In the last three years, openhole horizontal gravel packs have been used extensively in Brunei Shell Petroleum as a sand control method in horizontal wells. Several reasons contributed to the wide application of this completion method. First, production data indicated that horizontal openhole reservoir sections completed with stand-alone screens showed productivity decline possibly caused by screen plugging. Second, gravel packing increases the inflow area and moves damage away from the screen, thus delaying or minimising screen plugging. Third, being an openhole completion a horizontal openhole gravel pack gives a lower skin than a cased-hole completion.
To date, Brunei Shell Petroleum has successfully installed twenty-one horizontal openhole gravel packs with lengths ranging from 100 m to over 1000 m. The unique challenges for horizontal gravel packing in Brunei reservoirs include shallow true vertical depth, long horizontal lengths up to over 1000 m, hole sizes ranging from 6" to 9-7/8", and well paths that crossed faults and long shale sections. Current production from the wells completed with openhole gravel packs accounts for some 18% of Brunei Shell's total oil production.