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BP Exploration

Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management

SECTION 13

COMPLETION FLUID GUIDELINES &
WELL DEBRIS MANAGEMENT

Prepared By:

Peter Wilson
Doug Davidson

Date:
Revision: 1
Reviewed By:

Darly Kellingray
Paul Adair

BP Exploration
Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management

BP Exploration
Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management

CONTENTS
Page
13

COMPLETION FLUID GUIDELINES & WELL DEBRIS
MANAGEMENT

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13.1 SUMMARY
13.2 INTRODUCTION
13.3 COMPLETION FUID GUIDELINES
13.3.1 Planning For Completion Fluid Selection
13.3.2 Function And Properties

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13.3.2.1 Density
13.3.2.2 Crystallisation Temperature

13.3.3

Corrosion

13.3.3.1 Carbon Dioxide
13.3.3.2 Hydrogen Sulphide
13.3.3.3 Packer Fluids

13.3.4
13.3.5

Components Of Completion Brines
Formation Damage

13.3.5.1 Formation Damage Mechanisms

13.3.6
13.3.7
13.3.8
13.3.9
13.3.10
13.3.11

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Scale
Emulsion Block
pH
Brine Selection
Use Of Drilling Fluids For Completions
Fluids For Sand Screen Installation

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13.3.11.1 Conditioning
13.3.11.2 Special Grade Weighting Agents
13.3.11.3 Displace To An Appropriate Brine
13.3.11.4 Displace To A Solids Free Mud
13.3.11.5 Displace To Solids Free Inert Emulsion

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13.3.12 Completion Fluids For Gravel Packing
13.3.13 Completion Fluids For Hydraulic Fracturing
13.3.14 Common Completion Fluid Contaminants

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13.3.14.1Polymers
13.3.14.2Crude Oil and Condensate
13.3.14.3Solids

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13.3.15 Control Of Downhole Losses

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13.3.15.1Solids Free HEC Pills
13.3.15.2Bridging Solids

13.3.16 Brine Losses While Running Sand Control Screens
13.3.17 Brine Losses While Gravel Packing
13.3.17.1Gravel Pack Sand
13.3.17.2Mechanical Fluid Loss Control While Gravel Packing
13.3.17.3Kill Pills

13.3.18 Field Preparation/Handling Of Completions Fluids
13.3.18.1HSE
13.3.18.2Brine Formulations

13.3.19 Brine Cleanliness
13.3.19.1Filtration

13.3.20 Brine Recovery
13.3.21 Brine Discharge

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4.4 13.4.4.4.1 Risks And Issues 13.2.5 13.4.2 Problems Caused By Sediment/Debris 13.5 REFERENCES 20 22 22 23 23 23 24 24 24 24 24 25 25 25 25 26 26 27 27 27 28 28 28 30 31 32 .4.4.1.2 13.2.2.4.2.3 13.4.1 Sediment/Debris 13.4.4.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 13.4 WELLBORE CLEAN-OUT GUIDELINES 13.6.4.3.1 Brine Cleanliness Measurement 13.8 Chemical Removal 13.6 Wireline Packers Packer Seal Units/PBRs Control Lines Tubing Hangers Formation Damage Aims Of A Wellbore Cleanout Objectives Of A well Clean-Out Clean-Out Design Pill Design 13.4.4 13.2.6.6 13.2 Best Practices and Design Criteria 13.22 Displacement Techniques 13.2.4.4.5 13.3 13.4.7.1.2 Debris 13.4.23 Displacement Procedures 13.24 Cementing In Completion Brines 13.2 Downhole Clean-Out 13.4.3.7.7 Procedures 13.8.1 Sediment 13.4.1 Pits And Surface Lines 13.3.4.4.1 13.

During well interventions debris can result in problems with stuck plugs and toolstrings or hang-up while running in hole. selection and preparation of these fluids accompanied with an appropriate checklist. plugging of tubulars. The same attention to detail must be made when selecting the reservoir drill-in fluid for planned open hole completions. high costs. 1. The aim of this chapter is to provide sufficient background information and practical guidelines to the engineer in the field to assist him/her to avoid potential problems resulting from inappropriate completion fluid selection and implementation and/or hole cleaning procedures. The issues mentioned briefly within this table are discussed in detail in other parts of this section. hence.3. premature setting of the packer.2 Introduction For many years wells were completed overbalanced with mud. It also provides guidelines for wellbore clean-out which is essential to obtain trouble free completion installation. It is essential that the hole is properly cleaned to permit completion installation.3 Completion Fuid Guidelines 1. etc. It should. Clearly it is preferable that the damage does not occur in the first place. in the hole. In such operations any damage that occurs during drilling and completion is not perforated past and attempted removal can only be made by costly remedial treatments. or at best dirty brine. These problems can lead to large amounts of lost time and. Page 1 . prevent equipment reaching planned depths. It describes the potential damage mechanisms from exposure to foreign fluids and describes the planning. In the modern oilfield open hole completions are very common. however. This led to the widespread use of specifically designed ‘drill-in’ fluids and ‘clean’ brine completion fluids.1 Planning For Completion Fluid Selection The following table represents a check list that should ensure that all aspects of completion fluid design are addressed in the planning stage.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1 1. Debris can lead to the malfunctioning of completion equipment. be noted that no matter how much care is taken to optimise open hole completion operations this will not undo damage caused during the drilling phase. Another important fluids issue is debris left in the hole after the drilling and casing of the hole since this can lead to problems installing the completion and during well interventions. the majority of the completion fluid related issues discussed can equally well be applied to drill-in fluids.1 COMPLETION FLUID GUIDELINES & WELL DEBRIS MANAGEMENT Summary This section describes the various issues regarding the use of fluids and obtaining good wellbore clean-out to ensure the successful installation of completions. inability to set tubing hangers. In terms of well productivity. damage can be controlled to acceptable values. 1. Many wells were badly damaged by this process but often the damage could be overcome by perforating. If the correct fluids and procedures are utilised during the drilling of the reservoir and the completion of the well. This chapter outlines the major factors that must be considered when selecting a low damage potential completion fluid.

. Laboratory testing (XRD and return permeability testing). the candidate brine must be compatible with pore lining clays Chemistry Bore hole stability of exposed clay/shale sequences within the reservoir. Chemistry To avoid formation damage. To avoid formation damage. BP Fluids Experts will be able to offer advice on this. e. BHP. Effects of temperature and pressure on downhole density must be considered. don’t select sodium chloride if 10. BHT. sodium bromide) is on hand to allow a density increase to be made. may be recommended. Either BP Fluids Experts or drilling fluid service provider will be able to provide this data. the candidate brine must be compatible with formation water chemistry. BHP. Information on clay types within the reservoir. Lowest anticipated temperature – this is usually the anticipated wind chill temperature in the riser.g. Having determined the required density.g. Ensure that the candidate brine has a workable crystallisation temperature for the lowest anticipated temperature to which it will be exposed. BP Fluids Experts will be able to offer advice on this.0ppg brine is required unless a more soluble salt (e.1 – Completion Fluid Check List Page 2 Formation water analysis. brine sample. Further Information Data Requirements Either a BP Fluids Experts or drilling fluid service provider will be able to provide this data. Table 13. Note: this is a lengthy procedure and may take up to three months to get all the results. Maximum required ‘safety margin’. Be sure this is initiated early in the planning programme Either BP Fluids Experts or drilling fluid service provider will be able to offer advice on this. Laboratory testing may be required. BHT and required overbalance pressure. If this is not available representative preserved core will be required Representative shale samples. Laboratory testing may be required.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Subject Density Density Density/ Crystallisation Temperature Chemistry Issue Fluid density must be sufficient to provide the required hydrostatic pressure at the reservoir. Consult with either BP Fluids Experts or drilling fluid service provider to determine appropriate brine type. Don’t select a brine that is right at the upper limit of its maximum density. ensure that the selected brine can readily be weighted beyond the anticipated requirement so that unforeseen pressures can be addressed.

