The completion technology for horizontal wells presents numerous design possibilities. The simplest and least expensive method is completing the well as open hole or using slotted liners. The majority of producing horizontal wells are being completed as open hole; this technique offers large flow areas, much more than when cemented and perforated casing is used. But hole stability and pressure drawdown may cause hole collapse and sand production which will restrict the production rate. The problem then is to determine the maximum allowable production rates from horizontal wells completed as open hole.

This paper discusses the stress distribution around a horizontal borehole function of the amount of pressure drawdown and the overburden loads, and the stability of this hole under these stresses. It also assesses the production rate at which sand grains may be produced with the fluid. The paper presents an equation to calculate the maximum production rates from open hole completed horizontal wells without sand problems or hole collapse. The equation includes the effect of well depth and the length of the horizontal displacement. Also, it can be used to calculate the effective borehole diameter of the horizontal well that minimizes sand production.

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