In weak formations or in competent formations with potential for sanding problems from high in-situ stresses, screens and gravel packs often are not practical or economical. However, in such formations, the perforating program can significantly affect the production of sand. With knowledge of the in-situ stress distribution around the target well, the technique of optimal phased and oriented perforating (OPOP) was applied in the Eocene sands of the field in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, to minimize sand production. Results were excellent. In this paper, the OPOP technique is described and general guidelines are given for its use. Field cases are presented that compare results gained using this technique to the performance of other wells in the same field.

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