BHP. brine sample. If the particular elastomer/fluid combination cannot be found testing will be required. the most benign fluid is preferred. BP Fluids experts should be consulted. This should be tested for formation damage/ screen plugging potential. If this is required formation damage implications must be considered. In highly deviated or tortuous well paths the poor intrinsic lubricity of most brines may prevent the completion reaching bottom. lubricant sample. Completion fluid sample. Autoclave testing may be recommended Note: this is a lengthy procedure and may take up to three months to get all results. sand screen type and gauge. This can be done by BP in-house experts. BHP at relevant depth. Sand Control Screen Blocking Sand control screens run in solids laden fluid can become blocked. BP’s Fluids Experts can provide information on this. Representative. Candidate lubricants can be evaluated in Sunbury. Data Requirements BHT. Drilling fluid service provider and filtration experts can provide advice. In general. Cleanliness Solids in brines can cause formation damage or prevent efficient operation of downhole tools. Consider addition of lubricant. Elastomer samples. Well geometry data. proposed brine type. Laboratory testing (mud flow through screens) should be performed Design low damage LCM pill. preserved core. Elastomer Compatibility Lubricity HSE Completion fluids. Run torque and drag model with worst case friction coefficient. Further Information BPs metallurgy experts can provide advice. BHT. Consult with the brine supplier to determine best option for a given density. Reservoir pore size distribution.1 – Completion Fluid Check List (Continued) Page 3 . Table 13. Mud samples and sand screen characteristics. Downhole losses Uncontrolled loss of completion fluid. candidate metallurgy. For a given density some brines have better HSE profiles than others. There is much published data regarding compatibilities of common oilfield elastomers. can cause elastomer components of tools to deform. Commonly associated with mechanical damage to down hole filter cake when running liner/screens. Either BP Fluids Experts or drilling fluid service provider can proved maximum particle size that can be tolerated. nature of reservoir fluids. notably divalent brines and oil based fluids. There may be commercial issues to address.4 ‘Wellbore Clean up Guidelines’.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Subject Issue Metallurgy Corrosion of down hole tubulars particularly at HT conditions and/or if acid gases are anticipated. Be sure this is initiated early in the planning programme. Refer to section 1.

1. density increases with increasing pressure and. the density falls. avoid solids invasion of the formation and reduce the potential for solids settlement on top of downhole tools. although in most downhole applications the temperature effect is dominant.052 x vertical depth (ft) It is important to note that any density determined from the above equation is the average density required to just balance formation pressure based on BHP at TVD. hence. An acceptable HSE profile is also desirable. The effect of pressure is the opposite. A simple calculation of brine density requirement is given in the following equation: Density (lb/gal) = Pressure (psi) 0.3. Factors which are critical during a completion operation may not always be as important in a drilling operation where the filtercake may prevent significant loss of the fluid to the formation.3. 1.e. i. Brines are the preferred option as completion fluids as the required density can be achieved without the addition of any insoluble solids.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. the volume increases and.2. Conversely a decrease in temperature will cause an increase in density. Fluid specialists in BP and service companies utilise computer programmes to provide an accurate analysis of the effects of temperature and pressure on brines. as the fluid column in the wellbore is often the primary means of well control. the reservoir fluid and type of operation. Solids free fluids are preferred as they provide a stable density. As the temperature of the brine increases.1 Density Density is the single most critical property of a completion fluid.2 Crystallisation Temperature Three temperature values are used to describe a brine’s tendency to crystallise:    First crystal to appear (FCTA) True crystallisation temperature (TCT) Last crystal to dissolve (LCTD) Page 4 . The main function of a completion fluid is to control the formation pressure while exhibiting low formation damage potential and acceptable corrosivity.2 Function And Properties The specific properties required from a completion fluid will vary with the formation type.3. These programmes can calculate the required surface brine density that will provide the required hydrostatic pressure for any particular situation. Brine density is a function of both temperature and pressure.2. The density of the fluid has to be carefully selected to provide sufficient hydrostatic head to control the formation pressure. Ignoring the effects of temperature and pressure and simply using the measured surface density will generally result in less hydrostatic pressure at the bottom of the well than predicted. pore pressure. Similarly. to some extent. a fluid may cause severe damage in one particular type of formation and be totally benign in another. tends to compensate for the temperature effect. In certain operations such as gravel packing the fluid must also have the ability to transport solids.

This can lead to a brittle-like fracture. however it can be exacerbated by the presence of dissolved oxygen. Of greater importance is the mechanism known as sulphide stress cracking (SSC).bp.3. Page 5 . Should a brine give indications that it is close to crystallisation the brine should be diluted with drill water and the density increased to its required level with a more soluble salt. however reference should be made to the comments below on the use of corrosion inhibitors. sodium. This is a particularly damaging form of corrosion as the pits formed can act as stress raisers resulting in the initiation of fatigue. 1.3 Corrosion Common soluble salts (e.3. For example. This form of corrosion is not common unless very high concentrations of H2S are present. Severe corrosion is usually caused by a combination of salinity and the presence of a gas. commonly oxygen but carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide may both be present in reservoirs and. This can be minimised by the use of an oxygen scavenger and pH control. therefore. This is true up to a limiting point. The type of corrosion occurring will predominantly be pitting corrosion.3.com/wp/downhole/ and also in section 6 of the Completion Design Manual. It should be noted that the lowest temperature that a brine may be exposed to is often in the marine riser where wind chill factors come into effect. For instance should a calcium chloride brine begin to crystallise it should be diluted with 5% drill water and re-weighted with calcium bromide. Corrosion Guidelines can be found on the BP Website at: http://drilling.bpweb. 1.1 Carbon Dioxide The presence of CO2 in a completion brine can lead to the formation of carbonic acid which will directly attack metal surfaces. the TCT should be close to the minimum expected ambient surface temperature to avoid the following problems:   Lowering of the density of the solution as crystals form at surface which could lead to pressure control problems. 1. the highest corrosion rates occur in sodium chloride when the chloride concentration is approximately 20.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management The True Crystallization Temperature of brine is the API prescribed method for quantifying crystallisation temperature. calcium and potassium chloride) will increase corrosion rates due to increased conductivity of the brine relative to freshwater. which can occur quite quickly and without warning.3.000mg/lt. Corrosion inhibitors can be used to reduce the impact of carbon dioxide corrosion.2 Hydrogen Sulphide H2S dissolved in brine can react with steel surfaces. When specifying the crystallization temperature of brine.3.g. above which an increase in salinity may reduce corrosion rates due to lower oxygen solubility. If the salt starts to crystallize. producing an iron sulphide scale which can result in deep pits in regions where the scale is breached. which is roughly equivalent to the salinity of seawater. capable of solution in the completion brine. it can quickly plug valves and lines resulting in costly delays.

If the fluid entering the pore spaces is not compatible with both the formation clays.5 Formation Damage Formation damage that occurs during completion and workover operations is particularly critical in that it usually cannot be overcome by perforating and remedial treatments can be difficult and expensive. particularly for critical wells.2 identifies the main components of completion brines and briefly discusses the function of each component. come into intimate contact with the reservoir at some stage. however small changes within the pore structure can have greater significance on permeability than in more permeable rock. HTHP or when the presence of acid gases is anticipated).g. Formations with good permeability. In this case. corrosion rates tend to be low after any dissolved oxygen has been depleted by reaction with the casing.3. This initial corrosion tends to be of the general kind with only a small weight loss across the entire area of the steel occurring. 1. Information regarding this subject can be found on the BP Formation Damage Website at: http://damage. However. then it is unlikely to be produced without hydraulically fracturing the formation and the selection of drilling fluid is not as critical. (e.g. where the fluid is isolated from formation fluids and gases. Tighter formations may be less likely to take fluid in.com/ Page 6 . Such inhibitors can cause severe localised corrosion and actually accelerate the corrosion process if present in insufficient quantities to provide complete filming. BP have corrosion specialists who should be consulted prior to use of this or other types of filming chemicals. Inorganic inhibitors (e.4 Components Of Completion Brines The following Table 13 . Basic corrosion treatment should be made to minimise this.bp. therefore.3. will not only have good productivity. 1. and the formation fluids. Filming type corrosion inhibitors should be used with caution. they will also freely take fluids from the wellbore. the selection of the frac and completion fluid is just as important as in non-fractured completions as these fluids will almost certainly.3. increasing the pH and adding oxygen scavenger is usually sufficient. If the formation has extremely poor permeability. The selection and correct preparation and handling of completion fluid is. chrome based) are anodic inhibitors. 1. formation impairment will ensue.bpweb. often fundamental to the well’s success. That is to say they inhibit corrosion by reducing the anodic reaction but do not affect the cathodic reaction.3 Packer Fluids Completion brines are often converted for use as packer fluids.3.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Some brines are more corrosive than others and long term autoclave testing should be performed on candidate brine/metal combinations.

