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Technical Paper: Gravel Packing Long Openhole Intervals With Viscous Fluids Utilizing High Gravel Concentrations: Toe-to-Heel Packing Without the Need for Alternate Flow Paths

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 121912
Presentation Date: 2009
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Abstract

Openhole gravel packing is one of the most popular offshore completion techniques because of its reliability and ability to deliver high-productivity wells. Two techniques are commonly used for gravel placement: One uses low-viscosity carrier fluids and low gravel concentration and the other uses a viscous carrier fluid and high concentrations of gravel in conjunction with screens for alternative flow paths that mitigate problems caused by unpredicted events.

Authors present a new approach for gravel packing long, high-angle openhole intervals that eliminates the need for these screens but retains the advantages of high gravel concentration. Two India case histories demonstrate results: Gas wells were drilled with an oil-based drilling fluid and gravel packed with a viscous water-based fluid. The packing mechanisms and efficiencies were verified with downhole gauge analysis and mass balance calculations. Both wells produce sand-free at levels that meet or exceed expectations, with zero mechanical and extremely low-rate dependent skins.

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