In many high-productivity fields, oil recovery has been radically improved through downhole inflow control, initially through passive fixed-geometry Inflow Control Devices (ICDs) and later through Autonomous ICDs (AICDs), which discriminate between wanted and unwanted fluids. There are however challenges with existing technologies:
- ICDs cannot distinguish between wanted and unwanted fluids
- Both ICDs and AICDs restrict oil production due to large pressure drop
- AICDs will not work for reservoir fluids with small viscosity contrasts
- AICDs are sensitive to uncertain variations in reservoir properties
- There are challenges related to mud handling during well clean-up
If these gaps and limitations of existing technologies were sorted out, higher deployment rate of downhole inflow control could be achieved, especially for maximum reservoir contact wells, which typically penetrate several formation layers with large variations in reservoir properties.