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Completion Design

CONTENTS


1. COMPLETION DESIGN 1.1

1.1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.2 DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 1
1.3 COMPLETION AT THE RESERVOIR 5
1.4 PERFORATING 8
1.4.1 Gun Types and Perforation Methods 9
1.5 WELL INFLOW PERFORMANCE 13
1.6 VERTICAL LIFT PERFORMANCE 16
1.7 FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS OF A 19
COMPLETION STRING
1.8 COMPLETION COMPONENTS DESCRIPTIONS 24
1.8.1 Re-Entry Guide 24
1.8.2 Landing Nipple 25
1.8.3 Tubing Protection Joint 26
1.8.4 Perforated Joint 26
1.8.5 Sliding Side Door 27
1.8.6 Flow Couplings 29
1.8.7 Side Pocket Mandrels 29
1.8.8 Sub-Surface Safety Valves (SSSVs) 31
1.8.9 Annulus Safety Valves (ASVs) 34
1.8.10 Tubing Hanger 34
1.8.11 Xmas Tree 37
1.8.12 Production Packers 40
1.8.13 Seal Assemblies 45
1.8.14 Expansion Joints 48
1.8.15 Tubing 49
1.8.16 Sub-Sea Wellheads 52
1. 8.17 Examples of Single String Completions 54
1.9 DUAL COMPLETIONS 61
1.9.1 Examples of Dual String Completions 61










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1 COMPLETION DESIGN

1.1 INTRODUCTION

In simple terms, the term 'well completion' refers to the methods by which a newly
drilled well can be finalised so that reservoir fluids can be produced to surface
production facilities efficiently and safely. In general, the process of completing a
well includes the following:

A method of providing satisfactory communication between the reservoir and the
borehole.
The design of the tubulars (casing and tubing) which will be installed in the well
An appropriate method of raising reservoir fluids to the surface
The design, and the installation in the well, of the various components used to
allow efficient production, pressure integrity testing, emergency containment of
reservoir fluids, reservoir monitoring, barrier placement, well maintenance and
well kill
The installation of safety devices and equipment which will automatically shut a
well in the event of a disaster.

In general, a well is the communication link between the surface and the reservoir and
it represents a large percentage of the expenditure in the development of an oil or gas
field. It is of utmost importance that the well be "completed" correctly at the onset, in
order that maximum overall productivity of the field may be obtained. The ideal
completion is the lowest cost completion, which will meet the demands placed on it
during its producing lifetime.


1.2 DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

Before a production well is drilled, a great deal of planning must be undertaken to
ensure that the design of the completion is the best possible. A number of factors
must be taken into consideration during this planning stage, which can broadly be
split into reservoir considerations and mechanical considerations.

RESERVOIR CONSIDERATIONS
Producing Rate
Multiple Reservoirs
Reservoir Drive Mechanism
Secondary Recovery Requirements
Stimulation
Sand Control
Artificial Lift
Workover Requirements

MECHANICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Functional Requirements
Operating Conditions
Component Design
Component Reliability
Safety

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Figure 1:1 shows an example of a North Sea drilling and casing schedule, the main
features are as follows:

1. The installation of a 30 ins conductor to approx. 500 ft. Conductor pipe provides
structural strength, covers soft formations just below the sea bed and is the largest
diameter pipe installed in a well. The hole required to accommodate conductor
pipe can be drilled (onshore) or pile driven (offshore).

2. The installation of 20 ins surface casing which terminates at 1,000 ft total vertical
depth. Surface casing pipe provides protection against shallow gas, seals off
shallow water bearing sands, and provides a base for the BOP stack and the
wellhead assembly. Surface casing is always cemented back to surface.

3. The installation of 13
3
/
8
ins intermediate casing which terminates at 4,000 ft total
vertical depth. Intermediate casing pipe is used to protect weak formations, helps
prevent lost circulation of drilling fluids, and hole caving. (In a deep well, more
than one intermediate casing string may be set.) Intermediate casing is usually
cemented to a few hundred feet above the casing shoe of the surface casing string.

4. The installation of 9
5
/
8
ins production casing which terminates approx. 7,500 ft
total vertical depth. Production casing pipe is used to provide control of the
completed well and is the main string that reaches down to the producing
interval(s). Production casing is usually cemented to a few hundred feet above the
casing shoe of the intermediate casing string.

NOTE: Drilling operations may be resumed to deepen the well and liner
casing installed and hung off from the lower end of the production
casing.

A wellhead provides a means of:

1. Support for each casing string.

2. Support for the BOP equipment for the next section of hole to be drilled.

3. Sealing off the various annuli from pressure control purposes.

4. Support for the completion string.

5. Support for the Xmas Tree.

6. Control of annulus pressure.

Surface wellheads are installed in sections after each casing string is run. Each casing
hanger also provides an annulus seal. Subsequent wellhead sections seal off on top of
the previous casing string. Figure 1:2 shows a simplified schematic of surface
wellhead sections. The letters shown represent a common way of representing annuli.

A. The 9
5
/
8
ins or production casing string when we insert tubing in the well this
would be termed the tubing/production casing annulus.

B. The 9
5
/
8
ins and 13
3
/
8
ins annulus.

C. 13
3
/
8
ins and 20 ins annulus.
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Figure 1:1- North Sea Casing Profile Example
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Typical OBS drilling sequence






























Figure 1:2 Typical Surface Well Head System



















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1.3 COMPLETION AT THE RESERVOIR

There are several methods of completing a well at the producing zone (or zones) in
order to admit reservoir fluids into the borehole at the depth of the reservoir (or
reservoirs).


1) Openhole {Barefoot) Completion

Production casing is set and cemented to a depth just above the producing zone. The
reservoir is then drilled into and the drilled hole left as it is; See Figure 1:3a. This
type of completion is ideal where the reservoir rock is of the appropriate mechanical
strength i.e. is consolidated and not slough or cave in.

