Ultralightweight Proppants: An Effective Approach To Address Problems in Long Horizontal Gravel Packs Offshore Brazil
- Abrahao T. Jardim Neto (Baker Hughes) | Fernando Gaspar M. Prata (Baker Hughes) | Julio Gomez (Baker Hughes) | Carlos A. Pedroso (Petrobras) | Marcio Martins (Petrobras) | Dayana N. Silva (Petrobras)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- December 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 613 - 624
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation
- 5 in the last 30 days
- 547 since 2007
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Operators developing reservoirs and producing them from deep and ultradeepwater wells are pushing the technical limits regarding horizontal extension. Deepwater wells completed in unconsolidated formations usually have low fracture gradients, severe leakoff zones, and/or significant washouts. Long horizontal open holes, therefore, may become technically difficult or economically unfeasible to gravel-pack with the use of conventional fluids and gravels. Typical completions in offshore Brazil start from a 95=8- or 103=4-in. casing, in which a 51=2-in. premium screen and tubular string is hung along an open hole drilled with an 81=2- or 91=2-in. bit. Horizontal extensions range from 980 to 4,000 ft. A variety of openhole gravel-pack techniques proved to be complex and costly, but ultralightweight (ULW) proppants have enabled simpler and more-cost-effective gravel packing in these longer horizontal open holes. The reduced gravel density allows a significant reduction in pumping rate that avoids fracturing the formation, minimizes fluid loss, and eliminates the risk of premature screenout caused by excessive gravel settling. ULW-proppant technology was introduced to Brazil in 2005 and has been applied successfully to gravel pack wells under extreme conditions such as low fracture gradient, severe fluid loss, and washed-out zones. ProppantULW-1.25 has proved to be effective for packing wells with narrow sections through the openhole interval, frequently found in horizontal wells completed through shale zones that are isolated by reactive packers and/or mechanical external casing packers. ULW-1.75 was introduced in Brazil in 2007 and has largely replaced ULW-1.25 for gravel packing wells in which an improvement in the operational pumping window is required. A combined package comprising ULW-1.75 during the alpha-wave phase and ULW-1.25 during the beta-wave phase is also discussed. This paper summarizes the procedures and results of almost 60 wells that have been gravel packed with the use of ULW-proppant technology pumped for a local operator.
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