Brines are preferred to solids-laden fluids for completion operations due to their solids-free nature, which helps preserve formation permeability. Salt selection is mostly driven by the density that must be reached to match downhole pressure requirements. When density must be above 14.2 lbm/gal (1.7 s.g.), and crystallization must be prevented, previous options were limited to calcium bromide brines, zinc bromide brines and cesium formate. These brines have severe limitations: zinc brines can be harmful to oilfield personnel and the environment, cesium formate brines are cost-prohibitive and not readily available and calcium brines cannot meet deepwater crystallization requirements.
A new brine technology has been developed, that is zinc-free and extends the density of conventional bromide brines beyond their theoretical limits. This new technology addresses the limitations listed above, while providing low True Crystallization Temperature (TCT) and Pressurized Crystallization Temperature (PCT) to perform in deepwater and cold weather applications.
This paper summarizes the completion fluid properties, laboratory qualification and verification, and summarizes recent successful field applications of the new high-density zinc-free brine.