Coiled tubing (CT) sand plug operations associated with multistage fracturing operations in high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) wells are very challenging, in part because of the small number of such jobs that have been performed worldwide. The wells in "A" field in India have HP/HT formations, with a bottomhole temperature (BHT) of 310°F and a reservoir pressure of 9,000 psi. Although millable bridge plugs are preferred industry-wide, this case illustrates how sand plugs become a suitable alternate solution for multistage stimulation to address space limitations, equipment and completion restrictions, and small tubing sizes, even in challenging downhole conditions. This study provides solutions to operational challenges of low injectivity and completion restrictions, which preclude bullheading and use of conventional bridge plugs. Simulations were sensitized to identify the best solutions for sand settling time, HP/HT conditions, pumping rates, CT speeds, and cleanouts where calcite or scale deposits on sand hinder bottomhole assembly (BHA) penetration.

Best practices are given for sand plug operations in challenging HP/HT environments; those best practices can be applied as a reference to design, prepare, and safely perform CT sand plug jobs in such conditions around the world. To address operational challenges in the cases presented here, the first three stages were bullheaded and the last two (a total 325-m sand plug) were placed using CT. Wireline was run to verify CT sand plug tag at ×200-m measured depth (MD). After the successful refracturing job, the 340-m sand plug was cleaned out, followed by acid spotting and squeeze using CT to rejuvenate the lowest zone. Strict application of the recommendations prevented the occurrence of operational contingencies, such as stuck CT, sand bridging, and settling of sand in surface equipment.

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