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In simple terms, the term 'well completion' refers to the methods
by which a newly drilled well can be finalized so that reservoir
fluids can be produced to surface production facilities efficiently
and safely.
In general, the process of completing a well includes the following:
A method of providing satisfactory communication between the
reservoir and the borehole.
The design of the tubular (casing and tubing) which will be installed
in the well.
An appropriate method of raising reservoir fluids to the surface.

The design, and the installation in the well of the various

components used to allow efficient production, pressure integrity
testing, emergency containment of reservoir fluids, reservoir
monitoring, barrier placement, well maintenance and well kill.
The installation of safety devices and equipment which will
automatically shut a well in the event of a disaster.
In general, a well is the communication link between the surface
and the reservoir and it represents a large percentage of the
expenditure in the development of an oil or gas field.

Before a production well is drilled, a great deal of planning must be
undertaken to ensure that the design of the completion is the best
possible. A number of factors must be taken into consideration
during this planning stage, which can broadly be split into
reservoir considerations and mechanical considerations.

Producing Rate
Multiple Reservoirs
Reservoir Drive Mechanism
Secondary Recovery Requirements
Sand Control
Artificial Lift
Workover Requirements.

Functional Requirements
Operating Conditions
Component Design
Component Reliability


History Of Perforation
In Brief

Prior to the early 1930's , casing could be perforated in place by

mechanical perforators. These tools consisted of either a single
blade or wheel-type knife which could be opened at the desired
level to cut vertical slots in the casing.
Bullet perforating equipment was developed in the early 1930's
and has been in continuous and widespread use since that time.

The major disadvantage with this method were that :1. the bullet remained in the perforation tunnel,
2. penetration was not very good,
3. some casings could not be perforated effectively.

After World War II the Monroe , or shaped charge , principle was

adapted to oil well work , and the resulting practice is now
commonly referred to as jet perforating.
The principle of the shaped charge was developed during World War II
for armor piercing shells used in bazookas to destroy tanks.
This new technology allowed the oil producers to have some control
over the perforating design (penetration and entry hole size) to
optimize productivity.

The objective of perforating a well is to

establish communication between the
wellbore and the formation by making holes
through the casing, cement and into
formation in such a manner so as not to
inhibit the inflow capacity of the reservoir.

To optimize perforating efficiency, it is not only down to the

perforating technique but relies extensively on the planning
and execution of the well completion which includes :
selection of the perforated interval,
fluid selection,
gun selection,
applied pressure differential or underbalance, well clean-

perforating orientation.


As mentioned earlier, wells today are generally cased and

cemented, so in order to allow the well to produce
hydrocarbons, openings must be made through the casing
and cement. These openings (or perforations) are created
using explosive bullets, known as shaped charges, using the
same principle as the militarys armor piercing rounds.

Stages of a shaped charge

during perforating

Unfired Shaped charge

Charge Detonates
Liner Begins To

High pressure jet forms

Pressure wave travels at
8000 ft/sec and 7000,000 psi

Jet becomes more developed

pressure causes jet velocity to
incease to 23,000 ft/sec
Jet elongates Since the back
of the jet travels at a slower
velocity ( 1,000 ft/sec)

The guns containing the shaped charges can

be run into the well using wireline, coiled
tubing, drillpipe or tubing.

Gun Types and Perforation Methods

There are three basic perforating gun types:
Retrievable hollow carrier gun
Non-Retrievable or Expendable gun
Semi-Expendable gun.
1- The retrievable hollow gun carrier
consists of a steel tube into which a shaped charge is secured - the
gun tube is sealed against hydrostatic pressure, The charge is
surrounded by air at atmospheric pressure. When the charge fires,
the explosive force slightly expand the carrier wall but the gun and
the debris within the gun are fully retrieved from the well.

2- The non-retrievable or expendable gun

consists of individually sealed cases made of a frangible material
e.g. aluminum, ceramic or cast iron; Refer to Figure Sb. The
shaped charge is contained within the case and when
detonated, blasts the case into small pieces. Debris remains in
the well.

3- semi-expendable guns
the charges are secured on a retrievable wire carrier or metal
bar., This reduces the debris left in the well and generally
increases the ruggedness of the gun.

Perforation Methods
There are four main types of perforating

Wireline Conveyed Casing Guns

Through-tubing Hollow Carrier Guns
Through-tubing Strip Guns
Tubing Conveyed Perforating Guns.

Wireline Conveyed Casing Guns

These types of guns are generally run in

the well before installing the tubing,
therefore no underbalance can normally
be applied although in large size
monobore type completions some sizes
can be run similar to through-tubing guns
using an underbalance.

The advantage of casing guns over the other

wireline guns are:high charge performance,
minimal debris,
low cost,
highest temperature and pressure rating,
high mechanical and electrical reliability,
minimal casing damage,
instant shot detection,
variable shot densities of 1-12spf,
speed and accurate positioning using CCL/Gamma Ray.

Through-Tubing Hollow Carrier Guns

These are smaller versions of casing guns

which can be run through tubing, hence have
lower charge sizes and, therefore performance,
than all other guns. They only offer 0o or 180o
phasing with a max. of 4 (spf) on the 21/8 OD
gun and 6spf on the 27/8 OD gun. Due to the
stand-off from the casing which these guns may
have, they are usually fitted with
decentralizing/orientation devices.

These are semi-expendable type guns and

consist of
a metal strip into which the charges are
The charges have higher performance and are
much cheaper than through tubing carriers
guns, however they also cause more debris,
casing damage and have less mechanical and
electrical reliability. They also provide 0o or
180o phasing.
A new version called the pivot gun has even
larger charges for deep penetration which pivot
out from a vertical controlled OD to the firing
position. Due to the potential of becoming stuck
through strip deformation, they must have a
safety release connection so they can be left in

Tubing Conveyed Perforating

TCP guns are a variant of the casing

gun which can be run on tubing,
therefore, allowing much longer
lengths to be installed. Lengths of
over 1,000ft are possible (and
especially useful for horizontal wells)
and perforating under exceedingly
high drawdowns is possible with no
risk to the guns being blown up the

The main problems associated with TCP are:

Gun positioning is more difficult
The sump needs to be drilled deeper to accommodate
the gun length if it is dropped after firing
A misfire is extremely expensive
Shot detection is more unreliable.

Due to the longer exposure time because of the

deployment, higher grade charges may also be required.

The advantages of TCP systems are:

Large intervals can be perforated at one time
Easy to perforate in deviated wells
Large gun sizes can be used with high shot densities
Perforating may be carried out in under-balanced
Safest method to perforate.

When the decision is made to perforate, several questions
need to be answered to ensure maximum flow efficiency
from the perforated zone. Some of those questions are;
shot density,

phase angle,
penetration length,

penetration diameter.

Shot Density
Computer programs are used to determine the number of
shots per foot (spf) or shots per meter (spm) required for the
reservoir (using the anticipated production rate of the well).
Regardless of the number of shots, the clean up efficiency
be keptininhomogeneous,
isotropic formations should be a
minimum of 8 spf but must exceed the frequency of shale
If perforating with through-tubing guns, this will require multiple
A shot density greater than this is required where:

Vertical permeability is low.