5. Excessively high pH values (>9. Defoamers should not be added until there potential effect on well productivity has been verified as acceptable.1 Formation Damage Mechanisms There are many factors that can cause formation damage. liable to alter the surface characteristics of the reservoir rock.2 – Components Of Completion Brines 1. The use of seawater should be avoided as it contains cations and anions that may form insoluble salts when mixed with formation brine. These chemicals should be added very sparingly and with good agitation. the most common mechanisms are outlined below. if present in sufficient concentration. Page 7 . Salts are added primarily to increase density. They may also function as clay inhibitors Used to increase pH and thereby reduce corrosion rates.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Component Function Drill Water Soluble Salt Caustic Oxide Soda. Changes in salinity will bring about changes in hydration and changes in the forces between the clay particles. Planning should commence at an early enough stage to allow return permeability testing to be conducted. if the brine is sufficiently saline. These are added to reduce the coefficient of friction of brines to facilitate running of the completion in deviated wells. Typical clay treatments used in brine are organic nitrogen derivatives which can be added directly to the brine at surface. The effect of such products on the reservoir permeability should be determined by return permeability core floods.5) should be avoided as this can mobilise fines within the reservoir. To ensure that damage is limited to acceptable levels all of these issues must be addressed when selecting the completion fluid and associated pills. These are used to break down foam in surface pits. corrosion inhibitors should only be used after low damage potential has been confirmed by core flood work and after their effectiveness as inhibitors has been confirmed with BP’s corrosion experts. Selected products should be soluble in either acid. Bridging Agents Corrosion Inhibitor Lubricant Defoamer Biocide Flocculants Clay Inhibitors Magnesium Base fluid for brine. Can be added to inhibit bacterial activity. Therefore. Used to control loss of the completion fluid to the reservoir.3. They can also be used as anti-foam additives when adding corrosion inhibitor or other surface acting treatments which can cause excessive foaming. bacterial activity is unlikely Flocculants are occasionally used to aid in the solids removal and filtering processes. When there is a possibility of the brine coming in intimate contact with the reservoir. Overdosing may result in formation damage. This tenacious attachment can also occur on the surface of pore linings causing productivity impairment. water or oil dependent upon the specific application. dependent on their charge. Pore Lining Clays Clay Swelling Water sensitive clays such as montmorillonite and mixed layers clays can expand when exposed to fresh or low salinity water. can alter expansion characteristics and inter-particle bonding of expanding clays. By their very nature they are. However. particularly in packer fluids. it is to be expected that any change in the composition of the pore fluid will cause a change in the physical arrangement of the clay particles either through physical effects or through physico-chemical effects which can change inter-particle energies. Table 13. Cations. Bridging is often critical in minimisation of formation damage. May be required in low density brines to improve inhibition of both pore lining clays and any shales that are exposed in the well bore. When considering this it should be recognised that formation damage testing is a lengthy process often taking two to three months to get complete results. These are often cationic polymers which work by attaching tenaciously to surfaces of tubulars.

Page 8 . Increase in Water Saturation When water or brine based filtrates invade the near well bore region water saturation is increased. if fluids containing oil wetting surfactants (oil mud surfactants. Freshwater filtrate will in almost all cases cause some damage in rocks containing swelling clays. the water wet nature of the rock can be changed reducing the efficiency of oil flow through the rock. However. that is. Another approach that has been put forward is to reduce the surface tension of the water based filtrate or brine by the addition of fluorosurfactants. the invading fluid has the correct ionic composition. the clays will remain in equilibrium and the likelihood of migration will be greatly reduced. This can greatly reduce the relative permeability to hydrocarbon. The force exerted on the particles by fluid velocity and viscosity can cause aggregated particles to become mechanically separated. corrosion inhibitors. Capillary pressures are inversely proportional to pore radius so in tight formations very high pressure may be required to displace filtrate from the near well bore. This can be avoided by using oil based muds. more permanent damage can result if:   The invading filtrate contain any products that can cause wettability changes The reservoir is low pressure or of very low permeability. i. Laboratory work has shown that a great variation in salinity from that of the formation water can cause clays to either swell or be mobilised.e. This effect is generally temporary as the invading filtrate is often back-produced when hydrocarbon flow is initiated. close to the salinity of the formation water. This effect is known as water block. Fines Migration Fine particles within the pore structure of reservoir rock can be mobilised by fluid flow when the Critical Fines Migration Velocity is exceeded. Once this type of damage occurs it is irreversible. emulsion inhibitors.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management When this swelling occurs the clay lattice will occupy more space in the pore throat or may become fragile and prone to migration and subsequent plugging of the pore throats. If. The particles are then free to migrate to pore throats where they can become lodged resulting in a decrease in the permeability of the rock Wettability Changes Relative Permeability Effects Many sandstone formations in their natural state are water wet. As fluids move. Capillary forces can be set up that will not allow the invaded filtrate to be cleaned up. however the potential adverse effects of OBM surfactants must be considered. mutual solvents etc) or surface tension reducers invade the formation. extremely high salinity brines can also cause problems in rocks with lower salinity formation water. However. however. the oil phase will tend to slip along the water boundary leaving the water attached to the sand surface. However. the surface of the sand grains is coated with a layer of water and the hydrocarbon phase resides in the pore space in equilibrium with the water coated grains.

1. The most common incompatibilities occur between carbonate species in formation waters and divalent cations.3.6 Scale The composition of formation brine can vary significantly and if the completion brine contains incompatible ions. particularly calcium.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Polymer Invasion There are three major mechanisms related to polymer invasion that can result in formation impairment:    Any polymers included in a fluid that contacts the reservoir can become attached to pore walls and reduce the absolute permeability of the rock. To reduce corrosion rates it is desirable to increase pH values in packer fluids when there is no chance of contact with the reservoir.8 pH High pH values should be avoided in completion brines as this can have an affect on the base exchange equilibrium of pore lining clays which may in turn cause them to migrate and block pore throats. the mixing of the two fluids can result in the precipitation of water insoluble salts.3. 1. Laboratory testing can be performed to evaluate the risk of emulsion blocking. Emulsions can also be created during the acidization of waxy or asphaltic crudes with a poorly designed fluid. 1. The degree of damage resulting from this is dependent on the nature and size of the precipitated particles and the type of formation. Natural surfactants may be present in crude oil and manufactured surfactants are ever present in oil based mud filtrate.7 Emulsion Block Filtrate lost to the formation can form emulsions. Remedial action is available in the form of mutual solvent squeezes. This may be either WBM filtrate with crude oil or OBM filtrate with formation brine. (These viscous fluids are more difficult to clean up on hydrocarbon production and long term impairment can result. The compatibility of acid with crude oil should be checked using API RP 42 guidelines. Emulsions generally only form if some surfactants are present in the system.) Any unhydrated polymer (fish eyes) can enter pore spaces and swell with time to such an extent that severe permeability reductions can occur. in completion brines. it is important to confirm that a viscosity breaker will work and that the residual viscosity is low enough to allow the well to clean up. The silica is dissolved and fines may then be released and available for migration to pore throats. EGMBE). which are effective emulsion breakers. When planning such operations.3. (e.g. Rocks that have amorphous silica as matrix cement can be adversely affected by high pH. Another common form of insoluble scale is the reaction between calcium in formation brines and sulphates present when seawater is used as the completion brine. Polymers are added to increase the viscosity of brine for various operational reasons. Page 9 .

wells are completed in drilling fluid. Figure 13. Formation damage potential should already have been determined to be low prior to its use as a drilling fluid.9 Brine Selection Once the required density has been determined the range of candidate brines capable of achieving that density must be examined and the final selection made based on:        A workable crystallisation temperature at the required density Low formation damage potential Acceptable corrosion characteristics Acceptable HSE profile Shale inhibition (if required) Elastomer compatibility Commercial acceptability These issues are discussed in detail below.3. Loss of well control due to barite sag initiated by low shear conditions generated while running the completion. The following chart shows the maximum working density for the more common brines. Page 10 . however. these are:    Inability to operate downhole tools due to solids settled out of the mud. as mud possesses filter cake building properties that brines do not.3.10 Use Of Drilling Fluids For Completions On occasion. This may be commercially advantageous and may also offer benefits in terms of control of downhole losses. Inability to operate downhole tools due to mud gelation. There are.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. still significant risks attached to using mud as a completion fluid.1 – Maximum Working Densities 1.

BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management  Plugging of perforations by mud solids. Page 11 .

1 Conditioning Always condition the drilling fluid prior to running the screens. Perforate under balance to avoid plugging perforation channels.3.11.4 Table 13.11 Fluids For Sand Screen Installation Sand control screens can easily become plugged with solids if great attention is not paid to completion fluid solids content. There is a real risk associated with running sand control screens in mud. A piece of test equipment has been designed to determine when the mud has been conditioned to a suitable specification. These solids will be incorporated in the filter cake and may also penetrate the formation. 1. Fine screen conditioning of heavy mud is not practical as much of the barite would be removed by shale shaker screens finer than 230 mesh.8 25. 1. be mitigated against by careful planning:   The mud can be treated to minimise gelation and barite sag.3. Shaker Screen Mesh Aperture um Sand Screen Gauge Sand Screen Aperture um 100 x 100 120 x 120 150 x 150 200 x 200 250 x 250 325 x 325 140 117 105 74 63 44 6 5 4 3 2 1 152. These Mud Flow Through Screens (MFS) test kits are available for rig site use. the maximum solids size remaining in the mud after conditioning should be less than one-third the width of the openings in the sand control screen if plugging is to be avoided. This conditioning of mud over fine shakers screens should remove sufficient solids to allow screens to be run successfully in light weight muds. To avoid this. These are used to determine when adequate solids have been removed to allow sand screens to be run without becoming plugged. Conventional solids removal is not practical when using suspended salt systems because the costly salt is removed along with drilled solids Reactive drilled solids accumulate in the mud whenever shale sections are drilled. Reference should be made to the shale shaker screen manufacturer’s specification for other screen types.0 101.4 127. Typical solids size distribution in a drilling fluid will readily plug screens as they are run through the mud.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management These risks can. There are risks attached to the use of a suspended salt mud as a completion fluid particularly if it has previously been used to drill through shales or claystones. the mud is commonly circulated over fine shale shaker screens. to some extent. Thus in this table when running a 6 gauge screen filtering with 325 mesh shaker screens is recommended.2 50. The methods described below are those currently used to achieve successful deployment of sand screens. as a rule of thumb. The following table provides data on the aperture sizes of conventional. square mesh shale shaker screens and the nearest equivalent sand screen gauge. However.6 76.3 – Shaker Screen Size/Aperture Size Page 12 .

