Intelligent wells have become one of the best-in-class practices in the northern fields of Saudi Aramco with 153 intelligent wells equipped with downhole valve systems completed over the past 10 years. Different service suppliers approached the principle of producing through intelligent wells with their unique actuation mechanism and valve design. Therefore, many trail tests and piloting had been carried out prior to the mass installation of any system to ensure its reliability, functionality and operational suitability. Subsequently, the experiences gained from the operation of the installed intelligent wells over the past decade provided a whole new perspective into their operability, applicability and added value. This paper reflects on the experiences gained from the operation and maintenance of the installed intelligent wells through: * Comparison between the performance of different downhole valve’s actuation mechanisms used in the northern fields of Saudi Arabia with provision of their pros and cons. * Identification of their operational impact and suitability for a specific application environment. * Illustration of their components and the overall system’s reliability with logged surface and subsurface failures along with their impact on the well performance. * Suggestions to select the most appropriate intelligent well system to withstand normal as well as harsh environments while serving the production objectives. The paper also provides valuable recommendations to alleviate the operational and maintenance issues often encountered during the actuation of downhole valves.


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