zonal isolation_shale

Zonal isolation in shale zone with Xpandable Steel AZIP

Published on 20 juin 2019

Saltel Xpandable AZIP Packer isolated unwanted annular section in the well due to an off-bottom casing, allowing producing in the shale through targeted casing point at 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 in running-in-hole the intermediate casing and was not able to reach the expected casing point. After discussions and evaluating different options, they 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 Openhole 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, and set the openhole annulus packer in the open hole to act as a barrier isolating the zone the client couldn’t cover with the casing.


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 due to difficulties during RIH to reach 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 RIH of this Completion BHA presented a challenge, being an 82deg deviation well with almost 1,500 ft of uncovered reactive shale. During the operation the Completion BHA (AZIP included) was submitted to excessive Slack-off loads and high circulation rates, to be able to reach True Depth, demonstrating the AZIP robustness and its ability to pass through tight spots.


The Completion BHA was run successfully to TD, installing Facsrite Screens, setting the Liner Hanger at 8,738 ft, and the Xpandable AZIP at 10,129 ft with operational excellence. Once the AZIP 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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