The Alba field in the central North Sea is an unconsolidated sandstone reservoir with an average permeability of around three darcies. Maximising productivity and extending completion life has been an evolving process throughout the life of this field. Recent practice is to drill the horizontal reservoir section using a water-based drill-in fluid (DIF) and complete with a circulating open-hole gravel pack (OHGP). One current option employs an oil-based DIF prior to gravel packing in brine. Both of these procedures have allowed higher off-take rates from these wells than previous completion practices.

New advances in the nature of delayed stimulation chemicals and the introduction of more effective additives (generating acid in situ downhole) made it of considerable interest to determine whether productivity could be further enhanced. One major obstacle to overcome was the uncertainty associated with the placement and uniform distribution of the stimulation treatment in a horizontal well, allowing the entire filter cake to be contacted and broken down successfully. This paper describes how the deployment problems were successfully circumvented.

A dual density treatment was employed in which both the upper and lower zones of the horizontal well-bore were targeted so that the filter cake on both the upper and lower surface in the hole would be contacted and attacked. Evidence will be provided indicating the placement resulted in an enhanced productivity index compared to conventional, non-stimulated completions. The new stimulation treatment was effective in wells drilled with either a water-based DIF or an oil-based DIF.

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