52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium,
2018. American Rock Mechanics Association
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ABSTRACT: Unconsolidated sand was packed on a slotted-liner coupon in large-scale sand retention tests (SRT) and was subjected to several stress conditions, corresponding to the evolving stress conditions during the life cycle of a SAGD producer. Cumulative produced sand at the end of testing was measured as the indicator for sand control performance. Retained permeability was calculated by measuring pressure drops near the liner and was considered as the quantification of the flow performance of the liner. Experimental results indicate the liner performance is significantly affected by the stress induced compaction of the oil sand. The stress results in the sand compaction, leading to a denser sand, hence, a lower porosity and permeability. The lower porosity results in a higher pore-scale flow velocity, which can trigger more fines mobilization, hence, a higher skin buildup. With respect to sanding, the higher stress can stabilize the sand bridges: Increased normal forces between near-slot sand particles result in a higher inter-particle friction, hence, more stable sand bridges and less produced sand. The lower and upper bounds of slot window are governed by plugging and sand production, respectively. Experimental results indicate an upward shift in both the lower and upper bounds at elevated stress conditions
Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) is a thermal recovery technology currently employed to extract heavy oil and high viscosity bitumen from Alberta oil sands.
Due to the unconsolidated nature of oil sands, SAGD wells are prone to producing sand, hence, requiring sand control devices to prevent sanding during oil production. Slotted liners are a prominent sand control technique, which have been extensively used in Alberta's SAGD wells to avoid sand production problems. The design of the slots must allow a free flow of fines and clays through the slots and the porous medium around the well, with minimal plugging.
In SAGD recovery method, a large volume of high-pressure steam is injected by the injector well to reduce the bitumen viscosity and facilitate the production. Continuous injection of the high-pressure steam leads to a complex alteration of the in-situ stresses and the associated geomechanical properties within the reservoir and even the neighboring strata. Porosity and permeability of the reservoir sand are influenced in this process.
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