Selecting a Completion Strategy for Sand Control and Optimal Production Rate - Unayzah Sandstone Reservoir
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 112 - 115
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 199 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 131078, "Selection of Completion Strategy for Sand Control and Optimal Production Rate - Field Examples From Saudi Arabia's Unayzah Sandstone Reservoir," by Zillur Rahim, SPE, Bandar Al-Malki, SPE, and Adnan Al-Kanaan, Saudi Aramco, prepared for the 2010 SPE Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, Brisbane, Australia, 18-20 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
For field development, it is important to identify reservoir structure, heterogeneity, rock properties, and fluid characteristics to select an optimal development strategy for enhancing production and increasing recovery in a cost-effective manner. Therefore, a detailed reservoir description and characterization is required by use of geo-physical, geological, and engineering data. This condensate-rich, high-flow-capacity, and highly sanding deep gas reservoir was developed gradually and optimized to select the most appropriate drilling-and-completion technique.
Saudi Aramco’s SA-1 field produces from the Permian Unayzah formation. The first well drilled penetrated the Unayzah-A zone in 1997 and showed excellent reservoir quality. Cores were collected from the well and, subsequently, from other wells confirming unconsolidated reservoir rock with low Young’s modulus and compressive-strength values.
To avoid sanding during production, early wells in this field were completed as vertical wellbores with frac-pack stimulation using premium screens, even though difficulties were encountered during frac-pack installation. With technology advances in drilling and completion, the development method shifted to drilling horizontal and highly slanted holes. This method eliminated deploying the frac-pack system, increased reservoir contact substantially, and improved well performance. To protect well integrity and eliminate sand production, expandable sand screens (ESSs) were used for completing the wells. Higher sustained gas rates were achieved with a reduced non-Darcy skin, sanding was eliminated, and risks related to deployment of the completion equipment (ESS) were reduced.
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