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.
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.
Sand Management and Sand Control
Xiuli Wang, SPE, Senior Adviser, Baker Hughes, a GE Company
01 October 2017