There is a risk of sand production.
There is a risk of high velocities and hence turbulence.
A gravel pack is be conducted.

Phase Angle
The phase angle or phasing "is the direction in which the
shaped charges are fired relative to the other shots in the
Common phase angles are 45o, 60o, 90o and 120o. This
phasing becomes very important when perforating horizontal
boreholes where you want to perforate only the low side of
the hole or where there are other tubing strings in the well
and the perforations have to be performed around the other
completion strings.

Phase angles for perforating guns

Penetration Length
The actual depth of penetration has a great effect on
performance, therefore it is usually necessary to obtain the
greatest penetration possible. The length of the perforation
is difficult to determine, and tunnel length is generally
provided by the manufactures, based on gum size, test
material (i.e. concrete or sandstone, etc.) and shot type (i.e.
Gravel Pack Charge or Deep Penetrating Charge).
Generally, the deep penetration charge will give a tunnel
between 1 and 2 feet in length, while the gravel pack shot
will only be about 8 inches in length.

Penetration Diameter
Gravel pack charges produce large diameter holes (around 1inch), while the deep penetrating charges will produce an
opening between 0.5 and 0.75 inches in diameter.

Wellbore Conditions While Perforating



Overbalanced Perforating


Completion fluid
in wellbore
Perforations can
be plugged with
debris in wellbore

controls well

Oil or gas

Pres< phyd > pres

Underbalanced Perforating

Well will be
live and need
control after

Completion fluid
in wellbore
Perforations will
be clean from
surge in wellbore

Pres> phyd < pres

Oil or gas


Completion designs may be classified as described below:

Reservoir/Wellbore Interface

In the absence of formation damage, this determines the

rate at which well fluid is transferred from the formation to
the wellbore.
The types of completion involved here are:
Open hole completions
Uncemented liner completions
Perforated liner completions
Perforated casing.

Mode of Production
This relates to the manner that well fluid is transferred from the
wellbore at the formation depth to the surface, i.e.:
Artificial lift.

Number of Zones Completed

This effectively governs the volume of hydrocarbons recoverable
from a single borehole:

1- Open Hole Completions
In this type of completion the
casing is set in place and
cemented above the productive
formation(s). Further drilling
extends the wellbore into the
reservoir(s) and the extended
hole is not cased;

Advantages of open hole completions are:

The entire pay zone is open to the wellbore
Perforating cost is eliminated
Log interpretation is not critical since the entire interval is
open to flow
The maximum wellbore diameter is across the pay zone(s)
reducing drawdown
The well can easily be deepened
Is easily converted to liner or perforated casing completion
Minimal formation damage is caused by cementing.

Disadvantages of open hole completions are:

The formation may be damaged during the drilling process
Excessive gas or water production is difficult to control because
the entire interval is open to flow
The casing is set before the pay zone(s) are drilled and logged
Separate zones within the completion are difficult to selectively
fracture or acidize
Requires frequent clean out if producing formations are not
Limitations of open hole completions are:
Unsuitable to produce pay zones with incompatible fluid
properties and pressures
Mainly limited to hard Limestone formations.

2- Uncemented Liner Completions

In some formations hydrocarbons exist in regions where
the rock particles are not bonded together and sand will
move towards the wellbore as well fluids are produced, this
formation is usually referred to as being 'Unconsolidated'.
The use of uncemented; liners (slotted or screened) act as
a strainer stopping the flow of sand. Liners are hung off
from the foot of the previous production casing and are
usually sealed off within to direct well flow through the liner

Advantages of uncemented liner completions are:

Entire pay zone is open to the wellbore
No perforating cost
Log interpretation is not critical
Adaptable to special sand control methods
No clean out problems
Wire wrapped screens can be placed later.
Disadvantages of uncemented liner completions are:
The formation may be damaged during the drilling process
Excessive water or gas is difficult to control
Casing is set before pay zones are drilled and logged
Selective stimulation is not possible.

Various examples of uncemented liner operations

implementing sand control are as follows:

Slotted Liner

Slot widths depend on the size

of the sand grains in the
formation and are typically
from 0.01 ins. wide upwards,

Wire Wrapped Screen

A liner is drilled with 3/8 ins
to l/Z ins. (9.53 - 12.7 mm)
holes along its length and
is then lightly wrapped with
a special V-shaped wire

Pre-packed Screen
A pre-packed screen is constructed
of an outer and inner wrapped
screens with resin coated gravel
placed between the screens. This
gives a performance better than a
wire wrapped screen but less that
an open hole gravel pack,

External Gravel Pack

In this type of completion,
the open hole is usually
enlarged to about twice its
drilled diameter into which a
screened liner is installed.
Gravel of a selected size,
calculated to prevent
formation sand movement,
is placed between the
outside of the screen and
the formation by using
special gravel pack running

3- Perforated Cemented Liner Completions

In perforated cemented liner
completion designs, the casing
is set above the producing
zone(s) and the pay section(s)
drilled. Liner casing is then
cemented in place that is
subsequently punctured
(perforated) by bullet-shaped
explosive charges. The reason
for requiring the installation of a
liner is generally drilling related
unless a high rate liner or
monobore completion design is
to be used.

Advantages of perforated liner completions are:

Operations are safer during well completion operations
The effect of formation damage is minimised
Excessive water or gas production may be controlled or
The zones can be selectively stimulated
The liner helps impede sand influx
The controlled bore size makes it easier to plan for
Disadvantages of perforated liner completions are:
The wellbore diameter through the pay zone(s) is restricted
Log interpretation is critical
Liner cementation is more difficult to obtain than casing
Perforating, cementing and rig time incurs additional costs.

4- Perforated Cemented Casing Completions

In a perforated cemented casing completion, sometimes
referred to as the 'set through completion, the hole is drilled
through the formation(s) of interest and production casing is
run and cemented across the section. Again, this requires
that perforations be made through the casing and cement to
reach the zone(s) of interest and allow well fluids to flow into
the wellbore.

Methods of completing a well in perforated cemented casing

completions are:
Standard Perforated
Cemented Casing

Internal Gravel Packs This is

where the production casing is
cemented. Perforation of the
producing interval(s) is then
performed and the perforations
cleaned out. A screen is run and
gravel is pumped into the
casing/screen annulus and the
perforation tunnels.

Tubing less Completions
Casing flow completions
are a particularly low-cost
completion method used
in marginal flow
conditions such as low
rate gas wells,

Most operators do not normally use casing Dow completions,
primarily because the production casing is exposed to well
pressure and/or corrosive fluids. Tubingless completions are
potentially hazardous especially in offshore installations as
there is an increased risk of collision damage with no facility to
install down hole safety valve systems. The use of casing flow
production methods are discouraged both offshore and

Tubing Flow Completions

Tubing flow completions utilize the tubing to convey well fluids
to surface. Flow rate potential is much lower in tubing flow than
in unrestricted casing flow completions. As well as for
production, the tubing string can be utilized as a kill string or for
the injection of chemicals.