Open hole completions have very little application in the North Sea where reservoirs
are heterogeneous or where the development is high risk and high costs. Open hole
completions offer no scope for isolating individual zones for production, stimulation
or remedial work. However, this bottomhole completion type is used extensively in
land fields where cost savings from not running and perforating casing significantly
reduce total well costs. The advantages and disadvantages of open hole completion
types are indicated in Table 1:1.


2) Uncemented Liner Completions

In a non-consolidated formation where sand is likely to be produced, a non-cemented
liner may be used. The production casing is set above the producing zone and an open
hole drilled. The open hole is then lined with a short length of slotted or wire-
wrapped casing (or tubing) which is hung from the production casing and sealed into
it; See Figure 1:3b. The slots or wire wrapped pipe prevents sand from entering the
wellbore.
In sandy wells where slotted or wire wrapped liner has proved inadequate, the
refinement technique of gravel packing has been developed. Gravel packing consists
of filling the annular space between the open hole and the liner with a sheath of
gravel the external gravel pack. The gravel used is coarse sand with a grain
diameter appropriate for controlling unwanted sand production. Sand screens are
available where the coarse sand is already pre-packed in the liner assembly.
This bottomhole completion type has all the disadvantages of the open hole
completion with the added cost of the liner and liner hanger thrown in. Its application
is as for the open hole type, but where unconsolidated sands require to be controlled.
The advantages and disadvantages of uncemented liner completion types are
indicated in Table 1:1.


3) Cased and Cemented Completions

This is the most common type of bottomhole completion methods especially in the
North Sea. In this type of completion the production casing or liner is set and
cemented through and beyond the producing zone or zones. Communication with the
reservoir is then established by shooting holes through the casing or liner; See Figure
1:3c. The cement sheath around the liner/ casing isolates each zone or layer of a
reservoir and permits zones to be selectively perforated, produced, and stimulated.
The initial cost of completing this way has higher cost implications. The advantages
and disadvantages of cased and cemented completion types are indicated in Table 1:1.
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BOTTOMHOLE ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
COMPLETION
TECHNIQUE
Open Hole No perforating, no production Liable to "sand out"
casing, no cementing expense

Minimum rig time No selectivity for production
or stimulation
Full diameter hole in the
payzone improves productivity Ability to isolate is limited to the
lower part of the hole
No critical log interpretation
is required
Slotted Liner No perforating or cementing No selectivity for production or
expense for the production stimulation
casing

Assists in preventing sand Cost of slotted liner or pre-
production packed screen

No critical log interpretation is Difficult to isolate zones for
required production control

Slightly longer completion time
than for open hole completion
Cased and Introduces flexibility allowing Requires critical log
Cemented isolation of zones and selection interpretation to specify actual
of zones for production or perforation zone
injection
Cost of casing/liner and
cementation

Cost of rig time for longer
completion period


Table 1:1- Bottomhole Completion Techniques -Advantages and Disadvantages
















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Figure 1:3 Methods of Completing at the Producing Zone





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1.4 PERFORATING

It will be necessary in most cases to perforate a hydrocarbon bearing zone in cased
hole completions in order to realise optimum production. Some wells can flow open-
hole but, where a formation is relatively unconsolidated, flow rates are expected to be
high and for reasons of safety, perforated cased hole completions are usually
considered preferable. Perforating is an operation whereby holes are made through
the production casing (or liner) and its cement sheath into the reservoir to permit oil
or gas to flow into the wellbore. Nowadays, virtually all perforating is performed with
shaped charge perforators. Bullet perforators are occasionally used for particular
applications.

As far a completion design is concerned, the following comment cannot be
overstated. "The fate of a well hinges on years of exploration, months of planning,
and weeks of drilling. But ultimately it depends on perforating the optimal
completion, which begins with the first millisecond of perforating. Profitability is
strongly influenced by the critical link between the reservoir and the wellbore.

Perforations must provide a clean flow channel between the producing formation and
the wellbore with minimum damage to the producing formation. The ultimate test of
the effectiveness of a perforating system, however, is the well productivity. The
productivity of a perforated completion depends significantly on the geometry of the
perforations. The major geometrical factors, See Figure 1:4, that determine the
efficiency of flow in a perforated completion are:

Perforation length
Shot density
Angular phasing
Perforation diameter

The relative importance of each of these factors on well productivity depends on the
type of completion, formation characteristics, and the extent of formation damage
from drilling and cementing operations. The method of perforating a well must be
meticulously planned.



















Figure 1:4 Perforation Geometry
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1.4.1 Gun Types and Perforation Methods

There are three basic perforating gun types:

Retrievable hollow carrier gun
Non-Retrievable or Expendable gun
Semi-Expendable gun

Each type is available for through-tubing work or as a "casing gun"; See Figure 1:5a.

The retrievable hollow gun carrier consists of a steel tube into which a shaped
charge is secured - the gun tube is sealed against hydrostatic pressure, The charge is
surrounded by air at atmospheric pressure. When the charge fires, the explosive force
slightly expands the carrier wall but the gun and the debris within the gun are fully
retrieved from the well.

The non-retrievable or expendable gun consists of individually sealed cases made of
a frangible material e.g. aluminium, ceramic or cast iron; See Figure 1:5b. The shaped
charge is contained within the case and when detonated, blasts the case into small
pieces. Debris remains in the well.

With semi-expendable guns, the charges are secured on a retrievable wire carrier or
metal bar; See Figure 1:5c. This reduces the debris left in the well and generally
increases the ruggedness of the gun.

There are currently three standard methods of perforating a well using shaped
charges:

Casing gun perforating (run on wireline)
Through-tubing perforating (TTP) (run on wireline)
Tubing-conveyed perforating (TCP) (run on tubing)

Figure 1:6 shows schematically the application of the three main perforating
techniques.

