This paper describes the design and qualification testing of high density oil based screen running fluids for an HPHT subsea gas field development in the Norwegian Sea.

The field of interest contains gas bearing sandstones with permeabilities up to 5-10 Darcy buried at greater than 5000 m at high temperature and pressure (185 °C, 830 bar).

The wells are designed to be completed with standalone screens. However, running screens in high density OBM has been a challenge for the industry due to the high solids load of such fluids.

To qualify an HPHT screen running fluid, crucial to the economical development of this field, a rigorous fluid testing program was designed and carried out. The main drivers for the fluid qualification are to ensure that:

  • The fluid is stable at downhole temperature to allow the running of the screens to bottom without plugging

  • The fluid should remain mobile to allow easy backflow after a 28-day static period to allow subsequent well completion operations and back flow of the wells

  • The fluid should not plug the screens after the 28-day static period

The fluids were first designed and tested in vendor laboratories to ensure good long term stability and mobility. This was followed by internal confirmation testing by the operator. Final qualification at a third party facility for stability and mobility was carried out at simulated downhole conditions using a purpose built HPHT cell incorporating a sand control screen. The results of the qualification program showed that a 1.90 sg oil-based fluid containing fine barite can deliver a feasible solution to the completion challenges for the HPHT field development. The designed fluids are stable, easy to backflow and will not plug the sand control screens. The learnings from this study will also be presented.

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