AAPG/SPE Africa Energy and Technology Conference

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High Expansion Technology Opens the Way for Enhanced Recovery

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to examine the recent improvements in High Expansion packer and plug design, while minimizing packer element extrusion. Changes that provide operators with more intervention options at reduced risk. For thirty or more years, extrusion gap has been controlled primarily by the use of a “Gauge Ring” as a packer back up. While successful, this approach dictates a large OD packer or plug to minimize extrusion gap. As our industry has developed more tortuous wellbore geometry, large ODs have led to running and pulling problems. These designs have also prevented many operators from recovering failed zones. Water encroachment, gas migration and failed sand screens have often been dealt with by re-completion. Options were limited to inflatable systems, long elastomer or umbrella-type plugs. Horizontal completions further reduced that to only Inflatable solutions, due to umbrella systems dependency on cement. Recent developments in High Expansion products have opened up new opportunities to recover from these types of problems. High expansion elastomers and new design packer back-up systems allow for actual V-Rated packer, plug and straddle systems. With this benefit comes the added value of a retrievable system.