2 Special Grade Weighting Agents The conditioning of mud as described above can be time consuming and. By using different density brine and oil/water ratios the density of these fluids can be varied up to a maximum of approximately 1. 1.3. 1. Clear brines do not have any filter cake building properties so loss of large volumes of brine could occur. Both of these issues would need to be addressed prior to applying this technology. with a density of approximately 0. As the mud does not contain solids.4 Displace To A Solids Free Mud This approach offers the advantages of the solids free brine but also overcomes the risk attached to large scale downhole losses as the mud contains polymers that will rebuild damaged filter cake. however. 1. However.11. There are risks attached to the use of these fine products as the may create high rheology and they also have formation damage potential. This is a very expensive option but may be justified in some applications. barite weighted mud to the necessary specification is unpractical (see below). It is easy to mechanically damage filter cake when running screens.3.5 Displace To Solids Free Inert Emulsion After drilling an interval with an invert mud there are.3 Displace To An Appropriate Brine This removes the problem of solids blocking of screens completely. for example when conditioning of heavy.11.6sg (13. When the shale shaker screens or the sand screens are wet with mud the apertures may be significantly smaller. introduces a risk of plugging the sand screen.11. There is a risk of emulsion problems occurring which could cause formation damage or block the screens. It is more lubricious than most brines and it will not react with water sensitive clays.2sg). Page 13 . spurt loss should be anticipated to be high and polymer damage may result. therefore. Note: If it is decided to displace the drilling fluid to any other completion fluid the selection criteria for completion brines described above must be met. Base oil would be an excellent solids free fluid for running screens. This would then require an LCM pill to be spotted which. in itself. This approach is however not entirely risk free. rightly. another risk attached to this approach.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management The apertures given above are for dry wires. A more practical fluid is an invert emulsion made with heavy brine as the internal phase.3.3ppg).8 SG it rarely has practical applications. To achieve these higher densities it is necessary to use very heavy brines such as caesium formate (2. concerns regarding displacing the hole to brine in order to run the screens. There is.3. The use of a fine grade weighting agent such as micronised barite or Micromax can avoid the requirement for fine screen conditioning other than to remove drilled solids. Determination of the actual size of solids passing through a particular shale shaker screen can readily be determined by particle size analysis of the underflow. an expensive operation. 1.11.

limit fluid loss. transport and place the gravel. Any brine will have numerous particles in this range unless it is properly filtered.3. again the cleanliness of the fluid used in the underreaming operation is critical. For example. prone to plugging by solids in the 10 to 40 micron range. either.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. This technology is relatively new and advice should be taken from BP’s formation damage experts before any field application All of the formation damage issues that impact on brine selection for conventional completions also apply to gravel packing operations. as well as being of adequate cleanliness the fluid must also be compatible with formation water and formation clays. reverse excess gravel out of the hole and flow back to surface with the produced fluid. the main concern is the ability to remove them after completing the operation. Solids in the gravel pack fluid have the potential to bridge in the gravel pack and cause a severe reduction in permeability. The most common are outlined below.3. hence.14 Common Completion Fluid Contaminants There are many contaminants that can affect the performance of a completion fluid. the minimum size for bridging is probably even less. with a high concentration of particles and the fact that the sand is not perfectly spherical.12 Completion Fluids For Gravel Packing Completion fluid selection is critical to the success of gravel packing operations. Filtered. Both solids and polymers can be employed to control fluid loss. prevent formation damage. Assuming that the gravel is perfectly spherical and particles 1/3 the size of the opening can bridge. hence fluid cleanliness is critical to preventing damage in the pack. Relatively small particles can bridge in gravel packs. For example. then particles of around 15 microns can plug the pack. control well pressure. with 40 mesh sand the ‘spaces’ between the gravel are approximately 50 microns. Completion fluids for gravel pack operations are typically filtered to 2 microns To provide the required sand carrying capacity. This allows the fluid to clean up rapidly at low shear rates. Gravel packs can. the producing interval is commonly underreamed to remove the damaged zone. The fractures are usually propped open with sand in the 20/40 mesh range and are. viscosifiers such as HEC are added. Page 14 .13 Completion Fluids For Hydraulic Fracturing A major concern with hydraulically fractured formations is not damage to the formation itself but conductivity impairment of the fracture. 1. In cased hole gravel packs the perforations may be back surged or washed to remove damage around the perforations. Viscosity breakers are added to ensure that the viscosity reduces to near that of water in a matter of hours after the completion operation. a high probability of plugging the propped fracture if the sand is transported in a dirty fluid or down a dirty well bore. Acid soluble carbonates can be difficult to remove from gravel packed completions because of the problem of contacting the particles with acid during gravel placement. be cased or open hole. therefore. In a gravel pack operation the fluid has to perform a number of functions. During this process fluid may be lost to the formation and any solids in the fluid will not only damage the formation but this damage may be compounded with damage to the pack. squeeze away to compact the gravel. There is.3. As with all fluid loss additives. In open hole packs. clear brines are therefore the preferred completion fluid for gravel pack operations. 1. In reality. The inclusion of acid producing enzymes in the gravel slurry offers one answer to this problem.

in some cases. 1. So on wells with BHT above this temperature any impairment should eventually clean up. Oil will float on top of the heavier brine and can be pumped off the surface.3. bridging additives (i.14. such hydrochloric acid. 1. especially if the viscosifier used is slow to degrade.3. Enzyme breakers are less liable to be damaging but may take longer to achieve clean up than would an acid.3 Solids Solids that have not deliberately been added to the brine are considered to be contaminants.1 Solids Free HEC Pills HEC is a non-ionic polymer which is soluble in most brine types however yield can be slow. At lower temperatures a breaker.e. Every effort should be made to isolate polymer pills used in various completion operations from the active brine system. in conventional completion brines results in a tendency for the fluid to be lost to exposed formations.15.3. The polymer can be used to make viscous pills to reduce downhole brine losses. There are risks attached to acidisation and formation damage testing should be used to identify any incompatibilities.14. or cake building polymers. oil and barite residues. Brine losses are typically controlled by the use of an LCM pill which has increased viscosity. or incomplete. Excessive loss of brine to the formation needs to be controlled for the following reasons:    Well control can be compromised.2 Crude Oil and Condensate Produced hydrocarbons can reduce brine density and make brine filtration difficult. Although the completion fluid should have been selected for its low damage potential. Typically concentrations in the range of 2-4lb/bbl (5.14. 1.5kg/m3) are used. Excessive loss of brine can be costly. rust and pipe dope. It is important that consideration be given to formation damage potential and sand screen blocking potential when designing an LCM pill for use in the reservoir. it is always better to avoid uncontrolled fluid ingress into the reservoir as this can impact on clean up time. Page 15 . can be used. in some strong divalent brine such as zinc bromide.3. particularly if mud cake is damaged by mechanical action (e. Separation is best achieved by gravity in an un-agitated pit.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. both. The degradation of hydrated HEC is reasonably fast above 220°F. Common LCM pills are detailed below. properly sized soluble particles) or. The effects of polymer contamination can be reduced by breaking the polymer with hydrogen peroxide.1 Polymers Brines contaminated with polymers cannot readily be filtered.511. It is important to be aware that the loss of viscous fluid to the formation can result in formation damage. 1.g.15 Control Of Downhole Losses The lack of bridging material. The most common are polymer. These can usually be removed by filtration although filtration efficiency may be low if contamination is high and may take some time if it is done on the critical path.3. running liner or screens) or deliberately disrupted by a breaker.