TCP combines the best features of both casing guns and through-tubing guns and not
surprisingly is now the most widely used perforating technique used in the North Sea.

The guns are run as an integral part of a Drill Stem Test (DST) or a completion string.
The guns are fired only after a packer has been set, an Xmas Tree has been installed
and the entire completion string pressure integrity tested. Firing (detonation) can be
achieved using annulus or tubing pressure, mechanically or electrically in which case
a wireline assembly has to be run in the well. The guns can be jettisoned after firing
and allowed to fall to the bottom of the well below the perforated interval.

NOTE: The completion requirement for a TCP system is to allow an appropriate
sump for the guns to fall into.






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The advantages of TCP systems are:

Large intervals can be perforated at one time
Easy to perforate in deviated wells
Large gun sizes can be used with high shot densities
Perforating may be carried out in under-balanced conditions
Safest method to perforate

The disadvantages are:

Entire completion string must be pulled and re-run if the guns fail
Additional hole must be drilled below the reservoir to accommodate the guns

For a TCP system, a radioactive source is incorporated in a sub in the completion
string for correlating the guns. The sub can be logged with a gamma ray logging tool
to determine the exact position of the guns with respect to the formation.





































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Figure 1:5 Perforating Gun Types

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Figure 1:6 Perforating Techniques

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1.5 WELL INFLOW PERFORMANCE

The first tangible evidence of having found a hydrocarbon bearing reservoir in an
exploration well is provided by the drill cuttings. This evidence may be backed up by
core sampling and/ or logging. However, the only way to find out if the hydrocarbons
are recoverable is to run a Drill Stem Test (DST), which is a means of flowing the
well safely to surface to monitor the reservoir's dynamic performance. Historically
DSTs were performed using drill string, as the name implies, but nowadays most
offshore DSTs are run using a specially designed string with tubing as the production
conduit. An example of a DST string is illustrated in Figure 1:7.

The purpose of a DST is to obtain reservoir data necessary to plan the development of
a field and to optimise recovery from a well. Such reservoir data includes:

The static reservoir pressure
The composition of the produced fluids
The well productivity
Indications of reservoir heterogeneities or boundaries

Knowledge of the initial static reservoir pressure is vital and must be made before it is
disturbed by significant flow. It is from this reference point that comparisons and
calculations are made which help to define the development of the reservoir. Also of
great importance is the effect of flowing the well on its drive mechanism. Accurate
well testing and analysis of results from several exploratory wells will reveal the
nature and source of this drive.

Inflow performance relates to the movement or flow of fluid form a reservoir into the
bottom of the wellbore. Inflow performance response (IPR) or deliverability curves
are used to evaluate and predict well performance at the exploration stage. Periodic
production tests are also used to define the IPR curve after the completion string has
been installed in the well. An IPR curve is a plot of the drawdown induced by flowing
the well versus the flowrate at the bottom of the well. For a reservoir containing
liquids, the drawdown is the difference between the static reservoir pressure and the
flowing pressure at the depth of the reservoir. An example of an IPR curve for a
liquid reservoir is shown in Figure 1:8. An IPR curve is specific to the well at the
time of testing. Pressure depletion from the reservoir will change the IPR curve.

An important application of IPR curves for wells drilled into a particular reservoir
system is in the maintenance of production. If one or more wells are shut in,
petroleum engineers, using IPR curves, can predict the appropriate choke sizes for
flow from other wells in the same field to compensate for lost production. The other
important application of IPR curves is in completion design.











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Figure 1:7 Typical Drill Stem Test (DST) String

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A (Oil Well) - typical IPR showing Low
Productivity.

B (Oil Well) - typical IPR showing High
Productivity.

C (Gas Well) - IPR showing an Additional
Pressure Drop caused by inertial and
turbulent effects in the vicinity of the
wellbore.
Figure 1:8 Example of an IPR Curve

Completion Design

1.6 VERTICAL LIFT PERFORMANCE

Vertical lift performance (VPR) is concerned with the movement of reservoir fluids
from the wellbore at the depth of the reservoir to the production choke on surface.
VPR curves are dependent on tubing intake pressures, tubing head pressures, tubing
IDs, tubing pressure losses, fluid properties, fluid phase behaviour, and choke
performance; The inflow and outflow systems for a well are illustrated in Figure 1:9.














































Figure 1:9 -Well Outflow and Inflow Systems
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NOTE: During production, critical flowing conditions are usually maintained at
the choke

An example of VLP curves for various pipes Ids is shown in Figure 1:10.









































I
n
t
a
k
e

P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

(
p
s
i
)

Oil Flowrate (bopd)
Figure 1:10 Typical Vertical Lift Performance (VLP) for Various Tubing Sizes








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Matching the VLP curve to the IPR curve (nodal analysis) will identify which ID will
be appropriate for the production required from the well; Figure 1:11. Tubing
selected on this basis will optimise flow from the reservoir to production facilities.
When depletion of a reservoir occurs, VLP curves are utilised to determine the new
conduit size to match its new IPR curve.
















































Figure 1:11 Matching VLP Curves with an IPR Curve
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1.7 FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS OF A COMPLETION STRING

Design of a completion string involves the selection of components that perform
specific functions and these functions are dependent on the philosophy of the
operating company. Operating company philosophies differ with respect to
completion string design and in some cases there are historic reasons for the inclusion
of components that provide specific functions.
In this section the functional requirements for a completion string will be discussed
here by example. Next, actual completion examples will be illustrated and differing
philosophies discussed.

Completion Design Example 1

Consider the casing schematic of Figure 1:1. The objective is to design a completion
string for this well with the following basic functional requirements:

To provide optimum flowing conditions
To protect the casing from well fluids
To contain reservoir pressure in an emergency
To enable downhole chemical injection
To enable the well to be put in a safe condition prior to removing the production
conduit (i.e. to be killed)
To enable routine downhole operations

NOTE: The above functional requirements are not exhaustive.

