Sand Quantification: The Impact on Completion Design, Facilities Design, and Risk Evaluation
- Michael Anthony Addis (Shell International) | Michael Caspar Gunningham (Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd) | Philippe Charles Brassart (Shell) | Jeroen Webers (Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd) | H. Subhi (SEIC) | John Anthony Hother (Proneta Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 21-24 September, Denver, Colorado, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2008. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 3 Production and Well Operations, 5.1.10 Reservoir Geomechanics, 5.6.8 Well Performance Monitoring, Inflow Performance, 2.2.2 Perforating, 7.1.9 Project Economic Analysis, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.3.4 Integration of geomechanics in models, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 5.4.11 Cold Heavy Oil Production (CHOPS), 7.1.10 Field Economic Analysis, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 3.2.5 Produced Sand / Solids Management and Control, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 3.2.6 Produced Water Management, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 7.2.1 Risk, Uncertainty and Risk Assessment, 3.3.6 Integrated Modeling, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.6.9 Production Forecasting, 1.2.2 Geomechanics, 3.2.2 Downhole intervention and remediation (including wireline and coiled tubing)
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Sand Quantification involves predicting the volumes of sand which can be produced at the sandface completion and transported to the surface facilities for different operational scenarios. Sand quantification estimation is still novel in the industry, and this paper describes its application in completion selection and design, facilities design and operation, and facilities risk evaluation, with reference to a high rate gas field development.
The estimation of sand production volumes for openhole and cased and perforated completions is presented for the high rate gas wells, along with the workflow used for the selection and optimisation of the completion design, based on these estimates. The optimum completion aims to delay the onset of sand to surface for the first 18 years of production, whilst maintaining high gas productivity (>300mmscf/d/well). The selection of contingency sandface completions is also discussed along with mitigation measures in the event of unexpected sand production. The impact of the sand quantification on surface facilities design is discussed based on a probabilistic approach, along with the operational procedures identified to manage this sand.
The operational evaluation is based on a Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) of the facilities and wells, which helped identify operational changes to further reduce the ‘as built' low risk operation. This use of sand quantification for completion design and for QRA of facilities forms a new capability and an extension to the existing use of sand prediction technologies.
Hydrocarbon production comprising oil, gas and condensate, is frequently accompanied by unwanted production components. Scale, waxes and asphaltenes precipitation and formation are addressed by the use of inhibitors, or through well interventions. Water is addressed through water handling and re-injection, and whilst an undesirable part of the production stream it is seen as an inevitable component for the continued production of hydrocarbons in many fields. For these production components, co-production with the hydrocarbons is accepted practice. Since the earliest days, sand has been treated differently by the engineering community (Suman, 1925); it is excluded, commonly at the cost of reduced hydrocarbon production.
Recently, sand production accompanying hydrocarbon production has gained acceptance in some sectors of the industry as the fourth component of production stream: oil, gas, water and sand. In conventional operations, sand production like water production commonly occurred unexpectedly, requiring ad hoc modifications in order to maintain hydrocarbon production. Sand management, like water management before it, anticipates sand production requiring engineering of the completion and facilities to safely handle and dispose of the sand, with the ultimate aim of maximising production and project economics (Sanfilippo et al., 1997; Selfridge et al., 2003).
The key obstacle to the widespread adoption of sand management, other than in a few geographical locations, has been the inability to predict the volumes of sand expected during the production period. The volume, or rate, of sand production determines the erosion rate of the surface facilities components, the sizing of separator vessels and sparging devices, the settling tendencies in horizontal flowlines as well as the disposal requirements. The operations in which sand management has been adopted have taken a pragmatic view to learn and optimise the facilities design based on experience. The locations where a sand management philosophy has been adopted typically have moderately strong sandstones, where sand production is transient in character (Veeken et al., 1991). The exception to this is in Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) recovery which relies on the co-production of sand to enhance hydrocarbon production (Ehlig-Economides et al., 2000).
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