Drilling, completing, and the production monitoring and control of multilateral wellbores in highly unconsolidated sandstone formations have achieved technical and operational success in recent past by ensuring that economic viability is attained and that well life is prolonged.

Gravel packing the lateral branch on a multilateral well is no longer a challenge. Sound isolation of the main branch is achieved to preserve the mainbore of debris when milling the window and drilling the lateral, which will ensure seamless gravel-pack operations. Stable junction isolation exists to support sand placement and the subsequent reverse-out of gravel-pack operations in both the main and lateral branch. Additionally, it is no longer considered a risk to run long, stiff, bottomhole completion assemblies across the window junction. One of the key factors in determining if a multilateral wellbore might be suitable for a given project is the type of sand-control completion and technique that might be required. The use of conventional standalone screens has a long and highly successful history. And now, where more sand-control reliability is required via use of gravel packs in combination with multilateral wellbores, technology is available and is also beginning to develop its own successful history.

Multiple successful installations of dual-bore, horizontal gravel-pack completions combined with Level-5 multilateral completion systems has resulted in increased reservoir drainage to improve the oil-recovery factor as well as the economic gains. In its current, form when combining advanced sandface completions with multilateral completions, the gravel-pack operations are followed by the installation of multilateral and upper completions. As a result of a newly developed system, one can now interconnect the junction completion with the sand-control operations in a single, seamless operation.

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