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SPE 111472

Integrated Reservoir Management Approach Beats the Impact of Reservoir


Heterogeneity, Injectivity Challenges, and Delayed Water Flood in Upper
Burgan Reservoir in North KuwaitA Case History
HB Chetri, Abd Aziz El- Sabry, Mishal Al-Mufarej, and Ealian Al-Anzi, KOC


Copyright 2008, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2008 SPE North Africa Technical Conference and Exhibition held in Marrakech, Morocco, 1214 March 2008.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.


Abstract
Upper Burgan is a multi-layered reservoir in Sabiriyah Field of North Kuwait, currently undergoing initial phase of Water
flood development. A highly complex reservoir with respect to reservoir heterogeneity; connectivity and structural
compartmentalization based on detailed analogous study, the preliminary experience with the water flood performance was
too dismal to achieve the target injection rates. A detailed channel mapping work has been completed which has enhanced the
sub surface understanding to add value to the ongoing drilling/ production and injection plans. Challenges posed by the
heterogeneity and compartmentalization coupled with poor Injectivity initially slowed down the pace of the water flood
development of the reservoir.

The Integrated Reservoir Management (IRM) approach with a distinctive strategy for depletion & pressure support for
each of its segments has immensely helped the short term production build-up and sustaining the rates. The strategy is
focused at producing the high reservoir pressure segments and managing the production from the depleted crestal part in
tandem with ongoing water injection; aggressive pressure monitoring and cooperation from the operational teams. The
current/ short term drilling plan has been set to target the segments with higher reservoir pressures for well placement. The
synergy with drilling activities in overlying Mauddud and underlying Lower Burgan reservoirs has helped in valuable data
acquisition and swapping of wells for short term production requirements opportunistically.

The case history in the paper illustrates how the IRM approach in Upper Burgan is helping to manage & sustain the
production rates at higher levels than predicted in the past, beating the impact of reservoir heterogeneity; Injectivity
challenges and delayed water flood and at the same time, staying above the bubble point pressure.

Background
Upper Burgan reservoir in Sabiriyah field was discovered in 1950s. The Albian age Upper Burgan sandstone represents
deposition in an overall paralic environment. The reservoir comprises a complex series of tidal, estuary, deltaic, valley fill
and shoreface sands interbedded with semi continuous shales. The paleo-shoreline is interpreted as having a NW-SE trend
with the field areas located slightly offshore. There are three dominant sand-prone facies present in the Upper Burgan.

The first facies is carbonaceous sand. This is a fine - medium grained sand with typically excellent petrophysical
properties (porosity 22-25%, permeability >400 md). This facies is interpreted to have been deposited in an
estuarine/tidally influenced environment often with high rates of deposition. The thickness of this facies can reach
40 feet however, 10-20 feet is more typical.
The second sand-prone facies is bioturbated sand. This very fine to fine grained facies is thought to represent a
dominantly marine environment. Reservoir quality can be highly variable. The thickness of the facies is on average
20 feet.
The third facies type, heterolithic sand, is typically very fine to fine grained. This facies type is abundant in the
Upper Burgan. Its presence represents a number of environments including mouthbar, tidal flats, tidal channels,
etc.. Reservoir quality is erratic. Due to its laminated nature vertical permeability is low.

The reservoir has been subdivided into 5 mappable layers (UB1 to UB5) by INTERA (1992). This zonation scheme has
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been reviewed and modified where appropriate by the Upper Burgan Team (Wethington, 1997, Al Edan, 1997). The average
reservoir parameters for the reservoir are shown in the table below:

PAREMETER RANGE
Gross thickness, ft 100-150
Net thickness, ft 60-100
Initial Reservoir pressure, psia 3800
Current Reservoir pressure, psia 2600-3500
Bubble Point Pressure, psia 1500-2450
Solution GOR, scf/bbl 400-600
API Gravity 21-28
Viscosity at Saturation pressure, cp 1.0 1.8
PI bpd/psi 0.5 3.0
Well type All vertical
Drive mechanism Mainly depletion

Reservoir Heterogeneity
An assessment of the geological complexity, and hence connectivity, can be made through the use of Geological
Complexity Indices (GCI). The GCI is a method of addressing key reservoir parameters such as structure, stratigraphic
character and permeability, etc. which impact well productivity and performance. The Sabiriyah Upper Burgan scored 16 out
of a possible 20, indicating a complex reservoir.

