During the second quarter of 2002 Petronas Carigali, the State Oil Company of Malaysia, embarked on a campaign to utilize Expandable Sand Screen (ESS®) in unconsolidated multi-zonal sandstone completions in the Baram and Alab fields, offshore Malaysia. The primary objective of the application of ESS® technology was to control sand in conjunction with minimum skin damage without encountering operational problems/constraints which are inherently associated with gravel packing as a means of sand control. A total of five deviated cased holes were equipped with ESS® with mixed results which have been documented in details in a previous publication by the authors (SPE paper # 80449). Further investigation revealed that the wells completed with ESS® have achieved satisfactory improvement in productivity. ESS® technology has now proven to be one of the best available sand control techniques for the Baram field.

This paper will focus on Petronas Carigali’s experience in ESS® technology implemented in a deep horizontal open hole section of a sandy well which is to be equipped with a gravel pack assembly in the upper section inside the cased hole section, thereby providing an excellent source of comparison between the performance of gravel packing and expandable sand screen technology. Installation of ESS® in well BA-47, being the first deep horizontal open hole application in Malaysia, was an operational challenge with a few lessons learnt which may be shared by other operators.

The primary objective of the well has been successfully realized as evidenced by better than expected sand free production. The execution of ESS® installation was successful with some problems encountered while initiating the expansion process. After some modifications on the expansion string and mud/brine system, the expansion process was carried out smoothly.

The secondary objective of the ESS® application was to assess/evaluate the enhancement/impairment of productivity of the well using ESS®, in comparison with the technique of gravel packing. The well is presently in the process of being cleaned up. Preliminary data indicates higher than expected production. PI and PBU tests are planned for the well as soon the well has cleaned up and/or stabilized.

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