A Strategy for Attacking Excess Water Production

R. S. Seright, New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center
R. H. Lane, Northstar Technologies International
R. D. Sydansk, Sydansk Consulting Services
Also see SPE Production & Facilities (August 2003)

This report describes a straightforward strategy for diagnosing and solving excess water production problems. The strategy advocates that the easiest problems should be attacked first and diagnosis of water production problems should begin with information already at hand. A listing of water production problems is provided, along with a ranking of their relative ease of solution. Although a broad range of water-shutoff technologies is considered, the major focus of the report is when and where gels can be effectively applied for water shutoff.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Proposed Strategy
  3. Solutions to Specific Types of Problems
  4. Table 1 - Excess Water Production Problems and Treatment Categories

      Category A: "Conventional" Treatments are Normally an Effective Choice
    1. Casing leaks without flow restrictions (medium to large holes).
    2. Flow behind pipe without flow restrictions (no primary cement).
    3. Unfractured wells (injectors or producers) with effective barriers to crossflow.

    4. Category B: Treatments with Gelants are Normally an Effective Choice
    5. Casing leaks with flow restrictions (pinhole leaks).
    6. Flow behind pipe with flow restrictions (narrow channels).
    7. "Two-dimensional coning" through a hydraulic fracture from an aquifer.
    8. Natural fracture system leading to an aquifer.

    9. Category C: Treatments with Preformed Gels are an Effective Choice
    10. Faults or fractures crossing a deviated or horizontal well.
    11. Single fracture causing channeling between wells.
    12. Natural fracture system allowing channeling between wells.

    13. Category D: Difficult Problems for which Gel Treatments Should Not Be Used
    14. Three-dimensional coning.
    15. Cusping.
    16. Channeling through strata (no fractures), with crossflow.

  5. Table 2 - Water Shutoff Materials and Methods
  6. Conclusions
  7. Nomenclature
  8. References