Experimental and Theoretical Simulation of Gravel-Pack Displacement in Extended Horizontal-Offshore Wells
- A.L. Martins (Petrobras S.A.) | J.V.M. de Magalhães (Petrobras S.A.) | A. Calderon (Petrobras S.A.) | S.P. Mathis (Baker Oil Tools) | C. Trujillo (Baker Oil Tools) | H.T. Nguyen (Baker Hughes Inteq)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- June 2005
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 141 - 146
- 2005. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.7.7 Cuttings Transport, 1.7 Pressure Management, 2 Well Completion, 1.6.1 Drilling Operation Management, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 2.4.6 Frac and Pack, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.7.5 Well Control, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 1.8 Formation Damage, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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This article presents the development of a computational tool to guidehorizontal gravel-pack design for long horizontal offshore wells. Mechanisticmodel hypotheses, experimentation at a large-scale flow loop, and softwaredevelopment are detailed. The computer simulation results are then comparedwith field data collected in the Campos basin operations, offshore Brazil. Adiscussion on design alternatives for a long horizontal well at lowfracture-gradient formations is presented. This discussion includes asensibility analysis on screen eccentricity, open and closed blowout-preventer(BOP) configurations, and alpha (alone) vs. alpha plus beta wave displacementoptions.
Gravel packing is, today, the most frequently applied sand-control techniquein the Campos basin. Because of the critical conditions, such as the deep andultradeep water and low fracture gradients, a lot of precision is required toensure gravel-packing success. Most models available in the industry forhorizontal gravel-pack design are essentially empirical, resulting in imprecisepredictions for extrapolated conditions.
The new scenario for offshore development in Brazil includes heavy-oilfields in deep waters in which 2000-m horizontal sections are required. Becauseof the nonconsolidated formations found, sand-control options are a majorissue, and gravel packing is a strong candidate for sand control, ifpressure-loss issues can be overcome.
These aspects were the main motivators for a research project that includedtheoretical and experimental developments. A mechanistic model to describe thewhole operation, including sand injection and alpha/beta waves propagation,fluid leakage, multizonal isolation, and beta wave pressure-reductionoptimization, was developed.The main core of the model—aiming thedefinition of alpha wave height—is based on a two-layer model approach.Initially developed for hydrotransport applications, this kind of model hasbeen adapted by several authors for drilled-cuttings transport analysis. Thereis a consensus among design and operation engineers that physically basedsoftware is a necessary rigsite tool for determining operational parameters,especially when last-minute data have to be considered.
Several authors present experimental results of horizontal gravel packingperformed in test facilities.1-3 In the present study, 15 runs on afull-scale displacement loop in which the effects of pipe eccentricity,particle diameter, particle shape, fluid flow rate, and return flow rate couldbe quantified. The results enabled the adjustment of fundamental coefficientsin the mechanistic model.
The proposed model consists of the following steps: pressure propagationduring string injection, alpha wave height prediction, and pressure propagationduring alpha/beta wave deposition. A brief description of the physics involvedin each step follows, while the formulation and more details are highlighted inMartins et al.4
|File Size||691 KB||Number of Pages||6|
1. Forrest, J.K.: "HorizontalGravel-Packing Studies in a Full-Scale Model Wellbore," paper SPE 20681presented at the 1990 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, NewOrleans, 23-26 September 1990.
2. Penberthy, W.L., Bickhan, K.L., and Nguyen, H.T.: "Gravel Placement in HorizontalWells," paper SPE 31147 presented at the 1996 SPE International Symposiumon Formation Damage Control held in Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.A., 14-15February.
3. Sanders, M.W. et al.: "Gravel-Pack Designs of HighlyDeviated Wells with an Alternative Flow-Path Concept," paper SPE 73743presented at the 2002 SPE International Symposium and Exhibition on FormationDamage Control, Lafayette, Louisiana, 20-21 February 2002.
4. Martins, A.L. et al.: "AMechanistic Model for Horizontal Gravel-Pack Displacement," paper SPE 82247presented at the 2003 SPE Europe Formation Damage Conference, The Hague, 13-14May.
5. Martins, A.L.: "Modeling and Simulations of the Axial Annular Flow ofSolid Non-Newtonian Fluid Mixtures in Inclined Horizontal Ducts," MS thesis, U.of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil (1990).
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