A completion string that fulfils these functional requirements is illustrated in Figure
1:12. It is important to realise this example design is only a solution and not the
solution. This design is called a Single Zone Single String Completion.
























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Master Valve
Swab Valve
Figure 1:12 Completion Design Example 1

Completion Design

The completion design of Figure 1:12 also addresses the other functional requirements of:

Suspension of the tubing
Compensation for expansion or contraction of the tubing
Internal erosion of the tubing
Protection of the reservoir during well kill operations
Pumping operations for well kill
Well intervention operations out of the lower end of the tubing
Pressure integrity testing
Reservoir monitoring
Installation points for well barriers

The component selection for this completion is shown in Table 1:2.


FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENT COMPONENT
Optimise Production Tubing ID
Casing Protection Tubing Hanger
Permanent Packer
Emergency Containment Safety Valve Landing Nipple (SVLN)
Hydraulic Control Line
Wireline Retrievable Safety Valve (WRSV)
Chemical Injection Side Pocket Mandrel (SPM)
Well Kill Sliding Side Door (SSD)
Routine Downhole Operations Xmas Tree
Tubing String Movement Seal Assembly
Extend Tubing Life Flow Couplings
Support Tubing Hanger
Barrier Installation Points Landing Nipples
Tubing Hanger
Pressure Testing Landing Nipples
Pumping Operations Piping Manifold c/w Choke

Table 1:2- Component Selection for Completion Example 1



NOTE: Some components have dual functions.


NOTE: This completion design utilises a permanent packer and tailpipe that is
installed by wireline techniques prior to running the completion string
(packer systems will be discussed later).







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Completion Design Example 2

Figure 1:13 shows another example of a Single Zone Single String Completion that
illustrates additional functional requirements.

The component selection for this completion is shown in Table 1:3:


COMPONENT FUNCTION
Tubing hanger Tubing Support
Tubing-to-Casing Seal
Barrier Installation Point
Sub-Surface Safety Valve (SSSV) Emergency Containment
Flow Couplings Tubing Protection Against Internal Erosion
Upper Side Pocket Mandrels (SPMs) Unloading Annulus Liquids
Lowest Side Pocket Mandrel (SPM) Point of Gas Injection
Sliding Side Door (SSD) Tubing-to-Annulus Circulation
Barrier Installation Point
Landing Nipple Pressure Testing of Tubing String
Barrier Installation Point
Retrievable Packer Protect the Casing from Wellfluids
Ensure Retrievability of All Components
Landing Nipple Pressure Testing of Tubing String
Barrier Installation Point
Installation Point for Plug to Set Packer
Perforated Joint Allows Flow of Fluid when Monitoring Reservoir
Performance
Landing Nipple (No-Go) Installation Point for Pressure/Temperature Gauges

Re-Entry Guide Allows Unrestricted Re-Entry of Well Intervention
Tools Into the Tubing

Table 1:3- Component Selection for Completion Example 2

NOTE: This completion utilises a retrievable packer that will be run and set in
the casing by the application of pressure to the tubing (packer systems
will be discussed later).


The additional functional requirements of this completion design are:

Retrievability of all components from the well
Reservoir monitoring
Injection of gas in into tubing to assist production





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Figure 1:13 Completion Design Example 2

Completion Design

1.8 COMPLETION COMPONENTS DESCRIPTIONS

The following completion component descriptions follow the completion design of
Figure 1:12 and Figure 1:13. This completion incorporates components common to
many well completions. Workovers are often a result of the failure of a completion
component, and thus a good working knowledge of completion components and their
purpose is an essential pre- requisite to understanding workover and well control
problems.

1.8.1 Re-Entry Guide

A re-entry guide generally takes one of two forms:

1. Bell Guide
2. Mule Shoe

The Bell Guide; Figure 1:14, has a 45 lead in taper to allow easy re-entry into the
tubing of well intervention toolstrings (i.e. wireline or coiled tubing). This guide is
commonly used in completions where the end of the tubing string does not need to
bypass the top of a liner hanger.
The Mule Shoe Guide; Figure 1:14, is essentially the same as the Bell Guide with the
exception of a large 45 shoulder. Should the tubing land on a liner lip while running
the completion in the well, the large 45 shoulder should orientate onto the liner lip
and kick the tubing into the liner.





























Wireline Entry Guide with
Bell Bottom
Wireline Entry Guide with
Half Muleshoe Bottom
Figure 1:14 -Re-entry Guides
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1.8.2 Landing Nipple

A Landing Nipple, Figure 1:15 is a short tubular device with an internally machined
profile which can accommodate and secure a locking device called a lock mandrel run
usually using wireline well intervention equipment. The landing nipple also provides
a pressure seal against the internal bore of the nipple and the outer surface of the
locking mandrel.

Landing Nipples are incorporated at various points in the completion string
depending on their functional requirement. Common uses for landing nipples are as
follows:

Installation points for setting plugs for pressure testing, setting hydraulic-set
packers or isolating zones
Installation point for a sub-surface safety valve (SSSV)
Installation point for a downhole regulator or choke
Installation point for bottomhole pressure and temperature gauges

A No-Go Landing Nipple, See Figure 1:15, has a small shoulder located within the
internal bore of the nipple for the purpose of preventing wireline tools from falling
out of the end the tubing, if dropped. Only one No-Go Landing Nipple of the same
size can be used in a completion string, the lowermost nipple being the No-Go nipple.
More than one No-Go Landing Nipple can be incorporated in a completion string
provided that a step down in No- Go shoulder size is observed.

NOTE: In highly deviated wells it may not be possible to use Landing
Nipples at inclinations greater than 70. Wireline operators com-
monly use Landing Nipples for depth references.


