The geological analysis done to date indicates the Upper Burgan reservoir represents a paralic environment. Analogue
studies have shown complexity in this type of reservoir is typically underestimated (Speers, 1997). Key lessons from
analogue reservoirs suggest flexibility in development planning is mandatory. Connectivity has been reviewed in terms of
stratigraphy, structure and pressure and the following general conclusions made:
In many analogous reservoirs the paralic depositional environment has proven to be more complex than originally
thought. Some closely spaced wells exhibit drastic changes in sand character - continued infill drilling will most likely
be necessary in some parts of fields in the future;
Most peripheral floods in paralic environments end up as pattern floods;
Small faults in Upper Burgan can cause non-juxtaposition of productive layers;
Structure, channel architecture and stratigraphy will most likely play a significant role in the waterflood performance of
the reservoir.

Based on the evidence to data the Sabiriyah Upper Burgan reservoir has sufficient connectivity to allow waterflood
provided the injector and associated producers are located in the same major fault block & channel set up. Thin sands exist
along with numerous faults. The central west flank has the best channel sand development while in areas to the north and east
sand development is thought to be poor. The available production and pressure data indicates significant reservoir
heterogeneity, and areas which are effectively pressure isolated. Sufficient RFT data is available in the field, showing a wide
scatter.

In the Sabiriyah Upper Burgan reservoir there exist significant uncertainty in the original oil water contact (OOWC)
agreement with the earlier INTERA study, the expected OOWC on the east side of the field is approximately 7,700 ftss. On
the fields west side the expected OOWC is 7,800 ftss. Further, there are areas of the field where water was interpreted as
high as 7,600 ftss. These areas are typically high on the structure adding to the assumed complexity and known uncertainty of
the original fluid distribution. Low resistivity intervals high on the structure are most likely related to mineralogical effects
on the logs.

There is limited aquifer support available throughout the reservoir, especially from the NW side. Compartmentalization is
evident because the various sand bodies are differentially depleted across the structure. The best support is present in the
flank channel sands. There appears to be zero natural aquifer support in the central part of the field. This has resulted in the
formation of a pressure sink at the crestal part with BHP down to ~2500 psi, which requires water injection support urgently.
This has necessitated going slow for most of the crestal production to avoid creation of a gas cap. The reservoir pressure in
the mid flank and down flank areas is good (3000 to 3400 psi) but the wells PIs are normally low due to either poor rock or
poor fluid quality. Currently, the crestal production is managed by having limited injection of about 10,000 bwpd through
three injectors. Preliminary response is very encouraging.

SPE 111472 3
Development Strategy
The current development strategy for the SaUB involves careful mapping of the channels to identify contiguous wells and
injection of water into these channels to provide pressure support to individual channel bodies. Support for the estuarine sand
bodies would be incidental to supporting the major channel reservoirs. In effect, a pattern water flood will not work in a
channel dominated reservoir as injectors are very likely to be placed in areas that dont support producers that are not
connected via these channels. The channel mapping work was initiated during last year which will be incorporated in the
model update and finalization of the development strategy during later part of the current year or early next year.