Tubing strings may also accommodate gas lift valves that

essentially 'gas assists' formation liquids to surface; these
valves would be installed if formation pressure diminished
considerably and natural drive ceased.

The completion engineer should consider the following factors

for tubing/packer type completion installations:
Simplification of the completion for future well servicing
operations (i.e. wireline,coiled tubing, snubbing etc.)
Optimum tubing size for maximum long term flow rate
Future artificial lift needs
Bottom hole pressure and temperature gauge survey hangoff system

Seal movement device to accommodate tubing elongation or

Availability of down hole circulating device

Requirements for down hole corrosion inhibitor injection

Requirements for down hole hydrate inhibitors

Tubing-conveyed perforating (TCP) guns and/or through

tubing guns for underbalanced perforating
Fluids to be used i.e. drilling muds, completion fluid, wellbore
Well killing.

By far the most common methods of completing a well is to

use a single tubing string/packer system where the packer is
installed in the production casing to offer casing protection,
subsurface well control, and an anchor for the tubing.

Other equipment commonly installed in tubing string

completions to facilitate safer production may be:
Wireline Nipples

Permits the installation of flow controls or plugs.

Tubing Retrievable
Safety Valve

For emergency well shut-in.

Safety Valve Landing Permits the installation of a Surface Controlled

Subsurface Safety Valve (SCSSV)for emergency shut-in.
Flow Couplings

Absorbs erosion caused by turbulence and abrasion.

Circulating Device

Fitted above the packer for circulating purposes

Tubing Seal Device

To allow tubing movement.

Artificial Lift
When a reservoir's natural pressure is insufficient to
deliver liquids to surface production facilities, artificial lift
methods are necessary to enhance recovery.

There are various artificial lift completion methods and the

key completion considerations are:
Rod Pump Lift
These pumps consist of a cylinder and piston with an intake and discharge
valve. Vertical reciprocation of the rod will displace well fluid into the
tubing; These are utilized in low to moderate wells which deliver less than
4,500 BPD (318m3 / day).
Key considerations are:
The annulus is open to gas flow
A tubing anchor may be required to reduce rod and tubing wear/ stress
The pump diameter must be of sufficient size
The rods must be properly sized.

Hydraulic Pump Lift

Hydraulic pump lift is utilized in crooked holes, for heavy oils
and variable production conditions that cause problems for
conventional rod pumping.
Key considerations for the use of hydraulic pumps are

The number of flow conduits (production and power)

Pressure losses in the power and return lines
Whether produced liquid can return up the casing
Lubricator access to pump-in jet or piston units
The large casing size required for turbine units
The power fluid/oil separation facilities required
The higher initial costs.

Plunger Lift
The plunger lift system, is a low rate lift system in which
annulus gas energy is used to drive a plunger carrying a
small slug of liquid up the tubing when the well is opened at
surface. Subsequent closing of the well allows the plunger
to fall back to bottom.
Plunger lift is useful for de-watering low rate gas wells.
Key considerations are:
The tubing must be drifted prior to installation
The annulus is open to store lift gas
A nipple/ collar stop must be installed to support a catcher
and shock absorber.

Gas Lift
Gas lift supplements the flow process by the addition of compressed gas
which lightens the liquid head, reduces the liquid viscosity, reduces
friction and supplies potential energy in the form of gas expansion,
Continuous gas lift is used to lift liquid from reservoirs that have a high
productivity index (PI) and a high bottom hole pressure BHP.
Intermittent lift is used in reservoirs that exhibit low PI/low BHP, low PI/high
BHP, or high PI/low BHP.
Liquid production can range from 300 - 4,000 bbls/ day (48 - 636 m3/ day)
through normal size tubing strings. Casing flow can lift up to 25,000 bbls/
day (3,975m3/ day).
Key considerations for gas lift are:
Tubing size
The need for a packer
Setting depths for gas-lift valves.

Single Zone Completions

Flowing wells that are equipped with a single tubing string

are usually completed with a packer. Single zone
completions include the downhole co-mingling of production
from several intervals within a pay zone.

Multiple Zone Completions

When a well has multiple pay zones a decision must be made
either to:

Produce the zones individually, one after the other, through a

single tubing string and the annulus
Complete the well with multiple tubing strings and produce
several zones simultaneously
Co-mingle several zones in a single completion

Produce only one zone from that well and drill additional wells
to produce from the other pay zones.

The advantages of multiple zone completions:

Some individual zone production
Reduced well cost.

Disadvantages of multiple zone completions are:

Production casing is exposed to well pressure and
corrosive fluids
Tubing can be stuck in place due to solids settling from the
upper zone
The lower zone must be killed or plugged off before
servicing can be
done on the upper zone
The lower zone must be plugged off to measure any flowing
bottom hole temperature associated with the upper zone.

Multi-zone completions not only provide the

separation of various zones but also the
separation of individual pay sections within a
thick pay zone.

'Multi-zonal' wells are prime candidates for horizontal
completions as are formations that have naturally fractured
networks from which large production increases can be


14. Production Packer

A re-entry guide generally takes one of two forms:

A. Bell Guide
The Bell Guide; Figure 1, has a 45
lead in taper to allow easy re-entry
into the tubing of well intervention
tool strings (i.e., wire line or coiled
tubing). This guide is commonly
used in completions where the end
of the tubing string does not need to
bypass the top of a liner hanger.

B. Mule Shoe
The Mule Shoe Guide; Figure 1,
is essentially the same as the Bell
Guide with the exception of a
large 45 shoulder. Should the
tubing land on a liner lip while
running the completion in the well,
the large 45 shoulder should
orientate onto the liner lip and
kick the tubing into the liner.


A Landing Nipple is a short tubular device with an internally

machined profile which can accommodate and secure a locking
device called a lock mandrel run usually using wireline well
intervention equipment. The landing nipple also provides a
pressure seal against the internal bore of the nipple and the
outer surface of the locking mandrel.

Common uses for landing nipples are as follows:

Installation points for setting plugs for pressure testing,
setting hydraulic-set packers or isolating zones
Installation point for a sub-surface safety valve (SSSV)

Installation point for a downhole regulator or choke

Installation point for bottomhole pressure and temperature

In highly deviated wells, it may not be possible to use Landing
Nipples at inclinations greater than 70. Wireline operators
commonly use Landing Nipples for depth references. Although
Their Primary Function is as locating devices.

The plugs that may be installed in Landing Nipples are:

Plug with shear disc (pump-open)
Plug with equalizing valve
Plug with non-return valve.

and the choice of plug depends on the pressure control

required and the chances of retrieval.

All of the landing nipples have at least two points in common

1/ locking grove: allowing the tool to be mechanically locked in

the landing nipple

2/ a seal bore where seal is made between landing nipple and

the tools

There are to main types of landing nipple

1- full bore simple landing nipple :It contains:
* Full bore simple called full bore
* Full bore selective called selective
* Full bore top no go called top no-go

2- bottom no go landing nipple :

Full Bore Simple :

Have only got a locking grove and seal
Maximum mandrel diameter is less then
landing nipple nominal diameter
1- Single and dual completions
1- Maximum reliability and
simplicity of locating

Full Bore Selective :

Selection key on the mandrel first into
the selection profile of the landing
Maximum mandrel diameter less than
landing nipple nominal diameter

1- Single and dual completions

Full Bore Top No Go :

The upper part of these landing

nipples is over size in comparison with
the seal bore
So the mandrel with no-go ring of a
diameter larger than the landing nipple
nominal diameter.
The downward locking by no-go can
be released using downward jarring.

