Sand production related problems are common in E&P operation. Understanding and predicting sand transport is one of the key elements to develop an effective sand management strategy.

From a review conducted, it was found that majority of the sand transport prediction correlations available in the literature were developed through experimental conditions that were closer towards the mineral and mining industries. This paper discusses the development of an enhanced critical sand transport velocity correlation through experimental campaign focusing on improving the correlation for upstream oil and gas application especially on the effect of sand concentration, fluid viscosity and flow inclination angle. Comparison with several third party experimental data is provided, showing the improved accuracy of the developed correlation in conditions closer to upstream oil and gas operation.

The experimental campaign consist of flow loop experiments at selected sand (concentration <<1%vol-vol, size up to 200 micron, angular shape) and fluid conditions (viscosity between 1 to 10cP), and at different inclination angles. Using the experimental results, a sand transport correlation was enhanced which showed much improved accuracy compared to existing sand transport correlations (average deviations of the enhanced and existing correlations are ±7% and 40% respectively). The enhanced correlation was also able to predict accurately (less than 10% deviation) of third party experimental data. The correlation is also able to qualitatively match sand monitoring data from several operating wells.

Finally, application of the correlation in developing an effective sand management strategy for high-sand-producing wells in Malaysia, through integration with a sand erosion prediction tool is discussed whereby the current field practice in surface sand management was reassessed resulting to incremental hydrocarbon production.

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