The expected plateau rate for the Sabiriyah Upper Burgan development will be lasting approximately 12 years between
2006 and 2018. This would be achieved by infill drilling and drilling on the margins of the field, along with the application of
artificial lift ( Gas Lift & ESP). Support for this production would be by a combination water injection in current injectors
and drilling new water injection wells. The current low-pressure water injection and eventual high pressure water injection,
starting in 2011, should provide voidage replacement. The water injection requires to be expanded to the mid flank and down
flank areas where very rapid decline in reservoir pressure has been observed recently. Major work on building static model
and updating the existing dynamic model with the revised reservoir description with channel architecture is in progress,
which will indicate a more representative development strategy in long term. The current reservoir model was built in 2001
and is currently on updation for a more representative production forecast with the incorporation of the reservoir
heterogeneity and the channel based water flood scheme. Integrated Reservoir management approach (IRM) has been
adopted during the year 2006-07 to preferentially drill, connect and produce from the high reservoir pressure segments
leading to sustaining production rates with instantaneous rate spike of +5 MBOPD during new well connections in high
pressure segments.

Integrated Reservoir Management
The Integrated Reservoir Management Approach, as implemented for the Upper Burgan reservoir of Sabiriyah field of
North Kuwait, can be defined as the multi-disciplinary team approach in which the reservoir is treated as different segments
as per the actual dynamic performance and accordingly, a distinctive depletion plan is defined and implemented for each
segment, the primary objective being mainly to beat or at least sustain the production targets, staying above the bubble point
pressure all the time, thereby nullifying the negative impact of the delay in full fledged water injection by several years.

There are many uncertainties in Sabiriyah Upper Burgan reservoir, which may impact the achievement of the overall North
Kuwait production target and may also impact Upper Burgan reservoir production performance. Key risks include;

Facilities slippage - delays in construction and commissioning fluids handling capacity, produced water disposal,
water injection availability, lift gas availability would all adversely impact the Upper Burgan production profile.
Drilling programme slippage.
The reservoir is generally found to be more structurally complex and compartmentalized than anticipated.
Limited subsurface understanding of the complex reservoirs.

These uncertainties make it difficult to estimate the long-term production rates and come up with a solid full development
plan for Sabiriyah Upper Burgan reservoir. However, it is still possible to formulate a short term development plan to
optimize the production rates and reserves, using the Integrated Reservoir Management (IRM) Approach using a penta tier
team approach as illustrated in the schematic below:



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Penta Tier Approach
Desk Level
Team Level
Sub Team Level
Peer Level
Basic data acquisition, processing & Interpretation
Corporate Level
Quality Checks; Validation and Reviews
Integration; inter reservoir issues; sharing of wells
High level guidelines; Identification of risks &
Mitigation plans; Value add & alignment
Fitting the UB issues with the Asset requirements



Surpassing the Heterogeneity Impact:

IRM approach was adopted by the team to overcome the impact of reservoir heterogeneity on short term & long term
production & reserves delivery. A matrix of components leading to uncertainties and the associated impact was created based
on the feedback from key geologists, geophysicists and engineers under the advisory umbrella of peers. The following key
actions have been identified to overcome the immediate impact of heterogeneity on ongoing development & production
efforts:
Re-interpretation of seismic data & reservoir structure
Review of the existing petrophysical model covering all key wells of the reservoir and update the model, if deemed
necessary
Build the new static model with updated reservoir description
Go slow for the drilling of new wells in crestal part of the reservoir where offtake is presently constrained due to the
formation of pressure sink
Short term focus for development drilling in segments where reservoir pressures are high ( either due to limited
offtake or limited aquifer support)
Conduct high degree of reservoir surveillance activities, specially pressure build up tests and specially designed
interference tests to further enhance the understanding of reservoir connectivity


Reservoir Segments:

Sabiriyah Upper Burgan reservoir is a highly heterogeneous reservoir. Based on the understanding and insights emanating
from the historical performance and numerous Geo- Engineering studies, the reservoir can be broken into segments with a
separate prescription for each of the segments, as shown in the figure below and pressure map at annexure-1:

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Integrated Reservoir Management
Approach
Crestal segment Northern Segment Southern segment NW/SE segment
Focus on Water Inj.
Surveillance / Continuous monitoring
Add Injection,
if viable
Stay +200 psia
above BPP
Production control
As per Reservoir
pressure
Look for completion
In different layers
uniquely
Poorer oil quality
Rod pumps/ GL
Workovers in
wet sands
Continue drilling cum production till 2010-11.