Bottom No Go :

It can include a system of locking dogs

that lock the mandrel upward.
During the setting operation the tool must
be seated gently on its landing nipple.
The completion equipment may then
have to be pulled out in order to retrieve
Manufactures called them bottom no-go.


This is a joint of tubing included for the specific purpose of

protecting bottom hole pressure and temperature gauges from
excessive vibration while installed in the landing nipple directly

A Perforated Joint, may be incorporated in the
completion string for the purpose of providing bypass
flow if bottom hole pressure and temperature gauges
are used for reservoir monitoring. The design criteria
for a Perforated Joint is that the total cross-sectional
area of the holes should be at least equivalent to the
cross sectional area corresponding to internal
diameter of the tubing.


A Sliding Side Door (SSD) or Sliding

Sleeve, allows communication between
the tubing and the annulus. Sliding Side
Doors consist of two concentric sleeves,
each with slots or holes. The inner sleeve
can be moved with well intervention tools,
usually wireline, to align the openings to
provide a communication path for the
circulation of fluids.

Sliding Side Doors are used for the following purposes:

To circulate a less dense fluid into the tubing prior to
To circulate appropriate kill fluid into the well prior to workover
As a production devices in a multi-zone completion
As a contingency should tubing/tailpipe plugging occur
As a contingency to equalize pressure across a deep set plug
after pressure integrity testing
To assist in the removal of hydrocarbons below packers.

As with all communication devices, the
differential pressure across SSDs should be
known prior to opening.

In some areas, the sealing systems between

the concentric sleeves are incompatible with
the produced fluids and hence alternative
methods of producing tubing-to-annulus
communication is used (e.g. Side Pocket
Mandrel, Tubing Perforating).

Flow Couplings are used in many
completions above and/ or below a
completion component where
turbulence may exist to prevent loss
of tubing string integrity and
mechanical strength due to internal
erosion directly above and/or below
the component. Turbulence may be
caused by the profiles internal to a


In multi-zone completions, Blast

Joints are commonly used to
prevent loss of tubing string
integrity due to external erosion
resulting from the jetting actions
directly opposite producing


A Side Pocket Mandrel (SPM), along

with its through bore, contains an offset
pocket which is ported to the annulus.
Various valves can be installed/retrieved
into/ from the side pocket by wire line
methods to facilitate annulus-to-tubing

Side pocket valves, which provide a seal above and below

the communication ports, include:
Gas Lift Valves
when installed in the SPM, the valve responds to the pressure
of gas injected into the annulus by opening and allowing gas
injection into the tubing. In a gas lift system, the lowest SPM is
that used for gas injection into the tubing and the upper SPMs
are those used to unload the annulus of completion fluid down to
the point of gas injection.
Chemical Injection Valves
these allow injection of chemicals (e.g. corrosion inhibitors) into
the tubing. They are opened by pressure on the annulus side.

Circulation Valves

these are used to circulate fluids from the annulus to the

tubing without damaging the pocket.
Equalization Valves
are isolation and pressure equalization devices that prevent
communication between the tubing and the annulus, and
can provide an equalization facility by initially removing a
prong from the valve.

Differential Kill Valves

these are used to provide a means of communication
between the annulus and the tubing by the application of
annulus pressure. An SPM with a differential valve installed
provides the same function as a Sliding Side Door.
Dummy Valves
these are solely isolation devices that prevent ommunication
between the tubing and the annulus.

An SPM may be used as a circulation device in preference to an SSD as
side pocket valves may be retrieved for repair and/or seal replacement.


The purpose of an SSSV is to shut off flow from a well in the

event of a potentially catastrophic situation occurring. These
situations include serious damage to the wellhead, failure of
surface equipment, and fire at surface. Different operating
companies have differing philosophies on the inclusion an
SSSV .For example, in an offshore well, at least one SSSV
is placed in every well at a depth which varies from 200 ft to
2,000 ft below the sea bed. The depth at which an SSSV is
installed in a completion is dependent on well environment
(onshore, offshore), production characteristics (wax or
hydrate deposition depth), and the characteristics of the
safety valve (maximum failsafe setting depth).

SSSVs can be divide into type groups according to their

method of operation:
A. Direct Controlled Safety Valves

These are designed to shut in the well when changes occur

in the flowing conditions at the depth of the valve, that is,
when the flowing condition exceed a pre-determined rate or
when the pressure in the tubing at the depth of the valve
falls below a pre-determined value. Such valves are often
called 'storm chokes'. These valves are termed Sub-Surface
Controlled Sub- Surface Safety Valves (SSCSVs).

B. Remote Controlled Safety Valves

These are independent of changes in well conditions and are

actuated open usually by hydraulic pressure from surface via a
control line to the depth of the safety valve. Loss of hydraulic
pressure will result in closure of the valve. A number of
monitoring pilots or sensing devices can be linked to the safety
system, each pilot capable of causing the valve to close if it
senses a potentially dangerous situation. These valves are
termed Surface Controlled Sub- Surface Safety Valves

An SCSSVs run on wireline is called a wireline retrievable

safety valve (WRSV)and is installed in a special safety
valve landing nipple (SVLN) which is made up as part of
the completion string. A control line external to the tubing
provides hydraulic pressure to actuate the valve open.
The main advantage of utilizing a WRSV is that

it can be economically retrieved for inspection.

A primary disadvantage of a WRSV is related to

its restricted bore which does present a restriction to flow,

and can cause hydrate or paraffin plugging if the appropriate
conditions exist

An SCSSVs run as part of the tubing string is called a

tubing retrievable safety valve (TRSV). Again, a control line
external to the tubing provides hydraulic pressure to
actuate the valve open.
The main advantage of a TRSV is that
unrestricted flow is provided by its full-bore design which
does not contribute to hydrate or paraffin plugging problems.
The main disadvantage is
that in the event of a critical failure of the valve, the
completion string must be pulled and this can be an
extremely expensive operation. This disadvantage has been
partially overcome by the development of lock open tools for
the TRSV and the provision for a surface controlled wireline
retrievable insert valve to be installed in the body of the


In gas lift systems where a large amounts of pressurized gas
exists in the tubing-casing annulus, Annulus Safety Valves
may be incorporated to contain this gas inventory in the
annulus in the event that the wellhead becomes damaged.

In certain circumstances it is desirable to control a well with a

down hole choke in preference to a surface choke as is
normal practice. This may be required for two main reasons,
1. For the control of hydrate formation
2. For the control of wax deposition in the tubing string,
usually found between surface and a depth of 2,000 ft

If the choke is to be installed for the control of hydrates, a

downhole choke would be installed as deep as possible in the
well ,and would have the following advantages/ disadvantages
Surface operations are safer due to the reduced surface
pressure during flow periods.
The pressure and temperature drop are taken in a hotter
environment, reducing the likelihood of hydrate formation.
Methanol injection should not be necessary. This avoids
potential handling problems at surface as methanol is a
hazardous material.

