An operator on the Norwegian Continental Shelf was confronted with declining production of hydrocarbons, making a particular well no longer profitable. The typical solution for this issue is to sidetrack and recomplete, however, this method is both time-consuming and costly.

The existing completion of the well included multiple sand screens, where production of hydrocarbons was achieved through a single narrow nozzle for each screen. It was believed that these nozzles were fully blocked by scale and/or sand, and a potential solution was to punch or perforate the basepipe. However, any accidental puncturing of the screens would open the door to the possibility of increased sand production and would eventually kill the well. The only acceptable tolerance for penetration depth was 1.75 mm (0.0689″).

Explosives were ruled out as an option due to the lack of control over penetration depth, as well as the irregular shape of the holes that would be produced. Instead, an electrical-mechanical punching tool was chosen as the preferred solution. This tool was chosen for its precision and control of penetration depth, as well as the uniform shape of the machined holes.

Following the operator's assessment of production logging tool data, it was decided to create five holes at every 60° increment in the two deepest sand screens to increase the flow area through the screen. Precision and control of penetration depth were of the utmost importance. The remaining sand screens in the well were isolated by a straddle to prevent excessive gas production.

The intervention was completed in December 2020, with both of the targeted sand screens punched in one run utilizing a combination of an electrical-mechanical punching tool and a mechanical rotational sub to ensure correct tool orientation. As of the beginning of June, 2023, the operator has kept the well in production due to the significant shift in hydrocarbon production rates.

This study presents an innovative and cost-effective solution that eliminated the need for a costly workover recompletion operation and, prevented the potential failure of the well. By implementing the electrical-mechanical punching tool, the operator was able to remove blockages in the sand screens with precision and control, leading to a substantial increase in hydrocarbon production. This approach offers valuable insights and a viable alternative for addressing declining production in wells with similar completion configurations.

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