As a critical sand component of many high value wells, openhole gravel packing provides a very successful option in obtaining an excellent, high-productivity, sand free completion. However, openhole completions often involve unfamiliar selection criteria and procedures versus the more routinely applied cased hole completions. While there are numerous components that feed into a successful gravel pack, some have a more significant impact on success than others. This presentation will highlight those specific components: from the initial data gathering up to the screen selection and fluids displacements. Important topics for discussion include proper openhole displacement practices, gravel pack technique selection, and problems that may arise in an openhole grave pack completion. Specific global case histories, in both deep and shallow water completions, will be used to illustrate some of the major pitfalls that may be encountered. These case histories include examples from both alpha beta and shunt gravel packing along with cases where execution issues resulted in complete sand control failure due to incomplete packs. These incomplete packs were caused by a variety of design/execution problems including: screen plugging, early screenout, and poor fluid quality control. Proven strategies for avoiding these catastrophic failures will be presented along with the case histories.
Ray Tibbles is currently a US based Technical Advisor with DuneFront Limited. His 35 years of experience in sand control and hydraulic fracturing evolved from an enjoyable and long career with Schlumberger and, more recently, with Cairn India in: field operations, engineering, marketing, and technical support roles across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. During his 30 years as an active SPE member, Ray is proud to have been a Distinguished Lecturer, a Distinguished Member and co-chair in numerous SPE workshops and forums. With 20+ technical publications and 12 patents, he continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of the SPE in all areas. Ray holds a bachelor of science degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. He and his wife have thoroughly enjoyed an array of life experiences living abroad and now continue to enjoy travel, hiking, cycling, kayaking and community service in the Pacific Northwest.