In order to implement the recommendation, a team approach was adopted in which groups associated with studies,
reservoir monitoring and analysis as well as operational wings, were made fully aware of the impacts and implications of the
innovative approach through regular meeting, discussion sessions and presentations on pros & cons. The figure below
illustrates the umbrella of the UB-IRM:



Integrated Reservoir
Management Approach
Crestal segment
Northern Segment
Southern segment
NW/SE segment
Drilling/Work over teams
Mauddud/ Lower Burgan
sub teams - Sharing the
opportunity
Implementer/ work
Over coordinator-
Link for operations
Value
addition
Prodn. Operations team
Support for W/PM
UBIRM
UB sub team
Accountable group
Budgeting & planning
Contractors
WS team
BP Advisors/
Peers
Management
approvals



As a result of the implementation of the new approach, production re-distribution could be achieved, successfully meeting
both the objectives, meeting the targets as well as staying above the bubble point pressure, despite inordinate delays in water
injection facilities. The following figure depicts the production re-distribution spectrum:
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Crestal segment
Southern segment
Northern Segment
NW/SE segment
Production contribution
Before
Re-distribution of production
as per UB IRM ( 2006-10)
65% 25%
45% 30%
4% 15%
15% 1%
Segments
UB-IRM : Production re-
distribution

The innovative approach has already started showing the benefits. Production has been enhanced staying above Bubble
point pressure. Water cut has been managed to low level (by rationalizing Production/ injection allowable). Water flood
Response on well rates visible already at crestal part by limited water injection. The target as per the Asset Action Plan for
the reservoir is about 15-20 mbopd till 2012, but IRM helped the team to produce at a rate as high as twice, as shown in the
figure below:

SA UB Production Trend
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Prod. Rate Target

Steps leading to the successful venture to have the bonanza of enhanced production with low water cut are as mentioned
below:

Studied the injectors and diagnosed the reasons for poor Injectivity.
SPE 111472 7
Injectors decided to be put online
SA-AI : tried proppant frac and achieved desirable injection rates
SA-BI : Excellent channel at the crest; Achieved best Injectivity in UB so far
Monitored the reservoir pressure and injection well performance continuously with a TEAM APPROACH.
Crestal reservoir pressure enhanced by 200 to 400 psia the prior decision of cutting crestal production was
withdrawn.
In order to delay the water breakthrough and thus accelerate water cut, review & revise the injection allowables
every month based on pressure-production performance data
Identified the segments receiving aquifer support
Carried out well performance review and beaned up potential wells
Planned for Rod pump trial in two wells
Released new wells for drilling
Optimize well utility in southern segment ( with no historical off take and still at high pressure)
Used MA/LB wells, penetrating through good channel sands in UB for short term production
Released new wells for drilling
Enhanced surveillance to monitor reservoir pressure in above segments
Identified the wells which have potential as intermittent producers and opened these periodically for bonus oil (
specially wells having mild aquifer support)
Prioritized the flow line connection for new wells based on reservoir pressure and well productivity
Conducted well reviews with integrated team approach for planning & prioritizing:
Rigless operations
Rig work over jobs
Prioritized GL candidates based on reservoir pressure
Improved communication with the operational teams and contractors

IRM Impact on overall Development Strategy:
IRM approach led to the recommendation that the development plan should be phased based on the following strategies:

