Reduction of the horizontal well's heel-toe effect with inflow control devices

V. M. Birchenko, K. M. Muradov, D. R. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The specific inflow rate of fluid into a horizontal well normally varies along the well's completion length due to either frictional pressure losses (the heel-toe effect) or reservoir permeability heterogeneity. Such variations usually negatively affect the oil sweep efficiency and the ultimate recovery. Inflow control devices (ICDs) are a mature well completion technology that provides a more uniform inflow profile by exerting a greater restriction on high specific inflow rate zones. This paper discusses a new method to quantify the reduction of inflow imbalance caused by the frictional pressure loss along a horizontal completion in a homogeneous reservoir. We derive the equation describing this phenomenon and propose two solutions: an analytical approximation and a more precise numerical solution. The trade-off between well productivity and inflow equalisation is a key engineering issue when applying ICD technology. Our solutions quantitatively address this issue. Their practical utility is illustrated through a real field case study. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Equalisation
  • Horizontal wells
  • ICD
  • Inflow control devices


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