Perforating through swell packers
14 September 2010
Has anyone perforated intentionally (or unintentionally) through swelling elastomer packers?
We are running oil-swellable packers, and due to tolerances we may end up perforating across some of the top/bottom of the packers to ensure we fully access a heterogeneous reservoir section.
If there are examples, were there any downsides seen in the cleanup phase or later production life with rubber debris?
The issue you will have with this is that one of the benefits of swellable isolation packers is their ability to "heal" themselves. Most packers are designed to seal at a fairly low percentage of their maximum swell capability and therefore if the packers were specified properly for your well it is feasible that the packers will be able to swell enough to close off the holes created by the perforation.
Andy, I believe it has been done. Mostly what will happen is that you would receive no flow through the perfs in the rubber. It would do what it is designed to do and continue to swell and "heal" the hole. Potentially you could get flow through a perforated swellpacker if there was a big diameter perf and a large drawdown was applied straight away so that there would be erosion of the perfs and no self sealing effect possible. Hope this helps,