On October 01-05, the team of the Lab for Modeling of Multiphase Systems in Oil&Gas Industry, CHR, Skoltech payed a visit to Yuzhno-Priobskoye field in the vicinity of Khanty-Mansiisk. The visit was arranged by the industrial partner of the Lab: Gazpromneft Science & Technology Center. The operator of the field, LLC “Gazpromneft-Khantos”, greatly supported the visit, helping to identify the best candidates for the well site, particular oilfield services operations to attend, and arranging the health/safety/environment instructions and ground transportation. The team was joined by representatives from academic entities–participants of the CyberFrac consortium (a project aimed at the development of the Russian simulator for design of hydraulic fracturing technology).
Skoltech Lab for Modeling of Multiphase Systems (CHR) was represented by the Lab Head Prof. Andrei A. Osiptsov, Senior Engineer A.L. Vainshtein, and Research Intern R.F. Mutalova. The team had a privilege to attend a variety of oilfield services technologies on the well site, including: multistage hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells, coiled tubing (for well cleanup after fracturing/milling packers/cleaning up the well from proppant particles), workover rig installing an ESP (Electrical Submersible Pump), flowback from the system “horizontal well – multiple fractures” and the well clean-up itself.
“For an applied scientific group like ours, it is extremely important to stay very close to the field, so that our research prototypes of future technology are adequate to the industry needs” – emphasized Prof. Andrei Osiptsov, the Head of Skoltech Lab for Modeling of Multiphase Systems and a former veteran of the leading oilfield service company with 10+ years of industry experience.
On the first day, the visitors received a training in safety and then moved to the well site, where observed multistage fracturing technology executed by international and Russian service vendors supervised by a company representative. A particularly insightful was to talk to field engineers and observe the pumping process, the field data measurements at the Pump Integrity Monitor (wellhead pressure, flow rates), and the procedure of pumping a ball to isolate the current stage and activate the next port when moving to stimulation of the next stage.
In the next few days, the team visited the well with fracturing technology completed, which was opened for flowback and fracture cleanup from fracturing fluid (typically a guar gum gel). Researchers had an opportunity to discuss current technology challenges in setting up the wells for production after fracturing with experts from Gazpromneft-Khantos. Then the team moved to see coiled tubing operations, ESP installation.
“The importance of these visits cannot be exaggerated” noted Albert Vainshtein, senior engineer of the Lab, also having profound international industry experience, including offshore well supervisor position within a major oil company in the Republic of the Congo.
With a lot of interest to big data analytics and machine learning inoil&gas industry inthe recent years, less attention is typically paid a visit to data collection, systematization and cleaning. The team of Skoltech Lab for Modeling of Multiphase Systems is now working on the project aimed at the development of machine learning algorithms for hydraulic fracturing design optimization The team invested a lot of effort into proper collecting the data on hydraulic fracturing (fracturing design, pumping schedule, geology data on the reservoir, and ultimate outcome – production data), and this field visit was a culmination of the entry phase of the project. It helped finalize the mental picture of entire process and identify the paths of data from measurement on the well site through the operator to the office of company’s science & tech center.
The visit presented a great opportunity to identify current technology issues and agree on scientific collaboration to resolve them. One of the outcomes from the visit is an agreement to arrange a joint workshop at Gazpromneft-Khantos on fracturing technology, with discussions on particular technology challenges with particular examples from real field data.
“It was an eye-opening experience that gives a full picture of how the technology rolls out in the field and what are the data sources and data traveling paths from the wellsite to the office, which is very relevant to our project on machine learning for fracturing design optimization. You never know the process until you see it directly on site” – said Renata Mutalova, Skoltech MS student and a research intern of the Lab.
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