The cost of a downhole choke is greater than an equivalent surface
The flowing pressure immediately downstream of the downhole choke
must be calculated to ensure critical flowing conditions.
If any change in the flow rates are required, the choke must be removed
from the well using wireline, and a replacement installed.
An adjustable choke must be installed at surface to control the well
when bringing the well back into production. The well would be brought
on gradually with the adjustable choke until the well is being controlled
by the downhole choke. The adjustable surface choke would then be
opened fully.

If the installation of a downhole choke is for the control

of wax deposition it may be installed immediately below
the wax formation depth , And would have the following
advantages / disadvantages
When the downhole choke is installed wax deposition is eliminated for
two reasons. Firstly, the fluid flow downstream of the choke is turbulent
and secondly the velocity is greater.
Expensive slickline wax cutting operations are not required.
Wax inhibitors are generally xylene based, are a known cancer agent,
and are expensive.
The disadvantages are the same as listed above for hydrate control.

Down Hole Choke



The Tubing Hanger is a completion component which sits
inside the Tubing Head Spool and provides the following
Suspends the tubing
Provides a seal between the tubing and the tubing head
Installation point for barrier protection.
The Tubing Head Spool provides the following functions:
Provides a facility to lock the tubing hanger in place
Provides a facility for fluid access to the 'A' annulus
Provides an appropriate base for the completion Xmas Tree.

An Xmas Tree is an assembly of valves, all with specific
functions, used to control flow from the well and to provide well
intervention access for well maintenance or reservoir
A Xmas Tree may be a composite collection of valves or,
more commonly nowadays, constructed from a single block.
The solid block enables the unit to be smaller and
eliminates the danger of leakage from

flanges. Typically, from bottom to top, an Xmas Tree will contain

the following valves:
Lower Master Gate Valve

Manually operated and used as a last

resort to shut in a well.

Upper Master Gate Valve

Usually hydraulically operated and also

used to shut in a well

Flow Wing Valve

Manually operated to permit the

passage of hydrocarbons to the
production choke.

Kill Wing Valve

Manually operated to permit entry of

kill fluid to into the tubing.

Swab Valve

Manually operated and used to allow

vertical access into the tubing for well
intervention work.


These are telescoping

devices, usually used in a
completion string above a
retrievable packer to
compensate for tubing
movement and possibly to
prevent premature release of
the packer from the well.


A production packer may be defined
as a sub-surface component used to provide a seal
between the casing and the tubing in a well to prevent the
vertical movement of fluids past the sealing point, allowing
fluids from a reservoir to be produced to surface facilities
through the production tubing.
In general, packers are constructed of hardened slips
which are forced to bite into the casing wall to prevent
upward or downward movement while a system of
rubberized elements contact the casing wall to effect a

There are three basic types used in completion designs:

1. Permanent
2. Retrievable
3. Permanent Retrievable.

1- Retrievable Packer Systems : The definition of a retrievable packer is that it is

installed and retrieved on the completion tubing.
They have advantages in that they can be installed
in high angle wells although their operating
differential pressure rating, temperature rating and
bore size are less than equivalent permanent

Retrievable packers tend to be used for the following


Completions which have relative short life span.

Where there is likely to be workovers requiring full bore
Multi-zone completions for zonal segregation.
I n relatively mild well conditions.
Retrievable packer setting mechanisms are by:
Tubing tension
Tubing compression
Hydraulic pressure
Tubing rotation.

2- Permanent Packer Systems

The definition of a permanent packer is that it is retrieved from
the well by milling. Permanent packers have high differential
pressure and temperature ratings and larger bores. They
have many options of both tailpipe and packer-tubing
attachments to cater for a large range of applications such as:
Severe or hostile operating conditions with differential
pressures > 5,000psi and temperatures in excess of 300oF
and high stresses.
Long life completions.
Where workovers are expected to be above the packer,
hence not requiring its removal which is costly.
Where workovers are expected to be above the packer and
the packer tailpipe can be used for plugging the well and
isolating foreign fluids from the formation.

Providing large bore for high rate wells.

Permanent packer setting mechanisms are by:

Wireline explosive charge setting tool.
Tubing tension.
Hydraulic pressure by workstring setting tool or
on the completion string.
Tubing rotation.

NOTE: In general, permanent production packers can

withstand much greater differential pressures than
the equivalent retrievable packer.

3- Permanent/ Retrievable Packer Systems

Permanent retrievable packers are a hybrid of the
permanent style packer designed to be retrieved on a
workstring without milling. They offer similar performances
as permanent packers but generally have smaller bores.

All the packers above can be equipped with

tailpipes to accommodate wireline downhole tools
such as plugs, standing valves, BHP gauges, etc.

Completion Design Example 1

Consider the casing schematic in Section 1 Figure 1. The objective is to
design a completion string for this well with following basic functional
To provide optimum flowing conditions
To protect the casing from well fluids
To contain reservoir pressure in an emergency
To enable downhole chemical injection
To enable the well to be put in a safe condition prior to removing the
conduit (i.e.. to be killed)
To enable routine downhole operations.

The completion design of Figure 1 also addresses the other functional

requirements of:
Suspension the tubing
Compensation for expansion or contraction of the tubing

Internal erosion of the tubing

Protection of the reservoir during well kill operations
Pumping operations for well kill
Well intervention operations out of the lower end of the tubing
Pressure integrity testing
Reservoir monitoring
Installation points for well barriers.

The component selection for this completion is shown in

Table 1.

Completion Design Example 2

Figure 2 shows another example of a Single

Zone Single String Completion that illustrates
additional functional requirements.

The component selection for this completion is shown

in Table 2:


By definition a completion or work over fluid is

a fluid placed against the producing formation conducting such
operations as Well killing, cleaning out, and drilling in plugging
back, controlling sand, or Perforating.
Basic completion and work over fluid functions are to

1.facilitate movement of treating fluids to a particular point

down hole
To remove solids from the well and
3.To control formation pressures.
Required fluid properties vary depending on the operation
but the possibility of formation damage should always be an
important concern.

These points should be considered in selecting

a workover or completion fluid:
1. Fluid Density
Fluid density should be no higher than needed to control formation
2. Solids Content
Ideally, the fluid should contain no solids to avoid formation and
perforation plugging, particles up to 5 micron size caused
significantly more plugging than particles less than 2 micron size in
both cases plugging occurred within the core channels.
3. Filtrate Characteristics
Characteristics of the filtrate should be tailored to minimize formation
damage Considering swelling of dispersion of clays, wettability
changes, and emulsion stabilization.

4. Fluid Loss
Fluid loss characteristics may have to be tailored to prevent loss of
excessive quantities of fluid to the formation, or to permit
application of "hydraulic stress" to an unconsolidated sand
5. Viscosity-Related Characteristics
Viscosity-Related Characteristics, such as yield point, plastic viscosity,
and gel strength. May have to be tailored to provide fluid lifting
capacity required to bring sand or cuttings to the surface at
reasonable circulating rates.
Lab tests show that many viscosity builders cause permanent reduction
in permeability. This can be minimized by careful polymer selection
along with adequate fluid Joss control to limit invasion.

