Southeast offshore India reservoirs have high-temperature deep water wells with significantly high pressures and unconsolidated sandstone formations. Controlling sand production is a major issue from inception to well completion and throughout the life of the well. A high density brine is required due to the high bottom hole pressures, thus executing sand control operations using such a high density brine as the base fluid for the gravel pack carrier fluid combined with the elevated temperatures is a significant challenge. A case is presented where a high-density temperature-resistant gravel packing fluid was optimized for a BHT of 320°F using a high-density brine. Additionally, the pH of the fluid was crucial considering the significant presence of CO2 in the formation, which was anticipated to affect asset integrity due to corrosion at low pH.

A biopolymer-based fluid with oxidizing breaker was required in 14.2 ppg potassium-cesium formate brine and 12.5 ppg potassium formate brine. The fluid required evaluation for rheology and stability at 320°F, and at a shear rate of 170 s-1 with two conditions of viscosity to be sustained in the range of 75- 150 cP and 150-250 cP for the initial four-hour duration. The same fluid, after four hours, was also required to be broken within fourteen days. The fluid with the optimized formulation in regard with stability and rheology was further required to pass an acceptable sand suspension of ≤ 5% settling. Finally, the optimized fluid was required to show negligible corrosion effects on the downhole metallurgies. The stability and rheology were studied using a HPHT concentric cylinder viscometer. The sand suspension and corrosion characteristics were studied using an HPHT autoclave. The same fluid was studied with an acid breaker as a contingency for wells without CO2-related issues.

After an extensive study, 12.72 gal/Mgal liquid gel concentrate of biopolymer when hydrated in 14.2 ppg and 15.45 gal/Mgal liquid gel concentrate of biopolymer, when hydrated in 12.5 ppg, providing viscosity in the range of 150-250 cP with 3 gal/Mgal and 5 gal/Mgal oxidizing breaker were selected, respectively.

The optimized formulations passed sand suspension and had a pH in the range of 8-10, which imparted negligible corrosion loss to chrome- and nickel-based metallurgies. At the same conditions, the fluid showed acceptable results with 20 gal/Mgal organic acid breaker where the pH was ≤ 7.

The combination of a commonly used biopolymer and a mixed formate brine produced a thermally stable fluid with unconventional chemistry, applicable for high-temperature, high-density conditions. With further study, it is expected that the temperature limit of this fluid can be extended beyond 320°F.

The formulation for potassium formate brine was also tested at using field scale equipment to check for ease of mixing, reproducibility of results and for determining friction values when pumped at a certain rate via shunts. The fluid was mixed with relative ease using standard batch mixers and replicated the properties that were determined on a lab scale. The fluid also depicted superior proppant carrying capacities and lower friction numbers than expected which would enable lowering of overall surface pressures and surface pumping requirements.

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