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Engineering Approach To Designing Fluid Diverters: Jamming and Plugging

Fig. 1—Diversion mechanisms: (a) jamming, (b) plugging.

Fluids introduced into a reservoir for stimulation typically take the path of least resistance and, therefore, frequently go into areas with open flow paths. In many cases, those areas are not the targets of stimulation. To maximize contact between the fluid and intact rock, existing fluid paths must be plugged to divert the fluid. A typical fluid-diversion application can be divided into three steps: placement downhole, downhole plugging/diversion, and corresponding stimulation. The aim of this paper is to review and identify critical parameters controlling the downhole plugging/diversion step.

Jamming and Plugging Efficiency

Successful diversion can be designed and achieved upon full understanding of the jamming and plugging mechanisms that occur at the entrance of existing flow paths. An understanding of the underlying physics of this process allows a system to be modeled that uses the minimal amount of material to create temporary but stable seals that can withstand significant pressure differentials even at flow path openings that are several times larger than the mean particle size. Many complex factors affect diversion efficiency, and they all can be adjusted to minimize flow into existing and highly conductive flow channels. Two major mechanisms control the success of the diversion process: jamming and plugging.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 187433, “An Engineered Approach To Design Biodegradable Solid-Particulate Diverters: Jamming and Plugging,” by Mojtaba P. Shahri, Jian Huang, SPE, Clayton S. Smith, SPE, and Francisco E. Fragachán, SPE, Weatherford, prepared for the 2017 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 9–11 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Engineering Approach To Designing Fluid Diverters: Jamming and Plugging

01 June 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 6

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