A Field Problem: Pressure Drops During Waterflooding

John

John

Jun 21, 2023

A Field Problem: Pressure Drops During Waterflooding

The oil and gas industry is a dynamic and challenging landscape, with complexities that can transform day-to-day operations into intricate puzzles. For field workers, understanding and promptly addressing issues that arise can significantly impact productivity and safety. One such problem is an unexpected pressure drop in the injection well during the waterflooding process. If you're dealing with this scenario, or simply want to be prepared should it occur, this blog post is for you. We'll delve into the potential causes of this issue, using the power of our newly launched app, EnerGPT, which leverages OpenAI's advanced language model, ChatGPT, combined with our extensive knowledge base.

Scenario

For this post, we'll use a simple prompt, like a question we could see from the field. Remember - EnerGPT works on phones too!

Experiencing unexpected pressure drop in the injection well during waterflooding process. What could be the possible causes and troubleshooting steps?

EnerGPT comes up with some causes, and a handful of troubleshooting steps.

Causes

EnerGPT gives us four likely options for why the pressure drop happened:

Mechanical issues: This could include problems with the pumps or valves used to pressurize the water. It is important to check for any malfunctions or damage that may impact the flow of water.
Piping or tubing damage: Any leaks or blockages in the piping or tubing can lead to pressure drop. Inspecting the entire system for potential issues and repairing or replacing damaged components is necessary.
Scale or debris buildup: Over time, scale or debris can accumulate in the wellbore, restricting the flow of water and causing pressure drop. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the wellbore is essential to prevent or address this issue.
Formation damage: If the injection well is located in a reservoir with formation damage, such as permeability impairment or fines migration, it can result in reduced injectivity and subsequent pressure drop. Conducting formation damage analysis through core and fluid sampling can help identify this issue.

Because the question was so generic, we got a fairly generic response back. But if our field technician truly hasn't started troubleshooting yet, these steps will help guide the process! Followup questions will help refine the troubleshooting as we discover more symptoms of the problem.

Troubleshooting

Like before, a generic prompt gives us generic troubleshooting steps, but its enough to get us started. Let's hope it's just a leak somewhere!

Conducting a thorough inspection: Inspect all equipment, including pumps, valves, and piping, for any signs of damage or malfunction that could be causing the pressure drop.
Cleaning the wellbore: If scale or debris buildup is suspected, perform mechanical or chemical wellbore cleaning to remove any obstructions.
Analyzing formation damage: If formation damage is suspected, perform core and fluid sampling to determine the extent and nature of the damage.
Adjusting injection parameters: Evaluate the injection pressure, flow rate, and other parameters to ensure they are within the optimal range for the reservoir conditions.
Implementing remedial actions: Based on the findings from the troubleshooting steps, take appropriate actions such as repairing or replacing equipment, applying chemicals to mitigate formation damage, or optimizing injection operations.
Monitoring and continuous evaluation: After implementing remedial actions, closely monitor the well's performance and continue to evaluate pressure and injectivity to ensure the issue is resolved and to make further adjustments if needed.

Conclusion

Even if these results aren't the most specific and actionable, they give a good overview of what our field engineers should check out. If this question was asked in the field work could begin without input from the operations center, speeding up the maintenance cycle. Workers in the field can do more, with more knowledge in their hands!

When something goes wrong, reach for EnerGPT!