This paper describes the development and qualification of an oil-based gravel pack carrier fluid. The fluid is a water-in-oil emulsion prepared with base oil, brine, and emulsifier. Densities up to 13.6 lbm/galUS can be achieved using oil-to-brine ratios between 45:55 and 60:40. This oil-to-brine ratio range is such that the fluid exhibits low viscosity and Newtonian rheology, making it suitable for alpha/beta gravel pack placement. Extensive laboratory testing was performed to characterize fluid properties at various temperatures and oil-to-brine ratios. Performed in 4-in pipe, tests evaluated pressure drops at rates of up to 15 bbl/min, which revealed that the friction pressure generated by this fluid matches established empirical correlations for Newtonian fluids in turbulent flow. Finally, a full-scale yard test was performed to demonstrate that the fluid can be mixed using standard mixing equipment and used to successfully place alpha/beta gravel packs.

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