As operators continue to develop prospects in expensive, deepwater environments, delivery of high-rate, high-capacity, long-life wells becomes essential for economic success. Often, operators are faced with drilling high-angle, openhole wells in order to maximize production by capturing reserves from several sand packages in one wellbore. In many of today’s deepwater applications, hole stability and shale inhibition are keys to a successful openhole completion. Nonaqueous fluid (NAF) has become the preferred fluid system to optimize drilling of the openhole section, but hole stability can be problematic during displacement operations prior to gravel packing. This presentation will describe a gravel packing technique that allows the operator to run the gravel pack screens in NAF, gravel pack the well and displace the casing to brine, all in one trip. It will be shown that running the screens in NAF significantly increases the probability of successful screen installation, and the end result is consistent, cost-effective delivery of high-rate, low-skin completions.
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