Operators, especially those managing production from deepwater reservoirs, are striving to produce hydrocarbons at higher and higher rates without exposing the wells to completion failure risk. To avoid screen failures, recent studies have favored high rate water pack (HRWP) completions over high-permeability fracturing (HPF), known in the vernacular as a frac&pack (FP) for very high rate wells. While a properly designed gravel pack (GP) completion may prevent sand production, it does not stop formation fines migration, and, over time, fines accumulation in the GP will lead to increasing completion skin. Although, and not always, the skin can be removed by acidizing, it is not practical to perform repeated acid treatments on deepwater wells, particularly those with subsea wellheads, and the alternative has been to subject the completion to increasingly high drawdown, accepting a high skin effect. A far better solution is to use a HPF completion. Of course the execution of a successful HPF is not a trivial exercise, and frequently, there is a steep learning curve for such a practice.

This paper explains the importance in HPF completions of the well trajectory through the interval to be hydraulically fractured, for production, not execution, reasons. A new model quantifies the effect of the well inclination on the connectivity between the fracture and the well via perforations both in terms of the total skin and the screen flow velocity. Guidelines are provided based on the maximum target production rate, including forecasts of multiphase flow, to size the HPF completion to avoid common completion failures that may result from high fluid rate and/or fines movement. Once the HPF is properly designed and executed, the operator should end up with a long term low skin good completion quality well that can be safely produced at the maximum flow rates, with no need for well surveillance and monitoring.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.