Figure 1:15 Landing Nipples
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The plugs that may be installed in Landing Nipples are:

Plug with shear disc (pump-open)
Plug with equalising valve
Plug with non-return valve

and the choice of plug depends on the pressure control required and the chances of
retrieval.


1.8.3 Tubing Protection Joint

This is a joint of tubing included for the specific purpose of protecting bottom hole
pressure and temperature gauges from excessive vibration while installed in the
landing nipple directly above.

1.8.4 Perforated Joint

A Perforated Joint, See Figure 1:16, may be incorporated in the completion string for
the purpose of providing bypass flow if bottomhole pressure and temperature gauges
are used for reservoir monitoring. The design criteria for a Perforated Joint is that the
total cross-sectional area of the holes should be at least equivalent to the cross
sectional area corresponding to internal diameter of the tubing.





























Figure 1:16- Perforated Joint
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1.8.5 Sliding Side Door

A Sliding Side Door (SSD) or Sliding Sleeve, See Figure 1:17, allows communication
between the tubing and the annulus. Sliding Side Doors consist of two concentric
sleeves, each with slots or holes. The inner sleeve can be moved with well
intervention tools, usually wireline, to align the openings to provide a communication
path for the circulation of fluids.

Sliding Side Doors are used for the following purposes:

To circulate a less dense fluid into the tubing prior to production
To circulate appropriate kill fluid into the well prior to workover
As a production device in a multi-zone completion
As a contingency should tubing/tailpipe plugging occur
As a contingency to equalise pressure across a deep set plug after pressure
integrity testing
To assist in the removal of hydrocarbons below packers

NOTE: As with any communication devices, the differential pressure across
SSDs should be known prior to opening.

NOTE: In some areas, the sealing systems between the concentric sleeves
are incompatible with the produced fluids and hence alternative
methods of producing tubing-to-annulus communication are used
(e.g. Side Pocket Mandrel, Tubing Perforating).




























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Figure 1:17 Sliding Side Door (SSD)

Completion Design

1.8.6 Flow Couplings

Flow Couplings are used in many completions above and/ or below a completion
component where turbulence may exist to prevent loss of tubing string integrity and
mechanical strength due to internal erosion directly above and/ or below the
component. Turbulence may be caused by the profiles internal to a component.
Flow Couplings are thick-walled tubulars (of the same internal diameter as the
tubing) made of high grade alloy steel usually supplied in 10, 15, or 20 ft lengths and
their use depends on erosional criteria obtained from fluid velocity and particulate
content.


NOTE: In multi-zone completions, Blast Joints are commonly used to
prevent loss of tubing string integrity due to external erosion
resulting from the jetting actions directly opposite producing
formations.


1.8.7 Side Pocket Mandrels

A Side Pocket Mandrel (SPM); See Figure 1:18, along with its through bore, contains
an offset pocket which is ported to the annulus. Various valves can be installed/
retrieved into/from the side pocket by wireline methods to facilitate annulus-to-tubing
communication. Side pocket valves, which provide a seal above and below the
communication ports, include:

1. Gas Lift Valves -when installed in the SPM, the valve responds to the pressure of
gas injected into the annulus by opening and allowing gas injection into the
tubing. In a gas lift system, the lowest SPM is that used for gas injection into the
tubing and the upper SPMs are those used to unload the annulus of completion
fluid down to the point of gas injection.

2. Chemical Injection Valves -these allow injection of chemicals (e.g. corrosion
inhibitors) into the tubing. They are opened by pressure on the annulus side.

3. Circulation Valves -these are used to circulate fluids from the annulus to the
tubing without damaging the pocket.

4. Equalisation Valves -are isolation and pressure equalisation devices that prevent
communication between the tubing and the annulus, and can provide an
equalisation facility by initially removing a prong from the valve.

5. Differential Kill Valves -these are used to provide a means of communication
between the annulus and the tubing by the application of annulus pressure. An
SPM with a differential valve installed provides the same function as a Sliding
Side Door.

6. Dummy Valves -these are solely isolation devices that prevent communication
between the tubing and the annulus.

NOTE: An SPM may be used as a circulation device in preference to an
SSD as side pocket valves may be retrieved for repair and/or seal
replacement.

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Figure 1:18Side Pocket Mandrel (SPM)

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1.8.8 Sub-Surface Safety Valves (SSSVs)

The purpose of an SSSV is to shut off flow from a well in the event of a potentially
catastrophic situation occurring. These situations include serious damage to the
wellhead, failure of surface equipment, and fire at surface. Different operating
companies have differing philosophies on the inclusion of an SSSV. For example, in
an offshore well, at least one SSSV is placed in every well at a depth, which varies
from 200 ft to 2,000 ft below the seabed. The depth at which an SSSV is installed in a
completion is dependent on well environment (onshore, offshore), production
characteristics (wax or hydrate deposition depth), and the characteristics of the safety
valve (maximum failsafe setting depth).

NOTE: It is generally recommended that an SSSV be installed in a well
that is capable of sustaining natural flow.

In the North Sea the installation of an SSSV is governed by law.

SSSVs can be divided into type groups according to their method of operation:

Direct Controlled Safety Valves
These are designed to shut in the well when changes occur in the flowing conditions
at the depth of the valve, that is, when the flowing condition exceed a pre-determined
rate or when the pressure in the tubing at the depth of the valve falls below a pre-
determined value. Such valves are often called "storm chokes". These valves are
termed Sub-Surface Controlled Sub-Surface Safety Valves (SSCSVs).

Remote Controlled Safety Valves
These are independent of changes in well conditions and are actuated open usually by
hydraulic pressure from surface via a control line to the depth of the safety valve.
Loss of hydraulic pressure will result in closure of the valve. A number of monitoring
pilots or sensing devices can be linked to the safety system, each pilot capable of
causing the valve to close if it senses a potentially dangerous situation. These valves
are termed Surface Controlled Sub- Surface Safety Valves (SCSSVs).

