Formate brines have been in use since 1995 as non-damaging drill-in and completion fluids for deep HPHT gas condensate field developments. The number of HPHT fields developed using formate brines now totals more than 40, and includes some of the deepest, hottest and highly-pressured reservoirs in the North Sea. The well completions have been both open-hole and cased-hole.
An expectation from using formate brines as reservoir drill-in and completion fluids is that they will cause minimal damage to the reservoir and help wells to deliver their full productive potential over the life-time of the field. The validity of this expectation has been tested by examining the long-term hydrocarbon production profiles of eight HPHT gas condensate fields in the North Sea where only formate brines have been used as the well completion fluids. In five of these fields the wells were drilled with oil-based muds and completed by perforating in cased hole with high-density formate brines. In another two of the fields the wells were drilled with formate brines and completed with screens entirely in open hole using the same brines. The last of the eight fields was drilled with formate brine and the wells were then completed with same fluid in either open hole or cased hole.
The results of the production analysis provide a unique insight into the impact of a single type of specialist drill-in and completion fluid on the rate of recovery of hydrocarbon reserves from deeply-buried reservoirs in the North Sea.