6. Corrosion Products
The fluid should be chemically stable so that reaction of
free oxygen with tubular steels is minimized, and that iron
in solution is sequestered and not permitted to precipitate
in the formation.
A reasonable upper limit on corrosivity for a completion or
workover fluid is 0.05 Ib/ft2. (About 1 mil) per workover. For a
packer fluid, the corrosivity target should be about 1 mil per
year, but 5 mils per year are considered to be an acceptable
upper limit.
7. Mechanical Considerations
Rig equipment available for mixing, storage, solids removal, and
circulating is often a factor in fluid selection
8. Economics
The most economical fluid commensurate with the well's susceptibili
to damage should


There are two basic approaches to minimize formation damage due to
solids entrained in the completion fluid
Complete Solids Removal
To be effective Fluid in contact with the formation must not contain any.
Solids larger than 2 micron size.
Complete Fluid Loss Control

To be effective, particles must not be allowed to move past the

face of the formation into the pore system.


Availability makes crude oil a logical choice where its density is
Density considerations may make it particularly desirable in low
pressure formations
Low-viscosity crude has limited carrying capacity and no gel strength
and thus should drop out non-hydrocarbon solids in surface pits.

Oil is an excellent packer fluid from the standpoint of minimizing

corrosion, and gel strength can be provided to limit solids settling.

Loss of oil to the formation is usually not harmful from the

standpoint of clay disturbance or from saturation effects Crude oil
should always be checked for the presence of asphaltenes or
paraffins that could plug the formation. This can be done in the
field using API Fluid loss test equipment to observe the quantity of
solids collected on the filter paper.
Crude oil should be checked for possibility of emulsions with
formation water.
Diesel Oil-This may be ideal where an especially clean fluid is
required for operations such as sand consolidation It may even be
advantageous to work under pressure at the surface where the
density of diesel oil is not sufficient to overcome formation


Source of Water
Formation Salt WaterWhen available, formation salt water is a common workover fluid since
the cost is low. If it is clean, formation salt water is ideal from the
standpoint of minimizing formation damage due to swelling or
dispersion of clays in sandstone formations.
Seawater or Bay WaterDue to availability, it is often used in coastal areas. Again, it frequently
contains clays and other fines that cause plugging.
Untreated bay- water caused serious plugging of Cypress sandstone
cores. Depending on the salinity of Bay water, it may be necessary to
add NaCl or, KCL to prevent day disturbance

Prepared Salt WaterFresh water is often desirable a basic fluid due to the difficulty of
obtaining clean sea or formation water
Desired type and amount of salt is then added. Where clean
brine is available at low cost, it may be preferable to purchase
brine rather than mix it on location.

From the standpoint of preventing formation damage in sandstones
due to disturbance of montmorillonite or mixed-layer clays, the
prepared salt water should, theoretically, match the formation water in
cation type and concentration.

It is difficult to match formation brine, however, and laboratory results

show that
1% to 5% sodium chloride, 1 % calcium chloride, or 1 % potassium
chloride will limit swelling of clays in most formations.
Limitations of CaCl2-In certain formations sodium montmorillonite can
be flocculated (shrunk) by contact with calcium ions even in low
concentrations. Thus, the clay may become mobile and could cause
permeability reduction.

Where this is the case, 1% or 2% potassium chloride should be

used rather than calcium chloride since the potassium ion will
prevent swelling in addition, low concentrations will not flocculate
the sodium montmorillonite.

Perforating fluids are not necessarily-a distinct type of fluid, but are
distinguished here to emphasize the importance of perforating in a nosolids fluid .
Salt Water or Oil
When clean, these do not cause, mud plugging of perforations, but
if the pressure differential is into the formation, fine particles of
charge debris will be carried into the perforation.
Acetic Acid

This is an excellent perforating fluid under most conditions. In the

absence of H2S, acetic acid can be inhibited against any type of steel
corrosion for long periods at high temperatures.

This has advantages as a perforating fluid in low pressure
formations, or where rig time or swabbing costs are very
high, or where special test programs make it imperative that
formation contamination be avoided.
Gas Wells
These can be completed economically in clean fluid by
perforating one or two holes, bringing the well in and cleaning to
remove as much well bore fluid as possible, then perforating the
remaining zones as desired.

Criteria Water-base drilling mud as used today are generally not good packer mud.

An acceptable packer fluid must meet two major criteria:

Limit settling of mud solids and/or development of high gelation

Provide protection from corrosion or embrittlement.


Condition A
No high strength pipe involved in completion (N-80 is borderline case).
Packer fluid density of less than 11.5 ppg required.

1. Use diesel oil or sweet crude treated with an inhibitor where density
requirements permit.
2. Use clear water or brine with an inhibitor and a biocide. Inhibitor and
biocide must be compatible.

Condition B
No high strength pipe involved in completion. Fluid density greater
than 11.5 ppg required. Bottom-hole temperature does not exceed

1. Economics of work over must be considered. Where walkover are

inexpensive, a water-base mud treated with a biocide might be
economical. Tests should be made to ascertain that mud does not
contain soluble
Sulfide: pH should be maintained at 11.5 for a few days prior to

completion if possible. Solids should be kept to a minimum to avoid

gelation with high pH.
2. In remote locations where workovers are expensive or where
workover frequency has been found to be high with water-base muds,
use a properly formulated oil mud.

Condition C
A.No high strength pipe involved in completion. Density of more
than 11.5 ppg required. Bottom-hole temperature exceeds 300F.
1. Use properly formulated oil mud.
Condition D
High strength pipe to be used. Under any condition of fluid density or
bottom-hole temperature.

1. Where fluid density requirements permit, use oil treated with both an
oil-soluble and a brine-dispersible corrosion inhibitor.
2. Use oil mud formulated to meet density and temperature

'Circulation rather than bull heading is the preferable, way to kill conventional
An adjustable choke should be used to hold casing back pressure on the
formation when killing a well by circulation. For a high pressure well, a Swaco
well. Control choke may be desirable.

For single completions on a packer, the recommended

procedure is as follows: Fill the annulus.
Open circulating, port in tubing or punch hole in tubing above packer.
Pump slowly down casing-tubing annulus (1/4-1/2 BPM) as wireline
tools are retrieved to build up a back pressure on formation.
After wire line tools are retrieved, pump at a constant rate of 2-3 BPM
to build up 200--300 psi on tubing.
Maintain a constant pump rate and manipulate the adjustable choke,
controlling tubing returns to keep casing pressure constant.

For a tubing less completion or where circulation is not

possible bull heading a non-damaging fluid is best if formation
will take fluid without breakdown or fracture. Here are four
important points.
Breaking down the formation may cause difficult squeeze cementing
and producing problems.
For "bullhead" well killing the surface pressure plus fluid gradient
times depth should be less than formation breakdown pressures.
It may be necessary to have a surface pressure regulator to prevent
It is necessary to break down the-formation; the size of the resulting
fracture can be minimized by low injection rates and high fluid loss.


