Key sandface completion challenges were faced in the selection, design, planning and execution phases of the open-hole horizontal gravel pack completions in the deepwater Stybarrow Field, offshore Western Australia. Only limited technical experience and infrastructure were available in country to support such a complex operation. Additionally, the lateral reservoir quality variations and challenging sand/shale heterogeneities have necessitated an early focus on appropriate reservoir drilling fluid design, detailed sand screen selection, and gravel pack modeling to minimize premature screen out during gravel packing and ensuring minimal formation damage.

This paper documents the multidisciplinary approach that commenced during the field appraisal and data acquisition stages to derive the sand management plan and culminated in the successful implementation of four horizontal open-hole gravel packs. A novel reservoir drilling fluid design, extensive formation damage testing and the selection of the circulating gravel packing technique have led to the successful sand control implementation with pack factors in excess of 100%. Attention to detail during detailed design, extensive contingency planning and diligent execution were major contributing factors in delivering high quality wells capable of producing as per basis of well design proven by early production performance. The Stybarrow Development represents the first successful implementation of horizontal open-hole gravel packing in Australia.

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