Zonal Isolation in the Middle East
17 October 2022
Commercial production in Iraq started in 1927, followed by Bahrain in 1933, and Saudi Arabia in 1938.
The oil typically can be produced more efficiently and cheaply in the Middle East than anywhere else in the world, as the carbonate geological formations in the area have trapped vast pools of petroleum relatively close to the earth's surface. These geological characteristics, combined with the fact that the majority of wellheads are onshore rather than offshore (and thus cheaper to operate), make the Middle East the most profitable oil-producing region in the world.
Another unique aspect of the Middle East is the region's concentration of numerous giant fields. With only 2% of the world's producing wells, the region's output is over 30% of the world's crude, highlighting its prolific fields. In addition, the Middle East holds 40% of the world's conventional gas reserves.
With over a century of legacy in oil production, it will come as no surprise that the region is home to quite a few older wells. Despite the relative abundance of oil, there still is a strong economic incentive to keep these older fields in production.
Zonal isolation is vital in meeting this goal. Properly isolating different production zones within a well significantly reduces water production, which in turn increases oil and gas production. A significant added benefit is that reduced water production also greatly reduces the environmental footprint for operators, as there is less water to treat and dispose of.
A proven alternative to well recompletions
During a recompletion, a separate wellbore is drilled from an existing casing in order to reach the same reservoir, which typically is a costly endeavour. Even in the Middle East region, where employing a rig is relatively affordable, recompletions are still relatively time-consuming and risky undertakings.
Our ZonalSeal technology negates the need for such a large-scale operation. By precisely injecting a high viscous sealant into the space between the wellbore and the formation, we are able to isolate the annulus. After our custom injection tool is retrieved to the surface, a conventional bridge plug is run and placed inside the tubing to isolate production from the water reservoir below.
For optimum results, the epoxy seal must be placed precisely at the correct location. That's why our specialists work closely with reservoir engineers and geophysicists to study and evaluate the well in great detail. After extensive well logging has been performed to determine the fluid levels within the well's individual zones, we study the well completion layout and the surrounding formations' geology. Based on these findings, we select the optimal location(s) to place our epoxy seal(s).
Reduced carbon emissions
Compared to ZonalSeal applications, a full recompletion of a field is often much more expensive and comes with a much bigger carbon footprint. A recompletion typically takes weeks to drill and requires a large team of personnel, a wide array of equipment, and extensive hardware. A ZonalSeal application usually is performed in a couple of days and requires a much smaller team.
Furthermore, reduced water production means less water to treat and dispose of, further minimizing environmental impact.
CannSeal in the Middle East
Currently, we are working with regional operators to employ our ZonalSeal technology in several Middle East fields. Thanks to our parent company Interwell, we enjoy a wide regional distribution network, allowing us to mobilize quickly and respond to any challenges.