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Inflow Control Device (ICD)

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Inflow Control Device (ICD) - a passive (unlike active component ICV) component installed as part of a well completion to help optimize production by equalizing reservoir inflow along the length of the wellbore.


Why do we need ICDs?

One of the main challenges facing production from horizontal wells is an uneven influx along horizontal section due to different drawdown across the wellbore and permeability heterogeneity. As a result horizontal well suffers from early water or gas breakthrough and lower recovery factor of hydrocarbons.

Сompletion without ICD
Сompletion with ICD

To avoid this kind of problems lower completion becomes more reservoir management oriented. In past decade different technologies for downhole flux control have been developed and used to balance influx along horizontal section of well, increase sweep efficiency and enhance oil recovery.

ICDs types

There are conventional Sliding Sleeve, Inflow Control Valves (ICV) and Inflow Control Devices (ICD). To control well with sliding sleeve completion wellbore intervention is required to run shifting tool for sleeve operation. Hydraulically actuated ICV system is operated from surface but it requires multiple control lines and number of valves that can be deployed is limited by available wellhead and packer control line penetration. However, actual production data is required for effective operation of ICV or shifting sleeve completions. To get some reservoir and production data reservoir completion can be incorporated with downhole monitoring system such as pressure and temperature gauges or distributed temperature sensing fiber optical system. ICD is passive system without ability to control from the surface. Based on available input data, once-optimized ICD configuration is designing to improve flow profile and reduce unwanted fluid influx. But, over well life, reservoir conditions and fluid properties change, while passive ICD completion remain static with less effective performance.

To provide more restriction to unwanted fluid along horizontal well, a newly developed autonomous ICD (AICD) has been introduced to the industry. The AICD is designed to work without intervention, and without control lines. The AICD will autonomously create an additional flow restriction to unwanted fluid. The AICD technology is currently in the rapid research and development stage with multiple concepts using different physical phenomena.

Some ideas of AICDs are presented below:

  • Fluid diode type which is directing the different fluids through different paths. Less viscous fluid will choose more longer way to reach exit, facing a higher pressure drop while high viscous oil will flow directly to the exit.
  • Rate controlled production type, where floating disc will alter the flow path geometry when properties of the flowing fluid change, based on Bernoulli’s principle.
  • Chemical Active Material (eg. water swellable rubber) is installed in the ICD part will swell once water breakthrough occurs and flow area will be choked automatically according to the water cut.


Vendor Link
Baker Hughes
Innowell Solutions

ICT Network

The ICT Network has evolved to cover all aspects of conventional passive, active, and autonomous methods of inflow control technologies, and how they can be applied. The forum also considers the use of inflow control technologies in both the producers and injectors of advanced and intelligent well completions to maximise benefits.


Landmark NETool:
Landmark Nexus:
Schlumberger ECLIPSE:


Flow Component Testing from Southwest Research Institute:
The Flow Component Testing Facilities (FCTF) consist of a number of dedicated facilities housed in a single location that are used to perform both standard and custom testing. Services offered at the FCTF include:

  • Gas Flow Testing
  • Safety Valve Testing
  • Gas Lift Testing
  • High Differential Pressure (DP) Multiphase Testing
  • Fugitive Emissions & Cryogenic Testing
  • Flow Coefficient (Cv) Testing
  • Slurry Flow Testing
  • Custom Flow Loop Design
  • Downhole Completion & Subsea Valve Testing

The SwRI FCTF offers standard and specialized testing services to evaluate products such as:

  • Valves
  • Piping
  • Gaskets
  • Downhole & drilling tools
  • Seals
  • Pumps
  • Actuators

Useful links

Webinar (free for SPE members): Understanding Inflow and Injection Control Devices: Using Completion Tools to Manipulate Reservoir Performance:

SPE Completion webinars:

Modelling and Analysis of Autonomous Inflow Control Devices (Norwegian University of Science and Technology):

Numerical Study on Autonomous Inflow Control Devices: Their Performance and Effects on the Production from Horizontal Oil Wells with an Underlying Aquifer (Norwegian University of Science and Technology):

See also

Inflow Control Valve (ICV)

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