An SCSSVs run on wireline is called a wireline retrievable safety valve (WRSV) and
is installed in a special safety valve landing nipple (SVLN) which is made up as part
of the completion string; See Figure 1:19. A control line external to the tubing
provides hydraulic pressure to actuate the valve open.

The main advantage of utilising a WRSV is that it can be economically retrieved for
inspection. A primary disadvantage of a WRSV is related to its restricted bore which
does present a restriction to flow, and can cause hydrate or paraffin plugging if the
appropriate conditions exist. An SCSSV run as part of the tubing string is called a
tubing retrievable safety valve (TRSV); See Figure 1:20. Again, a control line
external to the tubing provides hydraulic pressure to actuate the valve open.

The main advantage of a TRSV is that unrestricted flow is provided by its full-bore
design, which does not contribute to hydrate or paraffin plugging problems. The main
disadvantage is that in the event of a critical failure of the valve, the completion string
must be pulled and this can be an extremely expensive operation. This disadvantage
has been partially overcome by the development of lock open tools for the TRSV and
the provision for a surface controlled wireline retrievable insert valve to be installed
in the body of the TRSV.

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Figure 1:19 Typical Surface Controlled Wireline Retrievable Safety Valve (WRSV)


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Model T-5 Safety Valve
Figure 1:20 Typical Surface Controlled Tubing Retrievable Safety Valve (TRSV)


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1.8.9 Annulus Safety Valves (ASVs)

In gas lift systems where large amounts of pressurised gas exists in the tubing-casing
annulus, Annulus Safety Valves may be incorporated to contain this gas inventory in
the annulus in the event that the wellhead becomes damaged. ASVs are not discussed
here but an example completion design incorporating such a device is shown in
Figure 1:38.


1.8.10 Tubing Hanger

The Tubing Hanger is a completion component, which sits inside the Tubing Head
Spool and provides the following functions:

Suspends the tubing
Provides a seal between the tubing and the tubing head spool
Installation point for barrier protection

The Tubing Head Spool provides the following functions:

Provides a facility to lock the tubing hanger in place .
Provides a facility for fluid access to the' A 'annulus
Provides an appropriate base for the completion Xmas Tree


Both the Tubing Hanger and Tubing Head Spool are prepared to allow the actuation
of an SCSSV.

An example of a Tubing Hanger/Tubing Head Spool system is shown in Figure 1:21.
Such Tubing Hanger systems allow completion tubing to be suspended in neutral (ie.
all the tubing weight minus fluid buoyancy) or the tubing suspended in compression.

NOTE: Completion strings may be set in compression to accommodate for
tubing movement as a result of pumping cold fluids into the tubing,
i.e. thermal contraction effects. For example, water injection wells
may be set in compression prior to landing the hanger by installing
additional tubing in the well. When the water injection system is
operating, thermal effects will contract the string appropriate to the
additional tubing installed. Setting a completion in compression
requires that the tubing-to-packer arrangement be appropriate
(packer systems will be discussed later).


NOTE: Completion strings may also be set in tension to compensate for
thermal expansion of the tubing due to production. Setting a
completion in tension requires pulling the tubing in tension prior to
production and dosing rams around a hanger nipple. The hanger
nipple is run an appropriate distance below a Ram Type Tubing
Hanger, See Figure 1:22, and the tension applied to the tubing
string to remove tubing from the well equivalent to that expected
from thermal expansion. Setting a completion in tension requires
that the tubing-to-packer arrangement be appropriate (packer
systems will be discussed later).
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Figure 1:21 Tubing Head Spool/Tubing Hanger System

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Figure 1:22 Ram Type Tubing Hanger System

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1.8.11 Xmas Tree

An Xmas Tree is an assembly of valves, all with specific functions, used to control
flow from the well and to provide well intervention access for well maintenance or
reservoir monitoring.


NOTE: The Xmas Tree is normally connected directly to the tubing hanger
spool that sits on the uppermost casing head spool. The whole
assemblage of Xmas Tree, Tubing Hanger and uppermost Casing
Head Spool is sometimes referred to as the Wellhead.


A Xmas Tree may be a composite collection of valves or, more commonly nowadays,
constructed from a single block; See Figure 1:23. The solid block enables the unit to
be smaller and eliminates the danger of leakage from flanges.


Typically, from bottom to top, an Xmas Tree will contain the following valves:


Lower Master Gate Valve Manually operated and used as a last resort to shut in
a well.

Upper Master Gate Valve Usually hydraulically operated and also used to shut
in a well.

Flow Wing Valve Manually operated to permit the passage of hydro-
carbons to the production choke.

Kill Wing Valve Manually operated to permit entry of kill fluid to into
the tubing.

Swab Valve Manually operated and used to allow vertical access
into the tubing for well intervention work.

NOTE: Nowadays, all Xmas Tree valves are of the gate-valve type that
allows full bore access.


A typical surface wellhead and Xmas tree are shown in Figure 1:24.













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Figure 1:23 Typical Xmas Tree

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Figure 1:24 Typical Surface Wellhead and Xmas Tree

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1.8.12 Production Packers

A production packer may be defined as a sub-surface component used to provide a
seal between the casing and the tubing in a well to prevent the vertical movement of
fluids past the sealing point, allowing fluids from a reservoir to be produced to
surface facilities through the production tubing.

NOTE: By no means are all wells completed with production packers.
However, for the purposes of this course, only those packers used
in well completions will be discussed.

The prime purpose of using a packer or packers in a well completion is as follows:

To protect the casing from reservoir fluids
To protect the casing from the effects of flowing pressures
To isolate various producing zones

In general, packers are constructed of hardened slips which are forced to bite into the
casing wall to prevent upward or downward movement while a system of rubberised
elements contact the casing wall to effect a seal.

