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Using Multilateral Wells to Improve Reservoir Production

Multilateral wells improve reservoir production by allowing a single well to extract hydrocarbons from multiple reservoirs. A multilateral well is when several wellbore branches, or laterals, extend from the main borehole, or mother well.

Multilateral wells are used when petroleum reservoirs are located within complex geology, where drilling new wells could be dangerous and uneconomical.

Key fact: The stabilised production rate of multilateral wells is around 2-5 times more than that of vertical wells

Multilateral wells are ranked according to six categories of complexity, known as TAML Levels. These were defined by the Technology Advancement for Multi-Laterals consortium in 1997.

The higher the TAML level, the higher the mechanical and pressure capability of the junction. For example, TAML Level 1 is suitable for wells with an open or uncased junction, while TAML Level 5 includes wells that provide hydraulic isolation at the junction. TAML Level 6 wells have yet to be developed due to their high cost and complexity.

In addition to maximising production, multilateral wells reduce the petroleum industry’s environmental footprint. This is because they require less drilling equipment while covering more area than vertical wells, thereby reducing emissions and improving productivity.

Benefit

  • Lower emissions

  • Increased productivity

  • Less drilling equipment

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