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The effects of sand production are nearly always detrimental to the short and/or long term productivity of the well. Although some wells routinely experience “manageable” sand production, these wells are the exception, not the rule. In most cases, attempting to manage the effects of severe sand production over the life of the well is not an economically attractive or prudent operating alternative.

Accumulation in Surface Equipment.

If the production velocity is great enough to carry sand up the tubing, the sand may become trapped in the separator, heater treater, or production pipeline. If a large enough volume of sand becomes trapped in one of these areas, cleaning will be required to allow for efficient production of the well. To restore production, the well must be shut-in, the surface equipment opened, and the sand manually removed. In addition to the clean out cost, the cost of the deferred production must be considered.

If a separator is partially filled with sand, the capacity of the separator to handle oil, gas and water is reduced. For example, one cubic foot of sand in an oil/water separator with a 2 minute residence time will cause the separator to handle 128 fewer barrels of liquid per day. If the ratio of oil to water entering the separator is one to one (i.e., 50% water cut), the separator will deliver 64 fewer barrels of salable oil per day. At $18.00 per barrel, this adds up to $420,480.00 worth of oil per year that is not moving through the separator.

Accumulation Downhole.

If the production velocity is not great enough to carry sand to the surface, the sand may bridge off in the tubing or fall and begin to fill the inside of the casing. Eventually, the producing interval may be completely covered with sand. In either case, the production rate will decline until the well becomes "sanded up" and production ceases. In situations like this, remedial operations are required to clean-out the well and restore production.

One clean-out technique is to run a "bailer" on the end of slickline to remove the sand from the production tubing or casing. Since the bailer removes only a small volume of sand at a time, multiple slickline runs are necessary to clean out the well. Another clean-out operation involves running a smaller diameter tubing string or coiled tubing down into the production tubing to agitate the sand and lift it out of the well by circulating fluid. The inner string is lowered while circulating the sand out of the well. This operation must be performed cautiously to avoid the possibility of sticking the inner string inside the production tubing. If the production of sand is continuous, the clean-out operations may be required on a routine basis, as often as monthly or even weekly. This will result in lost production and increased well maintenance cost.

Erosion of Downhole and Surface Equipment.

In highly productive wells, fluids flowing at high velocity and carrying sand can produce excessive erosion of both downhole and surface equipment leading to frequent maintenance to replace the damaged equipment. Figure 2.3 is a photograph of a section of screen exposed to a perforation that was producing sand. Figure 2.4 shows a choke that failed due to excessive erosion. If the erosion is severe or occurs over a sufficient length of time, complete failure of surface and/or downhole equipment may occur, resulting in critical safety and environmental problems as well as deferred production. For some equipment failures, a rig assisted workover may be required to repair the damage.

                 Screen Failure due to erosion

  Surface Choke Failure due to Erosion by Formation Sand

Collapse of the Formation. Large volumes of sand may be carried out of the formation with produced fluid. If the rate of sand production is great enough and continues for a sufficient period of time, an empty area or void will develop behind the casing that will continue to grow larger as more sand is produced. When the void becomes large enough, the overlying shale or formation sand above the void may collapse into the void due to a lack of material to provide support. When this collapse occurs, the sand grains rearrange themselves to create a lower permeability than originally existed. This will be especially true for a formation sand with a high clay content or wide range of grain sizes. For a formation sand with a narrow grain size distribution and/or very little clay, the rearrangement of formation sand will cause a change in permeability that may be less obvious. In the case of an overlying shale collapsing, complete loss of productivity is probable. In most cases, continued long term production of formation sand will usually decrease the well’s productivity and ultimate recovery.

The collapse of the formation is particularly important if the formation material fills or partially fills the perforation tunnels. Even a small amount of formation material filling the perforation tunnels will lead to a significant increase in pressure drop across the formation near the well bore for a given flow rate.