Production packers may be grouped according to their ability to be removed from a
well, that is, retrievable or permanent.

Retrievable Production Packers

Are run on the tubing string and may be set mechanically or hydraulically. They are
usually removed from the well by the application of mechanical forces. An example
of a retrievable production packer is shown in Figure 1:25.

Permanent Production Packers

These may run in a variety of ways and become an integral part of the casing once
set. A permanent packer may run as follows:

On wireline and set in the casing using pyrotechnics to generate the forces
required to set it in the casing

Or

On pipe and set hydraulically by the application of tubing pressure.

Figure 1:26 shows an example of this type of permanent packer.

NOTE: Both the above methods provide a disconnect mechanism from the
setting device. The setting device is removed from the well after the
packer has been set. The completion string is then run into the well
and a seal assembly stabbed into the polished bore of the packer.





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Figure 1:25 Example of a Retrievable Packer

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Figure 1:26 Example of a Permanent Packer

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Permanent packers may also be run

Latched onto the completion tubing and hydraulically set by the application of
tubing pressure.

NOTE: The tubing may be disconnected from the packer by rotation of the
latch system or by utilising an expansion joint located in the
completion directly above the latch assembly.

Figure 1:27 shows an example of this type of permanent (hydro-set) packer.


Permanent/Retrievable Production Packers
These packers have the same mechanical characteristics as permanent packers, but
have the facility to be released and recovered from the well. These packers will not be
discussed in this course.

NOTE: In general, permanent production packers can withstand much
greater differential pressures than the equivalent retrievable
packer.


































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Figure 1:27 Example of a Hydro-Set Permanent Packer

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1.8.13 Seal Assemblies
Seal assemblies, run on tubing, packs off in the bore of a permanent packer. The
sealing element frequently used is the chevron packing ring, fabricated from synthetic
rubber, or from plastic such as Teflon. Seal rings are assembled in sets, facing
opposite directions, to give a two-way seal. An alternative to chevron seals is the
moulded rubber sleeve and in some permanent packer systems a choice of either is
provided.

Figure 1:28 illustrates the assemblies available for connecting the tubing to the packer
and maintaining a seal.

Locator Seal Assembly
Here the top collar or (No-Go Shoulder) locates on the bevel of the packer body, just
above the left-hand thread. This type of assembly allows the tubing to set in neutral or
compression.

NOTE: Seal assemblies of this type can be used without the locating collar.

Locator Seal Assemblies do not permit the tubing to be landed in tension. At most the
full tubing weight can be hung off at the tubing hanger. However, when the well is
producing, the temperature of the tubing will increase and the tubing will expand
longitudinally. With the locator seated on the packer, and top of the tubing string
fixed in the tubing hanger, expansion can take place only at the expense of buckling.
By using a series of seal subs below the locator, the tubing can be pulled back a
calculated distance (space-out) and then landed, leaving the locator the same distance
above the packer, but with the seal assembly still within the packer bore. This will
allow for tubing expansion. A completion string may also be spaced out appropriately
if overall cooling of the tubing string will occur eg. in a water injection well.

Anchor Seal Assembly
This seal assembly has a latch sleeve, threaded to match the left-hand thread at the top
of the packer. The lower part of the sleeve, carrying the thread, has vertical slots cut
in it, and the lower flank of the thread is chamfered. On entry into the packer, the
latch sleeve collapses inwards, and then springs out to engage the thread of the
packer. The anchor seal assembly permits the tubing to be landed in compression,
neutral, or tension. The anchor seal assembly can be released from the permanent
packer by pulling the tubing in slight tension and rotating the tubing right-handed at
surface. The latching sleeve will back out of the packer.

Polished Bore Receptacles (PBRs)
These are usually anchor latched to a hydro-set packer and run in the well in the
closed position (shear ringed, shear pinned, J-slotted). After the packer is set, the PBR
may be spaced out appropriately. A PBR affords maximum flow capability through
the packer and allows a method of disconnecting from the packer for workover
operation.

Tubing Seal Receptacles (TSRs)
These are usually anchor latched to a hydro-set packer and run in the well in the
closed position (shear ringed, shear pinned, J-slotted). After the packer is set, the TSR
may be spaced out appropriately. A TSR affords maximum flow capability through
the packer and allows a method of disconnecting from the packer for workover
operation. A TSR affords protection to the seals. Also, a TSR may be manufactured
with circulation ports on the inner mandrel.
PBRs and TSRs are shown in Figure 1:29.
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Figure 1:28 Seal Assemblies

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Figure 1:29 PBR and TSR Schematic Seal Assemblies

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1.8.14 Expansion Joints

These are telescoping devices, See Figure 1:30, usually used in a completion string
above a retrievable packer to compensate for tubing movement and possibly to
prevent premature release of the packer from the well.
















































Figure 1:30 Expansion Joint
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1.8.15 Tubing

Although tubing is the last string of tubulars to be run in the well, its requirements
often dictate the whole well design. Tubing is run mainly to serve as the flow conduit
for the produced fluids. It also serves to isolate these fluids from the A annulus
when it is used in conjunction with a casing packer.

The basic tubing string design criteria are:

Size, appropriate to producing operations.
Tensile strength
Stress
Corrosion resistance

The American Petroleum Institute (API) identifies, assesses and develops standards
for oil and gas industry goods. Tubing is considered appropriate to API standard if the
following conform to certain specifications:

Weight per foot
Length ranges
Outside diameter
Wall thickness
Steel grade
Method of steel manufacture

and API standards also specify:

Physical dimensions of the thread connections
Performance for burst, collapse and tensile strength of the pipe body and thread
connections

An API type connection is shown in Figure 1:31.





















