Bottomhole conditions complicated sand cleanout
A deviated openhole well in Gabon producing 500 bbl/d of oil was shut in
because of excessive sand production. Before performing a sand consolidation
treatment and bringing the well back online, it was necessary to clean out 250
m of sand fill to gain access to the perforations. A number of key challenges
had to be addressed:
- The subhydrostatic well was unable to support a column of conventional cleanout fluid (e.g., a water-based gel), necessitating use of a nitrified or foamed fluid.
- Nitrified fluids would create an underbalanced situation, causing hydrocarbons to flow into the wellbore and increase production of the poorly consolidated sand.
- High permeability increased the likelihood of lost circulation.
- Low annular velocities due to the large (7-in) wellbore further hindered sand removal.
ACTive services provided continuous downhole monitoring with foam
Monitoring downhole pressure in real time throughout the cleanout
operation was critical to maintaining it within the narrow window available for
balanced downhole conditions. Schlumberger proposed using the
fiber-optic-enabled ACTive PTC tool to provide the necessary bottomhole
ACTive Cleanout CT service pumped foam into the treatment area. Foam was
selected because of its excellent sand-carrying capacity even at low annular
velocities, low hydrostatic pressure, and minimal leakoff.
Operator addressed challenges and reduced cleanout time by 60%
Availability of annular bottomhole pressure in real time enabled precise
control of well balance from the surface via pumps and chokes, preventing
hydrocarbon and sand influx and minimizing leakoff into the formation.
Monitoring downhole pressures also helped maintain foam stability by adjusting
liquid and nitrogen pump rates at surface. These measures prevented
contamination of the foam by formation hydrocarbons, preserving its
The ACTive TC CT real-time tension and compression tool run together
with the ACTive PTC tool alerted the CT team when a sand bridge was tagged or
an overpull occurred.
Continuous access to critical downhole data enabled the operator to make
informed decisions— such as how much fluid to circulate or how much of
the 250-m interval to treat at a time—and take corrective actions during
the job that optimized the time and amount of product used to clean out the
sand. As a result, the job was completed in one run with a time savings of 60%
compared with conventional sand cleanout techniques used by the operator in