In open hole completions. Chemical removal of the cake will probably be required if injection is to be achieved. most typically marble and dolomite. acid producing enzymes are available.15. Another approach is to predisperse the polymer in an inert non-aqueous solution before adding it to the brine.2 Bridging Solids When high fluid losses occur. 1. Three types of bridging solids are commonly used. Organic resins are used on occasion but are not common. Page 16 . This is supplied by the mud companies as ‘liquid HEC’. production through the wall cake is usually good. Pure calcium carbonate is completely soluble in acid. As well as conventional acid placement. Clean up is often spontaneous when the well is brought on. The yield of HEC is slow in a low pH which allows the polymer to be effectively dispersed before the yield commences. The most appropriate blend of sized carbonate can be determined if information exists with regard to the pore sizes within the reservoir. Solids that do not clean up can greatly reduce productivity from perforations. Either of these approaches will minimise the risk of ‘fisheyes’ (small chunks of non-dispersed polymer) forming. These produce weak organic acid and have the advantage over conventional acid treatment in that they will not become spent until all of the carbonate has been reacted. However. Particle large enough to block the screens must be avoided. care should be taken to get the polymer completely dispersed before it begins to hydrate or yield. is to ensure that the fluid will pass through a sand content screen without leaving residue on the screen. concentration and particle size distribution. Great care must be taken to avoid pumping unhydrated polymer (fisheyes) downhole as it can enter pores in the reservoir and cause damage that may require a remedial acid squeeze which itself may be damaging to some formations.3. The least damaging acid type should be identified by return permeability core flood testing. One simple rig site determination of whether or not the polymer is well dispersed and that fisheyes are not present. Particular care should be taken in selecting the particle size distribution of bridging material if a sand screen completion is planned.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management When mixing HEC. calcium carbonate. By adding particles of an appropriate shape. This material is readily available in a range of grind sizes and can be custom ground to any specific requirement. assuming a well designed drill-in fluid has been used. An important consideration in the use of bridging materials is how well the perforations or sand face will clean up after the completion operation. Marble is the preferred material for completion operations as it offers better acid solubility. The most effective method is to prehydrate the polymer in neutral pH or very slightly acid drill water prior to adding to the brine. To achieve this. The major service providers and BP fluids experts have access to software to determine the particle size distribution required for efficient bridging. In situations where insufficient clean up is achieved. Calcium Carbonate Ground calcium carbonate is the most common material used as LCM in reservoir intervals. the fluid should have a low spurt loss which is an indication that a filtercake should form quickly so that the movement of fluids and polymer into the pore space is minimized. Various forms of this material are use in drilling operations. an acid wash can be used. sodium chloride and cellulose fibres. bridging solids may be used together with viscosifiers in the pill. it should be possible to form a filtercake on the formation face without greatly invading the pore space. the potential for formation impairment or sand screen damage by acid should be evaluated prior to using any acid wash.

such clean up has often only been partial and washover with an organic solvent has been required. In theory. Polymer breaking enzymes are often run in conjunction with the low salinity wash to aid in the removal of polymers in the filter cake. and may be affected by several factors. in practice. In theory. however. It has been noted that some of the resin in the LCM or kill pill will liquefy on contact with reservoir hydrocarbons. They can be removed by oxidising with sodium hypochlorite. The clean-up of any of the above bridging agents should not be taken for granted. However. they offer an advantage of being soluble in oil and will clean up by dissolution by formation hydrocarbons. Once this occurs the use of diverting agents or selective stimulation may be the only remedy. Failure to achieve a satisfactory clean-up is the greatest single problem with using oil soluble resins. Laboratory testing at the estimated BHT is essential before applying this technology in the field. Currently available resins have an upper operating temperature of approximately 220 oF. solution of the salt by formation brine or a low salinity wash should effectively remove the filter cake. In practice. This can produce a viscous resinous mass that can invade the formation causing impairment which is difficult to remove. Formation damage tests should be conducted to ensure that the high salinity fluid is compatible with the reservoir Cellulose Fibres Cellulose fibres are available in a variety of sizes and can effectively bridge pores. however this should only be considered after careful evaluation of potential formation damage and downhole corrosion of tubulars. In most cases calcium carbonate is every bit as efficient a bridging material and is generally more economical in its application Oil Soluble Resin Typically oil soluble resins are made of polymerised hydrocarbons or processed natural pine resin. including:     Improper solvent wash diversion technique Temperature of the formation Improper sizing of the resin beads in relation to the formation pore size Ineffective final clean-up due to low production flow rate and/or gravity of the produced fluid The limited use of oil soluble resins as a fluid loss control technique is largely due to uneasiness regarding adequate clean-up. the base fluid must be saturated with respect to sodium chloride. The main problem is usually that the removal from the formation or perforations is not uniform in that all the dissolving fluid or produced fluid only flows to/from the perforations that are initially opened or ‘hot spots’ on the sand face. Page 17 . They are available in various grind sizes and as such function as LCM in a similar manner to sized carbonates. To prevent the solid salt from being dissolved in the pill. clean up effectiveness is reduced by the polymers used to keep the salt particles in suspension.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Sodium Chloride Sized sodium chloride particles are frequently used as bridging material in LCM pills for use in reservoirs.

Gravel pack sand does not require removal. is to fill perforation tunnels with high-permeability gravel-pack sand. ideally from mercury porosimetry or SEM work. has no temperature limitations and when placed in the perforations to limit fluid loss has the added effect of greater perforation filling efficiencies. BP fluids specialists have software available to allow the best blend of bridging agents to be determined. Fluid leak off during the perforation packing process is required to accomplish this.16 Brine Losses While Running Sand Control Screens Running sand control screens into open hole sections can mechanically damage filter cake inducing brine losses.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Note: Before selecting a lost circulation material for use in the reservoir. they close preventing fluid loss to the formation. Completion Isolation Valve (CIV). This computer programme can also be used to identify any potential problems with regard to screen blocking. 1.3. Formation Isolation Valve (FIV). will allow the formation bridging size to be determined. 1.17 Brine Losses While Gravel Packing Brine losses during gravel packing operations may be controlled by the following methods. a critical factor to obtaining a successful completion. the proposed formulation should always be tested for sealing effectiveness and cleanup efficiency in a return permeability core flood. and the Iso-Sleeve assembly. very poor perforation filling may result. This eliminates the need to remove fluid loss control agents prior to gravel packing and provides two opportunities to place the gravel in the perforations.3.17. Prior knowledge of formation pore geometry. Verification of blocking tendencies can be determined in the laboratory.3.3. When the service tools are pulled through the valves. For this reason.1 Gravel Pack Sand In cased hole gravel packed wells. Numerous types of mechanical isolation valves are in use eg the Knock-Out Isolation Valve (KOIV). therefore. not only must the LCM be sized to bridge the formation but must also be sized such that it will not plug the screens. The closure mechanism (ball or flapper) is held open by the gravel pack service tools during the gravel pack. the use of gravel pack sand as a fluid loss control material can prove to be very beneficial. The results include higher productivity and higher production longevity 1. or open once the well is put on production. For one valve the flapper is made of a friable material which can be broken hydraulically or mechanically prior to producing the well. If sand is utilised in conjunction with the perforating hardware. Most of these mechanical fluid loss devices that prevents completion fluid losses and subsequent damage to the formation after performing a gravel pack.17. The valves need to be cycled open under pressure or with wireline/ coiled tubing.2 Mechanical Fluid Loss Control While Gravel Packing Since any type of fluid loss control pill during the gravel pack operation has the potential of damaging the formation or the pack. potentially damaging fluid loss control agents can be eliminated. Page 18 . if a fluid loss control pill is pumped prior to perforation packing. This represents a special case as. it is advantageous for fluid loss to be controlled through mechanical means whenever possible. The gravel pack service tools can be removed from the well and the completion tubing run. 1.

rubber gloves. all products used in kill pills should have been screened for formation damage potential prior to use.17. surfaces should immediately be washed with detergent and rinsed well with water to remove this hazard. Calcium chloride and calcium bromide salt are exothermic when added to water and high temperatures can develop when mixing these brines. When using brines viscosified with HEC as kill pills. calcium bromide and zinc bromide can be extreme irritants.3. Care must be taken to avoid scalds. brine solutions become more irritating to the skin as the density of the fluid is increased. including. all strong brines have the potential to cause skin irritation and eye damage.3.3. Essentially potassium and sodium chloride and sodium bromide are only mildly irritating whereas calcium chloride. and the temperature is above 220oF a more stable pill. As with LCM pills designed for use in the reservoir. 1. Due to their hygroscopic nature.3. If clothing becomes contaminated clothing must be removed and laundered. All brine and brine related additives must be accompanied by the relevant MSDS product bulletins. 1.18. Initial treatment is prolonged washing with water or in the case of eye contact. The person involved should shower as soon as possible to remove all brines. seek medical attention. The continued wearing of brine wet clothing will eventually result in skin irritation the severity of which will depend on the brine type and strength. for example calcium carbonate. If irritation persists. sacked salts and brine related additives. will be required. Page 19 . dust mask and goggles or face mask. eye was solution. Brine density should be selected to provide sufficient hydrostatic head to kill the well. Prior to any brine related operations a safety meeting should be held to discuss handling procedures and potential risks to safety.1 HSE When working with brines. full protective clothing (PPE) must be utilised.18.18 Field Preparation/Handling Of Completions Fluids 1. After any spillage. As a general rule. Seawater should never be used to dilute completion brines. This should include rubber boots (not leather). for instance on a work over. the lack of long term thermal stability of HEC must be remembered. Brine spillages produce smooth slippery surfaces. In general brines are mixed at the suppliers base in dedicated brine plants prior to shipment to the rig in dedicated brine tanks. To minimise logistics brine are often shipped as concentrated ‘liquors’ which can then be blended and diluted as required at the rig site.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. apron. When long term loss control is required.3 Kill Pills Essentially all of the LCM pills described earlier in this section will function as kill pills. Many of the ions present in seawater may form insoluble scale when they come into contact with formation brines.2 Brine Formulations Formulations to meet a specific density and crystallisation temperature will be supplied by the mud company or brine supplier.

