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Applications of intelligent wells

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Since the inception of the technology in the late 1990s, the use of intelligent well technology has focused on production acceleration, increased ultimate recovery, reduced operating expenditure (opex) and reduced project level capital expenditure (capex). The following examples illustrate applications in which this technology has been deployed.

Examples of regional use of intelligent wells

West Africa

  • Expectation of improved full life project economics.
  • Water/Gas Shut off
  • Simultaneous/Commingled Production
  • Avoiding future uphole recompletions

Middle East

  • Offshore due to space limitation on platforms.
  • Very heterogeneous reservoirs.
  • High reservoir pressure ranges.
  • Presence of fractures and different permeability zones.


  • Multilateral branch control
  • Gas management of gas cap influx
  • Donwhole gaslift
  • Zonal control and data acquisition from the individual zones
  • Interventionless well work to control water and gas influx


  • Multilateral branch control
  • Production optimization
  • Avoiding future uphole recompletions


  • Water shut-off (reduce OPEX)
  • Scale mitigation
  • Enables monitoring of inflow performance

Applications of intelligent wells

Offshore Nigeria

Reservoir parameters

  • Varying properties of zones necessitated use of intelligent well completions in Agbami field (rates, pressure, densities, permeabilities, porosities, etc.).
  • Prudent reservoir management – acquisition of zonal data for proper reservoir modeling. Potential reserves can be lost due to lack of data without intelligent well technology.
  • Infill drilling (Value of information) – history matching, allocation of production between lobes to identify by passed oil and justify infill drilling.

Value and evaluation

  • OPEX reduction – elevation of production logs saves OPEX/CAPEX
  • CAPEX – no intervention, no production logs, spread out in the life of the field
  • Decision Tree Analysis – used to justify to management how well economics improves NPV
  • Direct incremental gains from intelligent completions when compared to conventional wells.

Application details

  • Direct hydraulic flow control valves are used to choke back zones with unwanted gas and water production and increase production from other zones.

Saudi Arabia

Using optimization, the strong lateral is restricted and more chance is giving for the weak one. This cannot be obtained without a downhole valve and surface control in addition to modeling.

Reservoir parameters

  • Very heterogeneous reservoir.
  • Little known information about the reservoir.
  • Trilateral well, each lateral has different reservoir parameters

Application details

  • Installed flow control valves at all laterals.
  • Utilized geology and geoscientists' analysis resulting in finding a fracture in one lateral.
  • Tested flow control valves with different choke settings. These iterations (trial and error) were used to finally come up with best choke settings in two weeks.
  • Optimization cycles for choke positions were conducted whenever water incursion shows up.


  • 6 MBD was produced for 1.5 year. After six years of production the well was still producing with no water production.
  • Intelligent well technology introduced optimization for the number of wells drilled for cost reduction.
  • The intelligent well production allocation and monitoring can be achieved through the use of the flow control valves in conjunction with permanent monitoring solutions such as DTS and downhole pressure/temperature gauges.


Objective Achieve production increase based on DTS analysis.

Case ACG field, Azerbaijan


  • No chance for simultaneous production logging and drilling for ACG platforms.
  • PLT delays installed production capacity by increasing non-drilling time while DTS installation acquires information continuously and data is ready instantly without influence on drilling.


  • DTS used for tracing temperature data vs time and vs depth to find interaction between wells and changes in production zonal split.
  • Well integrity (Identification of downhole leaks).
  • Same fiber optic line is used with a different surface unit to measure the vibration to sense high production sand.
  • Production zonal allocation.
  • Change in trace can be an indication of water invaded zone and well interaction.


  • DTS allowed detection of injection growing upwards through a fracture.
  • DTS detects cross flow of shallow gas after shutting the well by monitoring temperature trace change.
  • DTS is implied in gas lift design as alternative to PLT. It helped calculate different zones contribution and allowed the identification of water bearing zones and using a model is was allocated properly. Gas lift design became more accurate and hence valid for different flow conditions. Another optimization for fiber optic line:


  • Distributed Vibration Sensors (DVS) useful to bean up to maximum sand-free condition.
  • Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) and PFO improved understanding of zonal conformance which helped increase injection rate
  • DTS helped restart a well without compromising its integrity.


Reservoir parameters

  • Long horizontal sections with gas and water coning
  • Thin oil rim requires precise reservoir management

Value and evaluation

  • 4D seismic used to manage the reservoir and identify infill drilling location
  • Marginal GOR field management

Application details

  • Multiple technologies used to maximize oil and minimize gas production.


Reservoir parameters

  • Heterolithic reservoir – permeability/porosity, internal flow barriers, high permeability channel sands
  • Low viscosity
  • Low pressure

Value and evaluation

  • Production optimization
  • Data acquisition
  • Reservoir management

Application Details

  • Flow control valves with choking capability
  • Pressure/temperature sensors outside casing for zonal isolation
  • Pressure/temperature sensors outside tubing for zonal contribution


Reservoir parameters

  • High permeability
  • High scaling
  • High uncertainty due to limited appraisal

Value and evaluation

  • Production optimization
  • Reservoir Management

Application details

  • Flow control valves with choking capability
  • Flow control valves tolerance to scale
  • Pressure/temperature sensors outside tubing for zonal contribution


Reservoir parameters

  • Unconsolidated sands
  • Multiple zones with anticipated water breakthrough

Value and evaluation

  • Costly well intervention
  • Increase recovery factor over conventional completion
  • Rservoir management

Application details

  • 6 zone flow control valves with dual gauges per zone
  • Stacked frac pack assemblies with intelligent completions concentric to frac pack


Noteworthy papers in OnePetro

Bixenman, P.W., Toffanin, E.P., and Salam, M.A. 2001. Design and Deployment of an Intelligent Completion with Sand Control. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, 30 September–3 October. SPE-71674-MS.

Erlandsen, S.M. 2000. Production Experience From Smart Wells in the Oseberg Field. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 1–4 October. SPE-62953-MS.

External links

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See also

Intelligent wells