Effects of Sand Production

  1. Oil and Gas Production

  2. Production Technology Foundation

  3. Company Operations contribution

  4. Timescale of Involvement of PT

  5. Topics within Production

  6. Well Completion

  7. Well Stimulation

  8. Associated Production Problems

  9. Remedial and Workover Techniques

  10. Oil & Gas Production System

  11. Group Gathering Station

  12. Gas Compression Plant

  13. Gas Collection station

  14. Crude Tank farm

  15. Effluent Treatment Plant

  16. Central Water Injection Plant

  17. Oil & Gas Production Introduction

  18. Crude Oil and Natural Gas

  19. Petroleum Industry History

  20. Oil & Gas Production Overview

  21. Oil & Gas Production Facilities

  22. Overview of Wellhead

  23. Manifold, gathering and separation

  24. Separation of Oil and Gas

  25. Metering, storage and export

  26. Gas Treatment and Compression

  27. Gas Properties

  28. Mass and Weight

  29. Volume

  30. Density, Specific Weight and Specific Volume

  31. Viscosity

  32. Ideal Gases

  33. Real Gases

  34. Heating Value

  35. Formation Damage

  36. Radial Flow and Formation Damage

  37. Radial flow

  38. Near Wellbore Flow Restrictions

  39. Potential Formation Damage Mechanisms

  40. Causes and Effects of Sand Production

  41. Nature of Sand Production

  42. Effects of Sand Production

  43. Causes of Sand Production

  44. Predicting Sand Production

  45. Operational and Economic Influences

  46. Formation Strength Log

  47. Sonic Log

  48. Formation Property Log

  49. Porosity

  50. Drawdown

  51. Finite Element Analysis

  52. Time Dependence

  53. Multiphase Flow

  54. Sand Control Techniques

  55. Maintenance and Workover

  56. Rate Exclusion

  57. Plastic Consolidation

  58. High Energy Resin Placement

  59. Resin Coated Gravel

  60. Slotted Liners or Screens without Gravel Packing

  61. Slotted Liners or Screens with Gravel Packing

  62. Gravel Pack Sand Design

  63. Formation Sand Sampling

  64. Sieve Analysis

  65. Gravel Pack Sand Sizing

  66. Gravel Pack Sand

  67. Gravel Pack Sand Substitutes

  68. Slotted Liner and Wire Wrapped Liners

  69. Slotted Liner and Wire Wrapped Liners

  70. Slotted Liners

  71. Wire Wrapped Screens

  72. Prepacked Screens

  73. Flow Capacities of Screens and Slotted Liners

  74. The Excluder

  75. Erosion Test for Sand Control

  76. Gravel Pack Completion Equipment and Service Tools

  77. Sump Packer

  78. Seal Assemble for Gravel Pack

  79. Gravel Pack Screen ; Blank Pipe

  80. Shear Out Safety Joint and Knock out Isolation Valve

  81. Gravel Pack Extension Packer

  82. Gravel Pack Service Tool

  83. Open Hole Gravel Pack Completion Equipment

  84. Well Preparation for Gravel Packing

  85. Drilling Practices

  86. Cleaning the Casing Open Hole Work String ; Surface Facilities

  87. Filtration for Gravel Packing

  88. Completion/Gravel Pack Fluids

  89. Open Hole Gravel Packing

  90. Guidelines for Selecting Open Hole Gravel Pack Candidates

  91. Top Set Open Hole Gravel Pack

  92. Gravel Pack Equipment and Gravel Placement

  93. Set Thru Open Hole Gravel Pack

  94. Oil and Gas Pipeline

  95. Design of Marine Pipeline

  96. Pipeline Installation Introduction

  97. Offshore Pipeline Functional Req.

  98. Offshore Pipeline Authorities’ Req.

  99. Environmental Impact

  100. Pipeline Operational Parameters

  101. Pipeline Size Determination

  102. Flow Simulation in Pipeline

  103. Geophysical Pipeline Site

  104. Investigation Survey

  105. Geotechnical Pipeline Site

  106. Investigation Survey

  107. Soil Sampling & In-Situ testing

  108. Wind, Waves and Current

  109. Collection of Wave Data

  110. Linepipe Materials

  111. Strength, toughness, Weldability

  112. Steel Microstructure

  113. Oil & Gas Terminology

  114. A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z  

  115. Offshore Pipeline Terminology

  116. Petroleum Videos

  117. Peak Oil Video

  118. Oil and Gas Economics

  119. Ghana Oil and Gas Production

  120. Oil and Gas Well Drilling

  121. Well Completion

  122. Artificial Lift Techniques

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