The filters operate on a similar principle to gravel packing with the finer material bridging on the granular layers.19 Brine Cleanliness There is a general acceptance that a significant amount of insoluble material in completion brine is undesirable. usually 30 to 40psi. Page 20 . As the filtered material builds up and the differential pressure increases. Large particles are blocked by the outer surface of the cartridge. Whether a fluid is acceptable will vary with the formation and the operation being performed. These materials may be made from polyester fibre. multimedia filters and diatomaceous earth filters. paper. In recent years specifically designed clean up tools have been developed that provide an engineered approach to well clean up. 10 and 25 micron. Wellbore clean up guidelines are given in section 1. etc.19. however. bag filters. Complicated chemical pills and lengthy filtration is usually required. Cartridges are enclosed in a pressure vessel or pod. Multimedia filters utilize layers of different granular materials like sand. Once this rises to a predetermined level. in most cases. Bag filters are available in the full range down to 2 microns. Cartridge filters are perforated metal or plastic tubes with internal layers of permeable material. with the smaller particles being trapped within the inner layers.3. This is because:   Fluid lost to the formation will carry with it any particulate matter that it contains. Multimedia filters provide higher flow rates and are.1 Filtration There are four main categories of filters utilised to filter brine: cartridge filters. 2.3. As the cartridges become clogged the differential pressure across the pod increases. As the name implies. Cartridge filters are rated as absolute or nominal. Bag filters or sock filters are fabric bags with a controlled mesh size mounted in a filter housing. The cost of obtaining clean fluids can be high. 1. Clean up effectiveness is increased and the time to achieve acceptable conditions has.4. the system can be backwashed. In such a situation a displacement from mud to clear brine can take days rather than hours. used in high volume operations like injection water treatment. In more conventional completions the tolerable level of solids in the completion fluid is subject to much discussion. cotton. 5.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. absolute filters obtain a sharp particle size cut off at the rated size. gravel and garnet. particularly when the reservoir has been drilled with oil based mud. The blocked pod then is taken out of service and the cartridges replaced. A nominally rated cartridge may allow particles larger than its rated size through. been decreased. Cartridge filters are available in 1. If extremely clean fluid is not used in gravel packing operations then severe productivity impairment can be guaranteed. Solids in the brine may settle and compact to such an extent that they interfere with the operation of down hole tools. therefore. The question of ‘how clean is clean enough’ has been debated ever since the concept of formation damage was discovered. Often this process occurs when the AFE has been exceeded and completing the well in the shortest possible time is becoming a priority. flow is switched to the other pod. they are limited in flow rate and dirt capacity and will tend to plug prematurely with high solids content.

1.bp. most brines are on the PLONOR (poses little or no risk to the environment) list and can be discharged (assuming they have not been contaminated with oil) during the coarse of completion operations assuming that they have been included in the PON 15B submission. fluids are often changed out to obtain the appropriate downhole condition for the various planned completions operations. potassium and calcium chloride.3. Filter presses can provide very clean fluid. The most common is the filter press.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is used in a number of filters as a filtering aid. In the UK/Europe. however. Required specification of the fluid left in the hole.htm 1.22 Displacement Techniques Prior to completion operations. care must be taken to prevent any DE going down hole as this can be particularly damaging. removing 90% of particles above 2 microns.20 Brine Recovery Generally service companies will not buy back low weight brines.21 Brine Discharge The discharge of brine is generally covered by local legislation but any planned discharge must be reviewed against BP’s Environmental Expectations. BP’s Environmental Expectations can be found at: http://gbc. In the USA. Fluid to be circulated into the well.bpweb. Some brines (notably Zinc Bromide) could have adverse environmental impacts and should never be discharged. The use of filter presses in tandem with cartridge press to ‘polish’ the brine is a common technique when large volumes of brine must be filtered to a high specification.3.asp? page=http://gbc. A filter cloth is usually fitted over each plate as a receptor for the filter aid like DE. DE is the fossil-like remains of diatoms (microscopic water plants).com/hse/default. Designing a displacement programme can be relatively complex and is dependent on a number of factors including:      Fluid in the well.com/hse/stream_initiatives/upstream_main. Page 21 . Once the plate is closed. However. The filter press consists of a series of recessed face plates which are pressed together with a hydraulic ram. Circulation options (reverse/conventional).bp. recovery and reuse of brines is economically viable and should be considered as the first option. Hole geometry. discharge is covered by the End of Pipeline regulations under the MMS. it must be remembered that BP’s Environmental Expectations go beyond legislative compliance. cartridge filters or bag filters are often placed downstream of the press filter to act as guard filters. Higher density brines have some value and it is often economic to recover the fluid and can be sold back to the supplier. 1.3. Packed diatoms are highly permeable. virtually insoluble and are frequently utilized as filter media. To prevent this. the plates are coated with DE. subject to a reconditioning programme. Generally.bpweb. Perlite is also in common use in filter presses. specifically sodium.

The base fluid is usually fresh water or brine. Fluids may be incompatible when commingled. High Viscosity/Solids-Free Spacers They are usually used when displacing mud from the hole with solids-free brine. The key to a good displacement operation is an understanding of the two fluids and their interactions. This is used to increase the physical removal of mud from pipe and casing. Scouring Spacers These generally precede a viscous solids free spacers with fine frac sand or silica flour providing the abrasive component. They include: Water Based Weighted Spacer Their function is primarily to separate the two fluids. Spacers. Surfactant Spacers They are often used in mud displacement to help disperse or flocculate solids and clean the pipe. with the density of the spacer usually being half way between the mud and the displacement fluid.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management The overall objective in displacing a fluid is to maximise the removal of the first fluid (usually mud) and minimise contamination of the second (usually brine). Various types of spacers are employed for specific purposes. Page 22 . small volumes of specially formulated fluids. This spacer does not need the same density as either of the fluids. Combination Spacers More often than not. Lubricant Spacers These are often used in high angle wells or wells with tortuous geometry. are generally used to avoid potential compatibility problems. The spacer usually consists of lightweight brine with a high concentration of surfactant. causing increases in viscosity and subsequent pumping problems or resulting in the precipitation of solids. In most case sodium chloride or calcium chloride brine are used together with HEC to provide the increased viscosity. HEC and XC polymers are commonly used to increase the viscosity. combinations of the above spacer types are used. They are designed to enable pipe rotation during the displacement. Suppliers of clean up chemicals have software programmes to simulate the clean up operation and optimise pill regime and contact times. spacers are still commonly used to provide a cleaner displacement. provide the carrying capacity and keep the spacer intact. Even when compatibility is not a particular problem. particularly if the fluid being displaced is OBM.

The conventional direction for flow is down the tubing and up the annulus with reverse circulation being the opposite. This problem is usually overcome by using the pump pressure to correct for the difference in hydrostatic head. Prior to displacing a mud. Page 23 . make the clean up less efficient as settled barite is very difficult to remove from the low side of the well. the fluids being pumped will have different densities. efficient logistics planning before and   during   displacement   operations   are   critical. the viscosity should be reduced to a workable minimum. 25– 50bbl) pill of the mud’s base fluid (base oil or brine) to act as a low viscosity spacer. In most instances high pump rates will minimise fluid interfaces during displacements.   for   instance   be   a requirement to have a workboat alongside to take off mud being displaced from the well. i. With two. This can result in a differential pressure across the tubing which can lead to tubing collapse or burst. To avoid these problems cement is pumped with a spacer.Well Clean up Guidelines. and calcium chloride and calcium bromide can accelerate the setting time when mixed in small quantities with the cement. often incompatible. More detailed information and operational learnings are given in Section 1. In deviated wells excessive thinning of the whole mud system can induce barite sag.23 Displacement Procedures Prior to commencing the displacement. polymers and barite. A further problem can occur when reverse circulating in that the upper section of casing may not be capable of withstanding the relatively high pump pressure to overcome the hydrostatic differential.4 . The tubing and casing are free of debris and obstructions. However. fluids onboard.e. The spacer for pumping cement would generally consist of fresh water.3. potassium and sodium brines may cause a delay in thickening time and a loss of strength.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. The fluid in the well is free flowing. there is a risk attached to this that must not be ignored.   There   may. Rather than thinning the whole mud system consideration should be given to pumping a small (e. In most displacements. this is only a general guideline and specific well conditions and pressure limitations may dictate alternative procedures. However.24 Cementing In Completion Brines Brine will generally affect cement in two ways. This could lead to well control problems or at very least. A general rule is to reverse circulate when the fluid being displaced is heavier than the displacing fluid. The rate is often dictated by the frictional pressure drop. it is not gelled.3.g. 1. When possible pipe rotation should be used to break down gel structure sand hence minimise channelling of the displacement fluid. ensure that: a) b) c) Surface equipment is clean and ready to handle both the displacement and displaced fluids.

