Designing Well Fluids for the Ormen Lange Gas Project, Right on the Edge


The challenges in developing the Ormen Lange field were the harsh weather conditions, deep-water depth, subsea topography and sub-zero seabed temperatures. Due to environmental constraints and the selected sand face completion type, a water-based fluid system was required. This paper discusses the design of the fluids to give full hydrate inhibition, maximize breaker effectiveness, provide low overbalance, and reduce corrosion risk. An extensive research and development program was initiated that spanned over two years. The study included bridging and chemical component selection, brine evaluation, hydrate suppression measurement, elastomers compatibility, extensive breaker treatment studies, formation damage measurements using actual reservoir core and long term corrosion testing. An in-situ generating acid/enzyme breaker treatment deployed in the gravel pack carrier fluid was developed to optimise filtercake cleanup whilst providing a non-corrosive environment for the selected gravel pack screens and lower completion metallurgy. The basis of design and knowledge gained in the laboratory testing phase was transferred to the field and the first three wells of the initial development phase have been drilled and completed trouble-free. The resulting production rates have met expected targets proving low formation damage and an efficient cleanup was achieved.