Coiled tubing (CT) is widely used during sand cleanout applications for its multiple benefits, such as speed, cost effectiveness, minimum reaction time, efficient operations, the ability to perform live intervention cleanouts, etc. However, these benefits are difficult to achieve in complex, offshore, high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT), or big bore wells because of various operational constraints, such as weight, dimensions, wellbore trajectory, and completion design, resulting in increased expenditures and operation time for workover activities.

This paper describes how these constraints were eliminated using a synergy of an innovative fluid system and engineering to perform a challenging, balanced sand cleanout treatment using 1.75-in. 5800 m long CT in ~500 m of a 7-in. 35-lbf casing section executed in a 5300-m deep HP/HT well.

The deep HP/HT well had a minimum restriction of 2.56-in. in the upper completion limits, requiring large-diameter CT strings and a bottomhole assembly (BHA). Feasibility studies for use of a 1.75-in. CT vs. 2-in. CT string were performed, resulting in the selection of the 1.75-in. string. Another challenge was executing sand cleanout in a balanced condition, resulting in the selection of a saturated 13.1-lbm/gal potassium-formate (K-formate) brine. The combination of all three major constraints, a) 500-m long 7-in. section, b) use of 1.75-in. CT string, and c) use of saturated brine, made the cleanout design challenging, as sand cleanout with CT requires circulation rates, net particle rise velocity, friction pressures, viscosity, and fluid properties within the design envelope. However, the inversely proportional nature of such treatments means tuning of one property would decrease the operational feasibility of other properties.

Based on results of several tests, a customized fluid recipe was designed containing a gelling agent that can become hydrated in saturated brine and remain stable at high temperatures. A compatible friction reducing agent was used to help reduce pumping friction to attain the desired annular fluid rate and velocity. A field test was performed with the designed fluid at surface with a CT string that was to be used for operations, confirming the effectiveness of the fluid recipe.

Using downhole turbulence created by the tool, along with the custom-designed recipe in combination with wiper trips, the necessary design parameters were achieved for the cleanout operation, resulting in a) effective sand cleanout with ~98% efficiency, b) reduced operating hours, c) cost savings on workover operations, d) safer operation by keeping the well in a balanced condition, and e) a contingency action in place for screenout during fracturing treatments.

The procedure described in this paper, along with lesson learned, can be applied in similar applications to help optimize results and overcome related challenges.

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