Stimulation Methods
Well stimulation was mentioned as a means of increasing well
productivity. Several methods may be applied, depending on
the individual situation.
The three principal stimulation methods in their chronological
order of development are:

1. Nitro-shooting.
2. Acidizing .
3. Hydraulic Fracturing.

The use of explosives to improve productivity is practically as old as the oil

This involves the placing and detonating of an explosive

adjacent to the producing strata, the explosion shatters and
fractures the rock, which enlarges the borehole and increases
permeability, thereby increasing productive capacity.
The explosive is placed in suitable containers (of tell called
torpedoes) and lowered to the desired open hole interval. The
upper casing is protected by placing a temporary plug, tamped
with cement, plastic, and/or gravel above the shot. The shot is
detonated with a time bomb. The well must then be cleaned of
debris prior to being placed on production.
Solidified or gelatin type nitroglycerm is commonly used.


Bore-hole enlargement combined with fracturing.

Not selective to single fracture at weakest bedding plane.
No hydrostatic or fluid effect on permeability.
Stimulant itself relatively inexpensive.

1. Clean out problems and expense.
2. Hazard to personnel, well, equipment.
3. Limited to open-hole completions.


Goal of Acidizing

0 _______________ 1 m

Remove Damage and Restore Orginal Well


Acidizing involves the injection of acid into an acid-soluble

pay zone where Its Dissolving action enlarges existing voids
and thereby increases the permeability of the zone.
The acid commonly used is 15% hydrochloric (by weight)
which reacts with limestone or other carbonates according to
the following reaction
2HCI + CaC03 ~ CaCl2 + H20 + CO2
Only the carbonate rocks are generally susceptible to
acid treatment; however, some sands have sufficient
calcareous content (usually cementing material) to warrant

Numerous additives are used in the acid, including

Inhibitors to retard corrosion of casing and tubing.

Non-emulsifying agents are often added to prevent formation of
an oil-acid emulsion during the stimulation treatment. Such
emulsions, if formed, are often highly viscous and cause
permeability damage which can largely cancel the benefits of the
treatment. This emulsifying tendency varies with the crude oil, and
selection of the proper non-emulsifying agent is best determined
from tests with the field crude oil
Since HCl does not react with silicates, it will not dissolve mud
cake. Special solutions called mud acids have been developed for
this purpose. And are often used, in relatively small volumes, either
to prepare the well bore for a conventional treatment, or to serve
as the sole means of stimulation.

The chemical nature of mud acid varies among service

companies; however, a common type is a mixture of

HCL + HF (hydrofluoric acid),

The hole is initially filled with oil or another fluid, and then
acid is pumped down the tubing while the casing annulus
valve at the well head is left open to permit discharge of the
displaced oil at the surface. When sufficient acid volume has
been injected to displace the entire tubing string and annular
section opposite the pay zone, the annulus valve is closed.
Continued pumping forces the acid into the Formation. Oil is
then used to displace the last of the acid. Afterwards, the
pressure is released and the well either is allowed to back
flow or is swabbed to remove the spent acid and residue, and
is then placed on production. In wells completed with tubingcasing packers, slightly altered, but basically similar, methods
are used.

In general, the most permeable spots receive the bulk of the

treatment. To prevent this, the injection pressure is generally
maintained at the highest possible level in an attempt to obtain
more uniform treatment.

Of the entire pay selection since this practice is not entirely

satisfactory, many methods of selective treating have been
developed whereby more uniform coverage is obtained.
These include the use of temporary blocking agents, as well
as t the use of multiple packer arguments to isolate specified

There is always some question as to the quantity of acid to be used in

a particular case.
Generally, a conventional acid job does not create fractures but merely
Enlarges existing voids in nearly all cases,

In highly permeable sections where acidization is required only

because of damage, a small 500 gallon mud acid treatment may be
more than adequate.
In other cases several thousand gallons of Hcl may be required to
obtain a reasonable increase in productivity.
In unfractured limestone sections, acidization may yield little if any

1. Moderate bore-hole enlargement.
2. Primarily adapted to formations of appreciable calcareous content
(not generally adaptable to sandstone).
3. Cleans out, enlarges, and interconnects fractures, vugs, other
4. Stimulant relatively inexpensive.
5. Adaptable to both open-hole and set-through completions.

1. May require residue cleanout.
2. Somewhat hazardous and corrosive.

Hydraulic Fracturing
The basic procedure involves
the injection of a fracturing fluid and propping agent into the pay
zone under sufficient pressure to open existing Fractures and/or
create new ones.

These are extended some distance around the well by continued High
pressure injection after the initial breakdown or rock rupture has
occurred. Upon cessation of pumping (as pressure is reduced) the
fractures remain open, being held in place by the propping agent, a
carefully sized, silica sand. This process is applicable to virtually all
reservoir rocks and may be combined with acid treatments in
limestone areas.

The idea of using a propping agent

to prevent fracture closing was the key to the new
method's success.
The sand most commonly used as a propping agent is
20-40 mesh, (.0328 - .0164 in) well rounded, silica sand.
Which has a packed permeability of about 300 darcys.

Fracture fluid:
Early fracture techniques generally utilized thickened gels made from
kerosene and diesel oil. Currently, lease crude oil is the principal
Fracture fluid; it may be thickened by additives if necessary for sand
Fluids native to the formation are less prone to damage permeability
and should be used if available.

Gas wells have been treated with water-base fracture fluids, however,
fresh water should not be used if the sand is susceptible to clay swelling.
Combined acid-fracture treatments using gelled acid or acid-oil
emulsions have been successfully applied in various carbonate areas.

Sand-fluid ratio:
Sand concentrations of 1/2 to1/4 lb/gal have been frequently used
in fracturing. It is difficult to define any universally applicable
optimum concentration and quite possibly such a figure may vary
with the area. From field experience, it appears that 1 to 2 lb /gal is
the most commonly applied range of concentration.

Injection rate during treatment

Injection rates are controlled by the
1. fracture fluid flow properties,
2. available pump horsepower, and
3. the size of the injection string (tubing or casing).

Size of treatment
In moderate to high permeability zones which have been badly
damaged during completion, small treatments may be completely
In tight zones, the large volume treatment may give optimum
The economics of treatment size requires careful analysis; it is
certain that considerable

1. No bore-hole enlargement.
2. Highly flexible procedure:
a. Permits multiple or single fracture.
b. Can combine advantages of fracturing and acidizing.
c. Wide latitude of sand-carrier agent.

Maximum effective area of stimulation.

Maximum extension of inherent or induced fractures.
Propping agent maintains high permeability.
Permits relatively localized fracture level if desired (in approximately
horizontal bedding planes).
7. Adapted to either open-hole or set-through completions.


May involve c1eanout of propping sand.

Somewhat hazardous with some carriers.
Relatively expensive.
High pressures may damage tubing or casing.
Intricate down-hole operations requiring packer


Squeeze Cementing
The technical literature contains a
number of papers on squeezing
wells. Still, many unanswered
questions are frequently asked.
Where does the cement go on a
squeeze job?
What is formation breakdown
and is it necessary?
Should water or mud be used for
Will squeezed cement completely
surround a wellbore?
Can perforations be plugged with
Can the quantity of cement be
controlled during placement?

