As the oil and gas industry moves toward drilling ultra-deep, high-pressure wells with more challenging completions, emerging technologies will be required to increase the reliability of current sand control products and methodologies. Investigations in sand control and particle retention have led to the development of several different design methodologies. Gravel packing is one technology used in many openhole wells today. When gravel is pumped downhole, an understanding of the particle packing around the screen helps determine theoretical porosities. Because there is no way to determine the particle packing of a gravel screen, a combination of cubic and rhombohedral packing is estimated to provide pore throats with a maximum diameter that ranges from 24% to 30% of the median grain size used within the gravel screen. When investigating the effectiveness of gravel-packed screens, the overall permeability of the gravel pack and screen must be 25 times that of the permeability of the formation1 . The data shows this would maintain an increase in relative production and emulate a screen with infinite permeability. The development of a high-strength bonded bead matrix (BBM) is one such technology that incorporates the sand control efficiency of a gravel pack into a metallic sand control media. The BBM has a high unconfined compressive strength (UCS), is corrosion resistant, erosion resistant, and can have its geometry tailored to fit each application with engineered pore sizes. The BBM is a rigid pack of spheres that provides permeability between 100 and 1500 Darcy while allowing the production of fines smaller than 43µm to prevent plugging. Due to its high resistance to erosion and corrosion, the BBM is suitable for harsh environments, acid treatments, as well as injector and producer wells. In addition, the BBM is integrated into the base pipe wall, allowing a larger bore and a higher pressure alternative to conventional screens. This bonded bead screen (BBS) can be run with a frac sleeve or other monobore multi-zone systems. It can also be drilled in hole with a casing bit system or steerable drilling liner assembly to prevent a separate screen run, further limiting operational costs that can be crucial to limiting non-productive time as well. This paper outlines the development of this sand control technology and discusses the inclusion and functionality of the BBM within many applications.

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