zonal isolation_shale

Shale zone isolated with Annular Zonal Isolation Packer

Published on 20 June 2019

Saltel Xpandable Steel AZIP isolated unwanted annular section in the well.

The annular zonal isolation system successfully isolated an unsolicited annulus section due to an off-bottom casing. The zonal isolation system thus allowed producing in the shale through the targeted casing point at TD.

Isolation Packer Open Hole to reach TD

An operator in Venezuela drilled a deviated well, aiming to increase production rates and counteract the natural decline of the field. They also sought to collect up-to-date data that would allow assessing options of development for the future.

During the Drilling phase, the client encountered difficulties. They could barely process the running in hole the intermediate casing and were not able to reach the expected casing point. After discussions and evaluating different options, they took a decision. The client decided to cement the casing at this depth (8,860 ft), 1,400 ft off-bottom from Casing Point.

The client selected the following solution

  • Run an Open hole Annulus Zonal Isolation Packer (AZIP) along with 6-5/8in Facsrite Screens and a Liner Hanger BHA
  • Set the liner Hanger in the 9-5/8in casing.
  • Set the isolation packer in the open hole. The annular packer would act as a barrier to isolate the zone the client was not able to reach with the casing.

The zonal isolation system

The Annulus Zonal Isolation Packer was used to isolate a Shale zone. The client could not cover this zone with cemented casing during drilling in the intermediate phase. This was due to some difficulties during the RIH to reach the Casing Point.

With Saltel Xpandable AZIP, the client was able to complete and save the well, reducing rig time, and minimizing NPT. The client ran the Steel Packer along with a Liner Hanger System from the competition.

Given the Well geometry, the Run In Hole of this Completion BHA presented a challenge. We had an 82deg deviation well, with almost 1,500 ft of uncovered reactive shale.

To be able to reach the TD, the completion BHA was submitted to excessive Slack-off loads and high circulation rates. (Isolation packer included). This demonstrated the robustness of the open hole packer, and its ability to pass through tight spots during the operation.


The Completion BHA was run successfully to TD. The client installed Facsrite Screens, and the liner hanger at 8,738 ft. Then, they installed the Xpandable steel annular zonal isolation packer at 10,129 ft, with operational excellence. Once the annular well packer set, the client pumped Filter Cake Removal treatment to the formation.

The client could complete his well successfully. The stand-alone screen BHA could reach True Depth without incidents. The client successfully achieved Zonal Isolation by setting AZIP at 10,129 ft.

zonal isolation with openhole annulus packer
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