The quest for feasible oil hydrocarbon resources urges operators to be on the lookout for high-permeability and clastic reservoirs all over the world.
The use of irregular and twisting well trajectories in these fields increases the amount of reservoir contacted by the well bore, which improves productivity but increases the challenges of sand control.
Practical sand-control options for these wells include gravel packs, standalone screens, and slotted liners, out of which standalone screens are fast emerging as the preferred choice for engineers.
However, the choice of screen will depend on the particular application to ensure that the well completion can retain the sand, avoid plugging and erosion, and maintain mechanical integrity.
An effective sand screen is designed to allow the larger formation particles to bridge across the openings to offer maximum fluid flow area and reduce plugging. Smaller formation particles are then retained behind the larger “bridged” particles. In the worst case, an uneven distribution of the flow into the screen can create flow “hot spots” that cause erosive “burn-through” from the high velocities of fluids entering the well bore.
The selection of screen is highly dependent on the size and distribution of the formation solids produced. This can lead to sand-control failure and the excessive production of sand through the well. In the case of horizontal wells, greater reservoir contact and more production with a low drawdown pressure along the well bore reduces sand production and flux through the completion, which allows standalone screens to control solids across a wider range of sands.
In 2010, Tendeka commercialized the FloMax Ultra premium-mesh sand screen. Developed in response to the industry’s need for an ultra-rugged screen that was suited to the rigors of long horizontal, multilateral, or sub-sea well operations, the screen meets the International Safety Organization (ISO) standard 17824 and is used in some of the world’s harshest environments. More than 700,000 ft of the screens have been installed worldwide with no sand failures or production impairment recorded.
However, the company estimated that up to 85% of wells that need sand control do not experience the mechanical loads that require this type of screen. Thus, Tendeka has recently developed a technologically updated screen to meet the sand-control needs of this large group of wells in a cost-effective manner, which is especially suited to current market conditions.
The FloMax Elite screen is a strong screen that achieves the same level of sand-control performance in the wells for which it is designed as the original screen does in the wells that require its capabilities. Retaining the same construction technique across both designs has technical benefits and increases flexibility and consistency for manufacturers.
Sand control will be the Sand Man to any drilling operator’s Spider Man for as long as they keep drilling. Couple this with the ever present need to cut costs as low as possible, and we see that innovation has a heavy role to play in dealing with this problem. The development of this new screen illustrates that innovation is not just about new technology but about finding ways to deliver the same performance with existing technology at a lower cost to the operator, and thus, innovating in the ways to innovate as well.
Source: Journal Of Petroleum Technlogy