Sand control engineering specialist Darcy is gearing up for global interest in its downhole Hydraulic Screen following a successful installation in Statoil’s Statfjord oil field in the Norwegian Sector of the North Sea.
The system provides ‘pump free’ sand control delivering increased operational efficiency and simplifying logistics to reduce time and costs. For the first time in the industry, it utilises patented hydraulic technology that is easily activated from the surface to provide an alternative to gravel packing which is more time and labour intensive.
The mature Statfjord field faces challenges with continuous pressure depletion and reduced margins for pumping traditional open hole gravel packs. Integrating with Statoil’s completion equipment suppliers, the activation of the Hydraulic Screen took less than one hour of rig time. A reservoir isolation barrier was closed and tested prior to pulling out of the hole and completion operations concluded with production flowing from each of the screen joints confirmed.
Statoil recognises the use of Hydraulic Screen technology as the primary sand control system in a low bottom-hole pressure environment as an industry first.
Steve Bruce, CEO of Darcy said: “With 70% of mature and deep water oil and gas wells requiring sand control and experiencing costly challenges, we believe there is a significant market for the Hydraulic Screen due to its ease of installation and ability to cope with downhole geo-mechanical and production loading through the life of the well. We designed and developed the technology in response to industry concerns about the high failure rate and costs of gravel packing methods. Our hydraulic system offers a more efficient alternative and enables operators to complete wells which would be difficult or impossible using traditional sand control methods.”
The Hydraulic Screen is being rolled out to further wells on Statfjord and is suited to deepwater regions, mature fields and HPHT wells. Positive wellbore support prevents mobilisation of problematic sand, shale and coal. It provides the mechanical strength and collapse resistance for high geo-mechanical loads and extreme production conditions, whilst maintaining base pipe geometry. It also offers selective production, injection and shutoff.
The technology eliminates the need for specialist pumping crews or additional downhole tools required for gravel packing. It is easily integrated with standard completions equipment which provides logistical efficiencies on transportation and bed space. In the Statfjord example, only two Darcy engineers were present to install and activate the Hydraulic Screen and were down-manned within ten hours.