Squeezing is widely used in wells

for the following purposes
supplementing a primary cementing job that may be
deficient because of channeling or insufficient fillip.
Reduction or elimination of water intrusion from above
or below the hydrocarbon producing zone.

Reduction of the gas-oil ratio by isolating the oil zone

from an adjacent gas zone.
Repair of a casing leak that might have developed due to
corrosion, pressure parting or joint leaks .
Abandoning of old perforations or plugging of a
depleted or watered-out producing zone.

Cement Does Not Enter

Formation Matrix
The cement filtrate is pumped into the permeability while the
cement particles form a filter cake of cement.
As the filter cake builds, the pump-in pressure increases until a
squeeze pressure less than fracturing pressure is attained.
It is obvious that the permeability must be high enough to
accommodate a reasonable pump-in rate before this ideal
squeeze procedure is attained.
Fracturing is usually not the objective of squeeze cementing but
rather pump-in pressure is commonly required to determine if a
zone will take fluid or cement.
Pump-in pressure is that pressure which is required to push only
the cement filtrate into the formation .

Mud-Plugged Perforations
Perforations will usually have some degree of mud fill-up,
depending on the completion fluid or primary cementing
technique and the breakdown process.
Mud filter cake is capable of withstanding high pressure
differentials, especially in the direction from the wellbore to the
formation and the high pressures may create a fracture before
accepting cement filtrate.
Selective breakdown and cleanup of single perforations prior to a
stimulation treatment have revealed the presence of as much as
1000 psi higher pressure on an adjacent perforation.
Many squeeze failures may be attributed to subsequent cleanup
of a previously plugged perforation which did not accept the
cement slurry during the squeeze job.

Fractures are Created

Even though it is desirable to squeeze
without breaking down the formation, in
almost all instances, a fracturing pressure
must be attained to get the formation to
take fluid .
This undesirable condition may be caused
by the perforations being blocked or by low
formation permeability .

Cement Compressive Strength and

Squeeze Pressure
The compressive strength required for a successful
squeeze Job may be overemphasized.
The typical perforation cavity has a shape that tends to
make the set cement plug act as a check valve in both
A cement filled induced fracture has more bonding area;
therefore, it is capable of withstanding more differential
pressure than a perforation cavity.
The final squeeze pressure required for a successful job is
just enough to dehydrate the cement so that it will not
flow back .
A good guide for a squeeze pressure is 500-1000 psi above
the pump-in pressure with no flow back in 3-5 minutes.

Design For Pressure

Design the wellhead equipment and tubular goods to
accommodate the maximum anticipated squeeze pressure.
. This fundamental is rarely overlooked. However, the slurry volume
as it relates to pressure is a common oversight.
Design the job so that the hydrostatic head of cement slurry at
any time during the job will not exceed the wellhead equipment
or maximum casing pressure limitations.
The extra time required to circulate the "long way" may exceed
the pumping time of the slurry .
A good rule may be that the volume of cement used should not
exceed the volume of the tubular goods.

Hole Conditions
It is absolutely necessary for the hole to be in good condition
before starting a remedial squeeze job; otherwise, the problems
may become multiplied because of some condition that would be
adverse to the operation .
The casing should be in gauge, clear of debris, and clear of any
residual cement sheath from a previous operation.
A packer miss run may result because the packer seat could not
be reached or attained.
A scraper and bit should be run to check this condition and total
depth tagged up to be sure fill up is not excessive.
The hole should be circulated until clean and balanced.
. Gas "bullheaded" into the formation ahead of the cement could
percolate through the cement and leave the cement

Well Completion Fluid

Well completion fluid should be a clean, non-wall
building fluid such as salt or potassium chloride
This type fluid may be bullheaded into the
formation ahead of the squeeze slurry provided
the injection rate and depth are such that the
pumping time of the slurry will not be adversely
In the event that mud is required to maintain
control of the well, the cement slurry should be
spotted as closely as practical to the packer so
that the least mud possible is forced into the
formation .

Testing Squeeze Equipment

The tubing, tubing-casing annulus, and wellhead
equipment should be pressure tested with a
tubing tester prior to starting the job.
To make the test, pump a test plug or set the
packer in blank pipe.
The test pressure should be equal to or in excess
of the anticipated squeeze pressure or the
maximum differential pressure as a result of
excess cement left in the system.

Packer Seat
A squeeze packer should be set as closely as practical to
the squeeze target .
This leaves the least completion fluid in the rathole to
be forced ahead of the cement into the formation.
Any appropriate connection that will seat the packer
between 30 to 60 feet above the squeeze target will
allow an error of one joint of tubing.
Special cases such as a low pressure zone which will
require a hesitation-type squeeze may require setting
the packer much higher so that the hesitation process
may begin with cement below the packer.

Washes and Flushes

Since perforations may be partially filled with mud, especially if
mud is the completion fluid, consideration should be given to
that condition prior to a squeeze job .
This condition, if not corrected, may result in one or more of
several problems.
The formation may be hydraulically fractured in an attempt to
pump into the formation. Since the mud particles cannot enter
the matrix of the formation, a mud filter cake will build up.
The mud may contaminate the cement in the perforation cavity
or induced fracture, causing a failure.
Do not run a tail pipe below the packer for the purpose of
spotting. This could cause the packer to be cemented in the


In high pressure squeezing, a retrievable or non retrievable tool is
run on tubing to a position near the top of the zone to be
squeezed to confine pressures to a specific point in the hole .
A quantity of salt water (or chemical wash) is used to determine
the breakdown pressure of the formation to be squeezed.
Mud should not be used as a breakdown fluid since it can plug or
damage the formation.
After breakdown, slurry of cement and water is spotted near the
formation and pumped at a low rate.
As pumping continues, injection pressures begin to build up until
surface pressure indicates that either cement dehydration or a
squeeze has occurred.


The low pressure technique has become the more efficient
method of squeezing with the development of controlledfluid-loss cements and retrievable packers.
With this technique, formation breakdown is avoided and
pressure is achieved by shutting down or hesitating during
the squeeze process.
In this hesitation method, the cement is placed in a single
stage, but in alternate pumping and waiting period s.
The controlled fluid loss properties of the slurry cause filter
cake to collect against the formation or inside the
perforations while the parent slurry remains in a fluid state
inside the casing.

Low Pressure Fractured Zones

Low pressure fractured zones are often times very hard to
These wells normally have a low fluid level and start taking fluid
as soon as an attempt is made to load the hole; usually more than
one stage of cement is required.
It is extremely important to squeeze with the least possible
standing pressure. With a packer used for best control, load the
backside and maintain about 1000 psi.
Return in 4-6 hours for another stage. Most likely, a squeeze
pressure must be attained by using a hesitation type squeeze-an
alternate hesitation and pumping in which the hesitation is to
encourage cake buildup.
The first hesitation probably will not decrease the bleed off rate.
At this point in the squeeze, it becomes an art rather than