1. oil from oil based mud and cement scrapped from the casing walls. This can be determined from well histories and the technical help from OSCA and SPS. However.e. etc.4 Wellbore Clean-Out Guidelines The cleaning out and preparation of the wellbore to accept the completion is the key element to enable trouble free installation. Wellbore Clean Up Guidelines can be found on the BP Website at: http://aberdeen. i. fines from the mud system. Sediment is usually easily removed from the well with scraping and hydraulic flushing. If sediment is left in the well it is often more hazardous to some tool operation than debris and is the main cause of formation damage if it makes contact with the producing formations. the efficiency drops. Before describing the clean-out these methods it is worthwhile to look at what the terms sediment and debris mean. 1. they may not have the essential knowledge on the other aspects of the operation and often the compromise is to have the Completion and Petroleum Engineers design the clean-out operation and for the Drilling Department to conduct the operation.1 Sediment Sediment describes the fines particles of rock from the drilling operation. The Drilling Department are usually assigned this task as they are more experienced at running the type of workstring required and pumping pills. Page 24 .BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1.1 Sediment/Debris The following is the general descriptions of sediment and debris.1.bpweb. The advantages of the types of filters vis-à-vis centrifuges can be assessed for each particular well. It is well documented that poor wellbore clean-out is a major source of NPT and has been extremely costly in the past and currently. Filter packages are available to conduct clean-out operations and dependent upon the level of cleanliness required either cartridge or DE filtration is available and on occasions sometimes both are used. Some of the sediment is removed at the shakers and settling tank but some of the smaller particles will remain suspended in the fluids and so it is necessary to remove it mechanically with filters or centrifuges. not properly planned in advance and resulted in poor performance.4. This problem is even greater in high angle wells which are increasingly becoming more widespread as debris or sediment is more difficult to wash out and hangs around in the wellbore.htm A problem that arose in the past is ‘who is responsible for the well clean-out’? In many instances this was never made clear and the procedure then was.com/wellperf/Major_Projects/Wellbore%20Displacement/WD&C.:    Mechanical Hydraulic Chemical In some instances the use of only two of the above may be sufficient. If however it is mixed through larger debris. therefore.bp.4. it is usually necessary to use a mixture of methods. This not only causes failure in tool operation and causes fishing but can also lead to permanent damage to the producing formations due to pore plugging. To obtain optimum wellbore clean-out.

retrieving them or correct operation due to the small clearances and delicate parts such as collets. the seals and possibly the bore will be permanently damaged.4.8.2.2 Debris Debris comes from a number of sources and can be categorised as follows:         Metal solids scraped off the casing or from previous milling operations.4. Due to sediment or debris the tools may either have problems getting to depth. Page 25 . or treating. Gunk. Formation cuttings. dogs and keys.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management To check for the amount of sediment and/or debris contained in the completion fluid. Most packers have a gauge ring to ensure the hole is of sufficient size to get through and protect the delicate parts from contact with the casing wall but debris can get past the gauge ring or fall down onto the packer from a higher larger casing size. rollers. screws.2 Problems Caused By Sediment/Debris The following is a comprehensive list of the problems caused by sediment or debris: 1. it is advisable to run a gauge ring/junk basket combination on wireline before installation of the completion string. 1.4. Sand from the formation or from sand control operations. it is measured by instrumentation.3 Packer Seal Units/PBRs Larger debris can cause havoc when caught between seal units and packer or PBR bores as the can jam the movement and cause leaks.1. If conditions are known to be dirty then some precautions can be taken such as only using plugs less sensitive to sediment or debris and the use of releasable toolstrings to enable better fishing. After conducting a wellbore clean-up. Rubber from packers previously set in the hole for testing.2. Generally after this has occurred. sacks used as hole covers.2 Packers Although more robust than wireline tools.4. swarf. wrenches. therefore it is better to assume the worst case for a well clean-out operation as insurance to cleanout the wellbore. pipe dope or any other sticky substance. tie wraps.1 Wireline Wireline operations are notoriously sensitive to debris due to the need to connect/disconnect from downhole tooling and set/retrieve downhole devices such as plugs on a very low strength wire.e. even if the debris can be flushed out. i. (refer to section 1.1). hence that in the well. etc. 1. etc.4. Metal solids from drillable equipment such as float shoes. squeeze packers. Much of this debris will be unknown to be in the hole and it is extremely difficult to remove. 1. they are susceptible to premature setting due to drag against debris. 1. etc. sand mixed with grease. setting failure due to jamming of the mechanisms or plugging of setting ports.4.2. tape. Gelled mud. Other solid materials left or dropped in the hole such as broken wireline equipment. pens.

Debris rings are also now usually provided to prevent smaller sediment settling out and dropping into the seals. This can lead to blockages and non-operation of downhole equipment. Be able to operate the various tools in the completion string.2. For a more comprehensive explanation of formation damage which can be caused by well bore fluids.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management The most prudent procedure for installing such items is to run them attached to prevent debris an opportunity to get between the items. 1. however there is a minimum level which can be viably achieved. 1. Page 26 .4.3 Aims Of A Wellbore Cleanout The aims of a wellbore clean-out can now be defined to:      Be able to install the completion into the wellbore. Prevent contamination of control line fluids.2. The solution to this problem is thorough flushing of the wellhead and BOP cavities before running the completion.5.5 Tubing Hangers Metal or rubber debris can interfere with the installation of hangers by preventing the hanger from reaching it correct locating/locking position.4. especially if the wellbore fluids can be ejected from the well before it is shut-in. Also in subsea completions the control line ports through the hanger are exposed to the riser before the tree is installed.4. Also the PBR can be damaged by the clean-out operation itself. refer to section 1.4. Enable the locating and setting of the tubing hanger. 1.3. 1. This can be extremely serious in that the wellhead cannot be flushed again until the completion is pulled back to surface.4 Control Lines Control lines used in wireline retrievable surface controlled sub-surface valves are at risk of contamination of the control line fluid when the valve is out of its receptacle. The usual procedure for avoiding this is to pump a sufficient amount of control line fluid through the line before setting the valve. In some completion designs a liner packer PBR system is employed and is even more susceptible to this problem as it is necessary to run the seals down to the PBR already installed.6 Formation Damage Whenever the wellbore fluids come into contact with the formation there is a risk that the smaller particles will plug pore throats even if the fluid is compatible with the reservoir rock. If perforating.2. The remedy in this situation is to have the fluids prepared to a cleanliness level which will least damaging. the use of underbalance methods will help prevent wellbore fluid invasion of the perforations. Enable wireline tools to be installed and retrieved trouble-free. Contamination of the control line fluid results in blockages or damage to the valve. hence non-operation.

etc) Reservoir conditions where the fluid train may contact the formation. perforated liner. Whilst the wellbore clean-out design should never be prescriptive. density and the base fluids which may all have an impact on the performance of the clean-out design.4. available pump HP. low toxicity OBM with specific manufacturer. mechanical removal. etc). Refer to section for fluid guidelines.e. pressure limitations (liner top. To enable these objectives to be achieved it is necessary to ensure the rig has the facilities to provide the fluid capacity. All or a combination of these can be used for a particular well. formation water chemistry. the objectives of a wellbore clean-out are to remove:          All mud solids. i. Page 27 . Sand and debris from perforating operations. The design needs to include a number of aspects:    Mud type – water based or oil based and within this whether pseudo OBM. Laboratory evaluation can be carried out with the drilling fluid to take into account the effects temperature. well metallurgy. where there is formation contact checks can be performed to anticipate and correct for any potential incompatibilities. completion type (slotted liner.4. All mud associated fluids. All contaminants from casing walls. screens. Sand or proppants from stimulation or sand control operations. Metal debris from drillable equipment. the cleanliness. Rendering the surfaces water wet. Metal debris from casing or milling operations.: lithology. Increase effectiveness of removal by causing flocculation.4 Objectives Of A well Clean-Out To achieve the aims detailed in the previous section. etc. hydrocarbon characteristics. All objects which may have fallen in the hole.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. hydraulic removal by circulation and chemical removal. Well conditions – temperature. velocity. 1. pump rates.5 Clean-Out Design As previously described there are three elements to a wellbore clean-out. Rubber and other non-metallic debris from packers and drillable equipment. A clean-out design should be made for each particular situation and there should be no fixed design. Similarly. Maintain well control by using overbalanced density fluids. there are a number of basic aspects to the design which are fundamental:      Avoiding contamination of the brine by preceding the mud using spacers Removal of residual mud and cement by mechanical and chemical means. the continuous rates and pressures required. pressure.

