterflood and smart tracer disappeared from sampled water confirming the relationship between the injector and production well.

Take a look at this article for further information about this initial oil inflow study and to see how Smart Tracers can be used in order to maximise full field potential both at the current time and in the future.

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