Short Term Strategies (2007 to 2010) :
The crestal area of the Sabiriyah Upper Burgan has been drained in the historical life of the filed. As a result, the reservoir
pressure has declined to 2600 psi, (close to the bubble point). This will ideally be re-pressurized to the pressure of the flank
areas, i.e. 3200 psi, if this can be achieved without compromising production targets. Unfortunately, additional water
injection will not be available till 2010, which means that the offtake from this portion has to be restricted. The plan during
this period is to:-

Restrict the offtake from the low-pressure area, aligned with the limited water injection options available, to prevent
the development of a secondary gas cap in these layers (the reservoir pressure in these sands is at or close to the
saturation pressure.).
Target the dry oil segment production, with keeping the pressure above the bubble point by ~200 700psi.. In
addition, increase production from those layers, which have additional well and reservoir potential, i.e. UB
2
, UB
3

and UB
5
, where the saturation pressure is significantly higher than the reservoir pressure and additional well
potential exists.
Continue to evaluate the water flood performance of the segments in crestal area and integrate with the overall
development activities.
Place the new development wells in areas with high reservoir pressures (Southern & Northern segments).
Take advantage of the aquifer supported segment in western flank and increase offtake using pumps & Gas lift.
Map the channels, reduce the sub surface uncertainty and re build the static/ dynamic model
Continue efforts to evaluate the Injectivity performance and identify ways and means to improve it will be continued
during the period.
Implement the highest degree of reservoir surveillance and management to reduce reservoir uncertainties.

Medium Term Strategies (2010 to 2012):
Details are to be confirmed based on early results of short-term plan, and reservoir performance results.
Upside contingency plan (if the reservoir performs better than expected), drill additional producers, utilize the
enhanced surface facilities such as the new Gathering Center & Water Injection plant).
Downside contingency plan (if reservoir performs poorer than expected), diagnose the problems, investigate
feasibility of aggressive efforts for ESP/GL, including stimulation techniques so as sustain the target rates.
Continue the highest degree of reservoir surveillance and management.

Long Term Strategies (Post 2012):
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It is anticipated that the development plan will continue to be depletion with water flooding with a combination of pattern/
peripheral/ irregular pattern as per the channel distribution. However, experience from short and medium term will indicate
the need for any change in strategy. Surveillance and new well data obtained during the early development phases will
provide the inputs based the need for change will be reviewed. Implementation action for achieiving the highest degree of
reservoir surveillance and management to reduce reservoir uncertainties, need to be continuously focused.

Conclusions & Recommendations
The IRM approach has paid rich dividends for the following:
Focus on each reservoir segment with unique prescription for each segment
Beat the production targets by production re-distribution
Nullify the impact of delay in model update and full fledged water injection plan
Align the ongoing activities with the short/ ling term goals for field development plans
Advocate the highest degree of reservoir monitoring & analysis with aggressive surveillance activities
Update the reservoir models to incorporate the reservoir heterogeneity

Acknowledgement
The authors express sincere thanks to all team members for sagacious discussions and feedback on UB IRM. Special
thanks and gratitude to KOC management and Ministry of Oil, Kuwait for permitting this paper for sharing with international
community.

Nomenclature

KOC Kuwait Oil Company
WS Well Surveillance
GL Gas Lift
BPP Bubble point pressure
NW North West
SE South east
W/PM Well/ Production management
UB Upper Burgan
BP British Petroleum
OOWC Original Oil-Water Contact

References:

1. KOC-BP UB Reservoir Plan 1998
2. KOC UB reservoir management & Development Plan, 2003
3. Chetri, H.B. el al. Water flooding a heterogeneous Clastic Upper Burgan reservoir in North Kuwait tackling the
reservoir management and Injectivity challenges; Paper SPE 93548 presented at 14
th
SPE Middle East Oil show and
Conference, March 12-15, 2005, Bahrain
4. KOC report on Static model update, 2006
5. KOC SA UB Material Balance Study for short term production forecasting, August 2007

















SPE 111472 9






Annexure-1: Sabiriyah Upper Burgan Pressure map with IRM segments
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