Design Methodology for Selection of Horizontal Openhole Sand-Control Completions Supported by Field Case Histories
- C. Price-Smith (Schlumberger) | M. Parlar (Schlumberger) | C. Bennett (BP plc) | J.M. Gilchrist (BP plc) | E. Pitoni (ENIAgip) | R.C. Burton (ConocoPhillips) | R.M. Hodge (ConocoPhillips) | J. Troncoso (Repsol-YPF) | S.A. Ali (ChevronTexaco) | R. Dickerson (ChevronTexaco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- September 2003
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 235 - 255
- 2003. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.4.4 Screen Selection, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 2.4.6 Frac and Pack, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2 Well completion, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 3.3.1 Production Logging, 7.2.1 Risk, Uncertainty and Risk Assessment, 2.7.1 Completion Fluids, 3.1.2 Electric Submersible Pumps, 3.1 Artificial Lift Systems, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 4.6.2 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), 2.2.2 Perforating, 1.8 Formation Damage, 3.2.5 Produced Sand / Solids Management and Control, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2.1.7 Deepwater Completions Design, 1.4.3 Torque and drag analysis, 5.6.9 Production Forecasting, 4.6 Natural Gas, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 3 Production and Well Operations
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Reservoirs requiring sand control pose a major challenge for selecting a suitable completion method. Horizontal openhole completions have been successfully used in such reservoirs to eliminate sand production while maximizing productivity/injec- tivity and well deliverability throughout the expected life of the completion and minimizing risk and complexity.
Although horizontal, openhole, sand-control completions, ranging from preperforated/slotted liners to gravel packs, have been applied widely in the last decade and many case histories have been discussed in the literature, a systematic methodology for selecting these completion methods remains to be documented. It is the objective of this paper to propose such a design methodology by unifying the broad experience and understanding from a global, technically integrated perspective.
The paper first discusses a generalized and unified methodology for determining when to install sand control, what to install for sand control, and how to install it in horizontal openhole completions. Specific factors recognized as affecting "when" are in-situ stresses, pore-pressure decline (sand prediction), expected well life, production rate, hydrocarbon and well type, gross product value, sand tolerance capacity, environmental limitations, and intervention capabilities, while the integration of all these factors has an impact on the overall risk analysis. In addition to many of the previous factors, critical drivers affecting "what" are identified as wellbore architecture, reservoir lithology and petrophysical properties, and sandface equipment reliability. Additional parameters impacting "how" are reservoir drilling fluid, displacement and cleanup methodology, screen type, operational implementation/assurance (risk management, operational timing, and location logistics), torque and drag analysis, and gravel-placement simulations.
Secondly, examples of this methodology are presented in detailed case histories pertaining to different types of horizontal, openhole, sandface completions, including slotted liners, stand-alone screens (including expandable), and gravel packs, as well as various integrated cleanup methods, along with a summary of the lessons learned by each company.
Horizontal openhole completions have been widely used in the oil and gas industry for effectively exploiting hydrocarbon reserves in both sandstone and carbonate formations during the last 2 decades. In sandstones, a major issue has been whether sand control is required during the life of a particular well, and if so, what technique to use to minimize overall completion and remediation costs, thus increasing profitability.
Most recently, Bennett1 has developed a crossplot (see Fig. 1) that looks at the likelihood of wellbore failure with respect to formation quality and has used this to provide guidelines as to sandface completion methodology based on experiences gained in North Sea and Gulf of Mexico wells.
Earlier, others2 developed a questionnaire-based approach for pooling industry experience and providing a database of events from which to learn and share. Unfortunately, because of the anecdotal emphasis this encouraged, little remains or has been developed since, especially in light of the fact that the industry's pace of technological development and understanding has once again accelerated in the last 3 to 4 years.
While we see that a tremendous level of expertise and experience has been gained and although a large number of horizontal-well applications in sandstone formations and numerous publications exist, a well-defined set of guidelines for selecting the most suitable sand-control technique in openhole horizontal wells has not been published to date. It is, therefore, the objective of this paper to provide a unified set of guidelines based on five operators' and a completion service provider's experience and engineering expertise.
The paper is organized as follows. First, we discuss the sand-prediction methodology that should be used to determine whether sand control is prescribed, and if so, when in the life of the well/reservoir it would be required. Once it is established that sand control is needed, the next step is to decide between gravel packing (GP) and stand-alone screens (SAS), for which we offer criteria based on current field experience, knowledge, and experimental data.3 For GP, the next step is selecting between two methodology techniques used in openhole horizontal wells - water and shunt packing. This is then followed by screen selection for the respective techniques (i.e., water-packing, shunt-packing, and SAS completions). Numerous case histories, both successes and failures, are given to support the selection methodology. Finally, suggestions for future work are made and conclusions are drawn.
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