Horizontal drilling technology is a fairly mature technology. Advances in drilling tools and techniques have simplified the technology making it a common concept in field development projects both in green and brown fields. The objective of sandface completion in horizontal wells is to prevent collapse of the horizontal drainhole (borehole support and/or prevent sand production. The first objective applies to where the formation is relatively consolidated and therefore does not require sand-control. The second objective applies to friable formations with propensity for sand production.

Various sandface completion mechanisms have been deployed in SPDC horizontal wells. These include pre-drilled liners, slotted liners, openhole expandable sand screens, stand-alone screens and a combo of stand-alone screen, swellable packers and interval control devices (ICDs). With nearly 150 horizontal wells (including sidetracks and muti-laterals) drilled between 1992 and 2012, there has been a significant improvement in sandface completion philosophy mainly driven by the desire to achieve life-cycle sand exclusion. The earlier wells were completed with slotted liners while later applications have deployed stand-alone screens. Performance of these wells is constantly being reviewed for further optimization of the sandface completions where scope exists.

This paper traces the development of horizontal sandface completion in SPDC from the early days to present highlighting factors that led to improvements. It also explores the current trend in horizontal sandface completion, limitation of existing technology and scope for improvement.

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