When gravel packing horizontal wells, operators usually deploy conventional, and commercially available gravel pack proppants in the industry. Several jobs have been successfully completed up to date with no considerable concerns. However, under certain unfavorable conditions, a better option to gravel pack these wells is ultra-lightweight proppants.
Deepwater well, extended reach horizontals, low fracture gradients, washed out zones, and insufficient fluid returns to circulate conventional proppant in place are good examples where lighter weight proppant is needed to assure the complete packing of the open hole.
This paper summarizes the development and application of the ultra-lightweight media and associated technologies for horizontal well gravel packing. Pioneering case histories will also be reviewed from the initial wells treated. The wells were completed on a field in the Campos Basin, offshore Brazil, where the reservoirs are sandstones, highly unconsolidated and therefore require a method of sand control.