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Simulation of Sand Production Caused by Water-Hammer Events

A pressure pulse, known as a water hammer, can occur immediately after water-injection wells are shut in for emergency or operational reasons. Large pressure pulses may cause wellbore-integrity problems such as sandface failure and sand production. This paper proposes a new work flow to simulate water-hammer events, the resulting wellbore failure, and sand production in water injectors.

Introduction

For water-injection wells handling high injection rates, water-hammer signatures are observed when water injection is stopped. Designing water injectors and deciding how quickly or slowly to shut in wells requires careful attention. Prediction of sand failure caused by water-hammer events can help design shut-in protocols for water injectors. The new work flow developed in this paper integrates water-hammer simulations with sand-stability and -production predictions. The water-hammer simulation shows that rate changes during shut-in affect water-hammer amplitudes and attenuations significantly. Large pressure fluctuations, or large amplitudes in the water-hammer signature after a quick shut-in, are shown to result in significant sand failure, and a slow shut-in procedure can minimize sand production. Sizing of well-completion components and location of subsurface valves are key in the design of injection wells and can be optimized to soften the effect of water-hammer events and associated sand production.

The authors evaluate the effect of water hammer on sand failure with numerical-simulation methods. Two numerical simulators—a water-hammer model and a sand-production-prediction model—are integrated.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 189568, “Sand Production Caused by Water-Hammer Events: Implications for Shut-In Protocols and Design of Water-Injection Wells,” by Haotian Wang, SPE, Jongsoo Hwang, SPE, and Mukul M. Sharma, SPE, The University of Texas at Austin, prepared for the 2018 SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Formation Damage Control, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, 7–9 February. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Simulation of Sand Production Caused by Water-Hammer Events

01 October 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 10

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