Many of the water injectors in sand control environments are being completed as long open holes due to higher injectivities attainable with such completions. Although target rates may often be achieved without any cleanup chemicals in production wells, injection wells require filtercake cleanup, in cases where

  • producing the well prior to injection is not feasible or desirable, (e.g., limited storage capacity on the rig, or artificial lift requirements due to low pressure or injection into water leg)

  • injecting above frac pressure is either not feasible (e.g., very high frac pressures and pump limitations) or not acceptable (e.g., sweep efficiency, premature water breakthrough, uncontrolled fracture height growth).

Although a large variety of filtercake cleanup techniques and chemistries are available in the industry, most of these solutions are effective in producers. As demonstrated through laboratory experiments, achieving consistently high injectivities requires removal of drill solids from the filtercake, through either dissolution (e.g., acid formulations utilizing HF) or effective displacement techniques that will not result in injection of these solids into the formation pore throats (SPE 77449). In addition, an effective filtercake removal (including drill solids) in long open holes without inducing high losses into the formation (so that the wash pipe can be pulled out and a mechanical fluid loss control valve can be activated) remained as a formidable challenge, which becomes even a bigger challenge in wells drilled with conventional oil based muds (OBM), particularly in reactive shale environments.

In this paper, we present a novel technique that addresses these challenges, proven through field application on a standalone screen water injector in Nigeria. The technique involves displacement of OBM from openhole with a viscous spacer pill containing a demulsifier, followed by completion brine containing a mutual solvent to weaken the filtercake without attacking the bridging agents, subsequently performing a high rate viscous pill displacement to remove the external cake, and finally spotting a water-based self-destructive fluid loss control pill to control the losses while pulling the wash pipe. Laboratory testing for designing the displacement stages, field execution, and well performance evaluation are detailed.

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