Sand Management and Sand Control

More than half of all existing wells are estimated to require sand control or sand management throughout their lifetime, including unconsolidated sandstone in conventional reservoirs or flowback in unconventional reservoirs. The majority of recent major hydrocarbon discoveries, from Africa (Mozambique, Angola, and Tanzania), transcontinental countries (Egypt), North America (US and Canada), to Far East Asia (Malaysia), are offshore with high-permeability soft formation sands. Approximately half of them are gas-bearing reservoirs.

High-flow-rate gas wells are particularly susceptible to sand production. High-velocity or turbulent fluid flow generates large drag forces, dislodging unconsolidated sand particles. The free-flowing particles can erode downhole and surface equipment, including well-control barriers. In a worst-case scenario, this can lead to dangerous uncontrolled production.

To ensure successful sand management, a multidisciplinary engagement is necessary. The teams should be able to predict sanding tendencies, detect the sanding locations, select appropriate downhole sand-management and -control devices, and implement the best operating practices for the life of the well.

Because of the current downturn, operators are shifting their efforts to the revitalization of existing wells in order to squeeze more production from depleted reservoirs. The same holistic sand-management tactic should be applied to remedial sand control.

In summary, production from sand-prone reservoirs is a daunting task, with formidable challenges. Sand management and control remain as an old problem but with new challenges because of the suppressed oil and gas prices. Cost-saving and value-adding solutions are vital now more than ever.

For more information, read the featured papers, recommended additional reading, and other publications at OnePetro.

This Month's Technical Papers

Downhole Sand-Ingress Detection With Fiber-Optic Distributed Acoustic Sensors

Advancement in Openhole Sand-Control Applications With Shape-Memory Polymer

One-Trip Multizone Sand-Control-Completion System in the Gulf of Mexico Lower Tertiary

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 181596 Defining Sand Control in an Uncharted Frontier: A Case Study on the Zawtika Field Development in Myanmar by Graham Grant, PTTEP International, et al.

SPE 181360 Case History: Integrated Approach to Sand Management and Completion Evaluation for Sand Producer in a Mature Field, North Sea by M. Ruslan, Dong Oil and Gas, et al.

SPE 182511 New Criteria for Slotted-Liner Design for Heavy-Oil Thermal Production by Mahdi Mahmoudi, University of Alberta, et al.

Xiuli Wang, SPE, is a senior adviser with Baker Hughes, a GE company. Previously, she was vice president and chief technology officer for XGas, focusing on natural-gas monetization. Wang also has 8 years of operational experience with BP, specializing in oil and natural-gas production, completion, and sand control. She holds a PhD degree in chemical engineering from the University of Houston, a BS degree from Dalian University of Technology, and an MS degree from Tsinghua University. Wang was the associate editor in chief of the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering during 2008–11 and currently serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. In 2007, she was named the United States Asian American Engineer of the Year by the Chinese Institute of Engineers—USA. Wang was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2013–14 and was named an SPE Distinguished Member in 2014.

Sand Management and Sand Control

Xiuli Wang, SPE, Senior Adviser, Baker Hughes, a GE Company

01 October 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 10

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