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Facilities Sand-Management Techniques Fall Into Two Types: Inclusionary and Exclusionary

Traditionally, sand-control equipment is used to prevent sand from entering the wellbore. This technique can be termed “exclusionary.” An alternative is to produce solids with the well fluids and separate them at the surface. This technique is termed “inclusionary” because the solids freely flow with the fluids to the surface. Exclusionary techniques protect production tubulars, wellhead chokes, flowlines, and facilities equipment. However, the buildup of solids near the wellbore increases skin damage, which reduces inflow. Allowing the sand to flow freely with the well fluids reduces skin damage, thus sustaining or increasing inflow.

Introduction

Several production companies have started to integrate facilities sand management into their sand-control portfolio. Equal merit is given to sand separation at the surface facilities and to completion technologies, to determine which approach provides sustained hydrocarbon production. Gravel-pack and screen completions have a well-established installation and operating base and form the majority of conventional sand control. While controlling sand production in numerous wells, these techniques may still pass sand with diameter of <50–125 µm under normal operating conditions, and this sand interferes with facilities operations. In the case of a completion failure, the sand amount and particle size may increase rapidly, leading to production restrictions or damaged equipment.

The necessity for a technology that could protect surface-facilities equipment (e.g., chokes, flowlines, pumps, separators, and valves) in cases of completion failure, openhole completion, or rapid unplanned sand production led to the development of the multiphase desander for solids removal at the wellhead.

This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 164645, “Sand-Management Methodologies for Sustained Facilities Operations,” by C. Hank Rawlins, SPE, eProcess Technologies, prepared for the 2013 SPE North Africa Technical Conference and Exhibition, Cairo, 15–17 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Facilities Sand-Management Techniques Fall Into Two Types: Inclusionary and Exclusionary

01 October 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 10

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