This paper describes an alternative technology to conventional wire wrapped and prepacked screens. In this new screen, multiple and independent layers of a permeable stainless steel composite material are sandwiched between a perforated base pipe and an external armored cage.
Advantages of this design include:
even extreme mechanical deformations do not affect the screen's sand retention;
an all-metallic construction eliminates the deficiencies common to prepacked screens (loose sand packing, eccentric prepack annulus, chemical incompatibilities with resin coatings, cracking of resin coated prepacks);
its compact construction results in a small OD that extends its range down to small diameters for through tubing gravel packs and gravel pack repairs.
These advantages have been substantiated by laboratory tests and field installations. The results of these tests are presented in this paper.
In the past few years, several important completion technologies have been introduced or perfected. For example, open hole completion of long horizontal wells or the development of expensive subsea installations in a low oil price environment have led engineers to look into new techniques and equipment to minimize the risks for cost prohibitive workovers.
Sand control has been and remains one of the major problems faced by completion engineers in the Gulf of Mexico and in many other areas. Over the years, a number of downhole screens have been proposed to provide sand control in conjunction with a gravel pack or as stand alone. Table 1 summarizes the advantages and limitations of different types of screen as perceived by the authors. This description is based on laboratory tests and examination of field performance and failures.
With these current developments in mind, the design of new sand control screens require that they withstand increasingly demanding physico-chemical conditions:
short radius, extended reach or multilateral horizontal wells are putting screens under higher loads during installation.