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Figure 1:31- API Type Connection


API Tubing steel grades are identified by letters and numbers which dictate various
characteristics of the steel. For each grade, the number designates the minimum yield
strength. Thus J-55 grade steel has a minimum yield strength of 55,000 psi. In other
words, it can support a stress of 55,000 psi with an elongation of less than 0.5%. The
letter in conjunction with the number designates parameters such as the maximum
yield strength and the minimum ultimate strength which for J-55 pipe is 80,000 psi
and 75,000 psi respectively.

Table 1:4 shows the yield values for various API tubing grades:

Grade Minimum Yield (psi) Maximum Yield (psi) Minimum Ultimate
Yield (psi)
H-40 40,000 80,000 60,000
J-55 55,000 80,000 75,000
C-75 75,000 90,000 95,000
L-80 80,000 95,000 95,000
N-80 80,000 110,000 100,000
P105 105,000 135,000 120,000

Table 1:4 -Yield Values for Various API Tubing Grades
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Grade C-75 is for hydrogen sulphide service and where a higher strength than J-55 is
required.

In addition to API grades, there are many proprietary steel grades which may conform
to API specifications, but which are used extensively for various applications
requiring properties such as:

Very high tensile strength
Disproportionately high collapse strength
Resistance to sulphide stress cracking

Many tubing strings are run which contain these non-API tubulars. This pipe is made
to many but not all API specifications, with variations in steel grade, wall thickness,
outside diameter, thread connections, and related upset. Due to these variations, the
ratings of burst, collapse, and tensile specifications are non-API.

The type of tubing connections selected for a completion will depend mainly on the
well characteristics. The connection must be able to contain the produced fluids safely
and at the maximum pressures anticipated. The basic requirements of a tubing string
connection are:

Strength compatible with the operational requirements of the string during, and
after running.
Sealing properties suitable for the fluid and pressures expected.
Ease of stabbing during make-up, and safe break-out when pulling the tubing.
Resistance to damage, corrosion, and erosion.

There are two types of thread connection -API and Premium.

Premium connections are proprietary connections that offer premium features not
available on API connections. Most offer a metal-to-metal seal for improved high
pressure seal integrity. Premium connections exist with features such as flush connec-
tions, recess free bores, and special clearance. An example of a premium thread is
shown in Figure 1:32.



















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Figure 1:32 - An Example of a Premium Connection



1.8.16 Sub-Sea Wellheads

Sub-Sea Wellheads serve the same function as a surface wellhead in providing
support and pressure integrity but are assembled differently. After positioning a
guidebase on the seabed, which is run with the initial conductor casing, a wellhead is
then run on the next string of casing and hung off in the conductor, See Figure 1:33.
This sub-sea wellhead is the basis for further operations. Drilling BOPs are installed
in some cases on a special oriented profile on top of the wellhead. The sub-sea Xmas
Tree is subsequently latched to the wellhead; See Figure 1:34.











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Figure 1:33 Sub-Sea Wellhead


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Figure 1:34 Typical Sub-Sea Wellhead and Xmas Tree


1.8.17 Examples of Single String Completions

1. Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Completion See Figure 1:35
2. Single Zone Single String Water Injection Completion See Figure 1:36
3. Multiple Zone Single String Completion See Figure 1:37
4. Single Zone Single String Completion c/w ASV System See Figure 1:38
5. Dual Zone Single String Completion See Figure 1:39
6. Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Horizontal See Figure 1:40
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Figure 1:35 Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Completion




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Figure 1:36 Single Zone Single String Water Injection Completion














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Figure 1:37 Multiple Zone Single String Completion









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Figure 1:38 Single Zone Single String Completion c/w ASV System


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Figure 1:39 Dual Zone Single String Completion




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1.9 DUAL COMPLETIONS

Dual completions allow two zones to be produced separately and simultaneously via
separate tubing strings. Dual completions maximise the hydrocarbon recovery from a
well where the producing zones differ in pressure and/ or fluid type. The philosophy
behind designing each production conduit is the same as that for a single zone
completion possibly with the added contingency for converting the completion to one
that allows alternate production from each zone usually up the long string.

Apart from using dual hydraulic set production packers, See Figure 1:41, dual tubing
hanger systems, See Figure 1:42, and Dual Xmas Trees; See Figure 1:43, the
completion components used are as that for a single zone completion. To combat
erosion of the long string opposite perforations in the upper zone, the long string is
fitted with blast joints.


1.9.1 Examples of Dual String Completions

1. Dual Zone Dual String Completion See Figure 1:44
2. Triple Zone Dual String Completion See Figure 1:45



























Figure 1:40 Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Horizontal Completion




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1.9 DUAL COMPLETIONS

Dual Completions allow two zones to be produced separately and simultaneously via
separate tubing strings. Dual completions maximise the hydrocarbon recovery from a
well where the producing zones differ in pressure and/or fluid type. The philosophy
behind designing each production conduit is the same as that for a single zone
completion possibly with the added contingency for converting the completion to one
that allows alternate production from each zone usually up the long string.

Apart from using dual hydraulic set production packers, See Figure 1:41, dual tubing
hanger systems, See Figure 1:42, and Dual Xmas Trees, See Figure 1:43, the
completion components used are as that for a single zone completion. To combat
erosion of the long string opposite perforations in the upper zone, the long string is
fitted with blast joints.

1.9.1 Examples of Dual String Completions

1. Dual Zone Dual String Completion See Figure 1:44
2. Triple Zone Dual String Completion See Figure 1:45



































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Figure 1:41 Example of a Retrievable Dual Production Packer

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Figure 1:42 Segmented Dual Hanger System

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Figure 1:43 Example of a Dual Xmas Tree

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Figure 1:44 Dual Zone Dual String Completion



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Figure 1:45 Triple Zone Dual String Completion
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