HEC will yield in calcium brines but will not support solids. which is not broken down by subsequent clean up pills Clean up pills containing surfactants can foam during mixing (particularly when put through a hopper) XCD/Biozan are the preferred materials for mixing viscous spacers but do not work in calcium brines. The key roles of these pills are:       Disperse and thin the drilling fluid Compatibility with the drilling fluids Lift out debris and junk Water wet pipe Remove pipe dope Effectively displace the mud 1.4.4. where MD> twice TVD. 50bbl of the base fluid oil can be pumped in the case of oil based muds.2 Best Practices and Design Criteria   The best fluid for thinning a mud is the continuous phase of the mud. length >125m for the largest annular clearance). Contact time (time critical points in the well are exposed to the pill) is important. if MD is < twice TVD. For deep water wells low temperatures can impact surfactant effectiveness. Before any displacement the compatibly of the spacers with the mud and the ability to water wet steel surfaces should be checked at room temperature and 85 oC/185oF to confirm compatibility (in deep water lower temperature tests may be necessary) Page 28 . Pumping fluids to displace oil based fluids without suitable surfactant packages will result in gunk which is insoluble except in very aggressive solvents.6 Pill Design Displacement pills need to be designed carefully to ensure effective mud displacement and water wetting of the casing in the event oil based muds are in use. pills should have an annular fill length >80m.g. for an inflow test) prior to clean up can form gunk.6.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. entering the riser). mixtures of displacement pills and mud have to be separated from the active mud and packer fluid for disposal (zero discharge issues). for water based mud pumping 50bbl of water as the first displacement pill will effectively thin mud. for surfactant pills aim for greater than four minutes 1. Water pumped without surfactants to displace oil muds (e.g. In high mud weight the risk of inducing barite sag needs to be considered (displacement pills thin the mud to the point it can no longer support barite).4. As depth and hole angle increase the minimum pill volume should increase to allow for contamination (e. HSE needs to be considered for all chemicals used.1 Risks And Issues       Well control is a key consideration in selection of the pill sequence as in many cases it is only possible to get thin light fluids into turbulence.g. Pills in turbulence lose their carrying capacity if the annular velocity reduces below that required for turbulence (e.6.

BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management  All tests should be done on field mud samples to ensure mud is effectively sheared. Page 29 .

This section describes the methods of cleaning out of both the surface facilities and the methods applied downhole. little additional benefit is obtained at concentrations above 10%. Solvents are required to remove gunk and pipe dope 1. Before the pits are cleaned. If the waste can be dumped or require to be held for return to base for disposal. Where to keep a supply of water or seawater for mixing the brine. Page 30 .1 Pits And Surface Lines It is pointless to conduct a thorough wellbore cleaning operation if the pits and surface lines contaminate the fluids again. The flowlines are usually cleaned by circulation of a surfactant pill from the same recipe to be used downhole.7.2 Downhole Clean-Out The displacement of mud from a well is a complex physical phenomenon.g.4. Where to make up and segregate the various pills required. Effective isolation between pits is key and heavy fluids have regularly drained across and contaminated lighter fluids in adjacent pits where poor isolation exists between pits. The effectiveness of these systems relies on use of an effective detergent at ambient surface temperatures. the main driving forces which can be used to enhance the displacement are:   Mechanical removal through agitation and density of the fluid Hydraulic removal through friction from circulation rate Chemicals are also used to aid in cleaning the tubing walls and congealing the solids to improve hydraulic removal. New pit washing tools have reduced the requirement for pit entry and reduced waste generation (e. The amount of mud to be retained for kill purposes. Toftjorg in Central North Sea and West of Shetlands).4. the pits and surface lines also need cleaning.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management   Water wetting surfactants are generally effective >3% vol/vol concentrations. How the filtration will be plumbed in to filter the returned brine and feed it back to the supply tank. If the returns can be redirected to avoid the shakers. a review needs to be carried out to determine:          What is the volume and were is the displaced mud to be returned to. Cleaning of the pits and sluices is usually a combination of physical shovelling and high pressure hosing down followed by cleaning with squeegees.7.4. 1. Where the mud should be stored so as it does not mix with the clean wellbore fluids. Which tanks will be the clean brine supply and the returns.7 Procedures Over and above the downhole clean-out. 1.

is the preferred method as large pills of water or seawater are used after the displacement of the chemical pills at as high a rate as is possible to cause maximum agitation and improve efficiency.2). however such materials can cause as much problems as the debris and sediment already in the hole and their use needs to be strongly justified. Hydraulic Displacement Hydraulic displacement is the displacement of the mud system by the circulation of the clean-out fluids at sufficiently high rates to cause enough turbulence to move all the mud. (refer to Figure 13 . In these cases. This is especially important over packer setting areas. B r in e V is c o u s P ill S e a w a te r S e a w a te r V is c o u s P ill C le a n -O u t P ill(s ) V is c o u s P ill S e a w a te r M ud Figure 13. Some operators also pump an abrasive such as nut plug or sand. two methods are available dependent upon whether the borehole is open to the reservoir or not.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management Mechanical Removal The mechanical means is usually by running a scraper or similar function tool on a workstring to mechanically remove cement. debris and sediment out of the hole followed by the brine. In deep or horizontal wells this is often more difficult to achieve due to greater velocity required with casing pressure limitations and available pump rates.2-Indirect Underbalanced Displacement Page 31 . mud and scale from the casing and liner walls. it is often necessary to use one or more circulation devices to enable staging of the process achieving higher rates at shallower stages. These are:   Indirect Underbalanced Displacement Direct Balanced Displacement The former can only be used on wells where the formation is isolated from the wellbore whereas the latter is designed for live well displacement. Indirect underbalanced displacement. To displace the mud from the hole.

BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management The direct balanced method.8 Chemical Removal Chemical removal of sediment and drilling residue. A   large   water   or   seawater   pill   circulated   at   maximum   rate   to   cause   maximum turbulence. the use of circulating subs and a BOP boost line will aid the clean up. then the amounts of chemicals can be reduced appropriately. requires the clean-out pills to be weighted to maintain well control therefore the use of large water or seawater pills is not feasible.4. Surfactant   pill   of   sufficient   volume   to   give   the   correct   contact   time   at   the   rate   of pumping.3-Direct Balanced Displacement Hydraulic flushing is also used to clean-out the wellhead area and BOP cavities with a flushing tool. HiVis pill for segregation. A high flow rate is necessary to obtain a good clean up and with subsea systems which have large bore risers. Brine. B r in e V is c o u s P ill M ud C le a n -O u t P ill(s ) O il B a s e Figure 13. (refer to Figure 13 .3). The chemicals normally used are surfactants and flocculants and there are many commercial products on the market purely produced for well clean-outs. The sequence of pill displacement may vary with the product used but a typical sequence is: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) HiVis pill to segregate the mud and cleaning agents. usually involves circulating chemicals contained in pills which are designed to provide a contact time to remove residue from the walls of the pipe and then flush it to surface. HiVis pill for segregation. Page 32 . 1. Flocculant pill to gather the fines into sizeable clots to aid displacement. Depending on whether water based or oil based mud is used.

 Drag Measurements A rough and ready technique is to monitor drag measurements as drag of the brine is much higher than muds (which are well lubricated). these are described below:  Turbidity This gives an indication of the overall amount of solids in a fluid using a tubidity meter which gives a reading in NTUs. Samples of the pills in and out are also generally retained in order that future investigation can be carried out if the system design is ineffective. the required level of cleanliness can only be achieved providing the level of the fluids in are correct.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1. This method does not actually give a reading of the sizes of the particles or their distribution. However. Fluid cleanliness measurements can be carried out by number of different methods. The cleanliness level is usually determined by measuring samples of the fluids coming out of the well. The Coulter counter is a fragile instrument but was commonly used until the laser instrument was introduced and although more expensive is more suited to offshore applications. Page 33 .  Particle Size Distribution If particle size is of the utmost import. To analyse these a torque/drag model needs to be set up by a drilling engineer. regardless of instrument readings. Scatter of the light gives a reduced reading and therefore an indication of cleanliness. This could give an indication but never to replace instrumentation measures of cleanliness.4.8.1 Brine Cleanliness Measurement The objectives of the clean-out procedure will include the level of cleanliness of the brine required to prevent formation damage.  Volume Percent Solids The use of a centrifuge separates the solids from the fluid and a percentage measurement is obtained. a Coulter counter or laser particle size analyser can be used which gives readings of the sizes of the particles and their distribution. therefore it is common practice to take samples of the fluids being pumped as well. or perhaps simply to get the wellbore sufficiently clean for completion installation. Like the turbidity meter there is no measurement of particle size and distribution.  Mud Residue Mud residue left on the surfaces of the workstring tubulars would be indication that the procedure has not been successful. This reading is achieved by shining a light through the fluid and measuring the amount of light received.

asp? page=http://gbc.bp.htm Page 34 .htm Wellbore Clean Up Guidelines http://aberdeen.com/hse/default.5 References Corrosion Guidelines http://drilling.com/hse/stream_initiatives/upstream_main.bpweb.com/wellperf/Major_Projects/Wellbore%20Displacement/WD&C.com/ BP’s Environmental Policy http://gbc.bpweb.bp.bp.bpweb.bpweb.bp.com/wp/downhole/ Formation Damage Website http://damage.BP Exploration Section 13 – Completion Fluid Guidelines & Well Debris Management 1.bpweb.bp.