Abstract

The assessment of sand transport and erosion has always been a crucial part of sand management. Despite the various correlations in the industry to model this, the delivery of a successful Sand Management Plan heavily resides on the analysis and systematic usage of the correlations and related calculations. As part of the initiative to implement the Holistic Sand Management Approach in PETRONAS, sand erosion and deposition models were developed and implemented into a user friendly software. This software is able to model the sand erosion and deposition in the critical elements of the production system and its flexibility enhanced the utility by including publicly published as well as in-house correlations establishing an efficient sand management process.

The software can run calculations as a standalone (offline) or be linked to a three (3) phase simulator software or any integrated operation platform to assess the erosion and sand deposition risk online. The software is programmed to run sensitivities in the background and displays an interactive dashboard for users to better manage risks in sand management.

The sand transport and erosion management software not only calculates erosion rates and critical velocities for sand depositions through all lenses in the production system such us tubing, pipelines, bends, chokes and headers, but it is also linked to a production database to calculate the cumulative metal loss and predict the remaining pipe thickness.

This software helps in decision-making by (1) introducing a novel concept to obtain optimum gas-lift injection rate based on erosion risk (2) generating a safe sand erosion envelop (3) allowing back calculation of critical rate for sand deposition instead of critical velocity. Moreover, the software raises flags or alarms wherever erosion or deposition risk occurs in the system. It can also run sensitivities for all the parameters that affect deposition or erosion.

The paper details the procedure involved to further validate and calibrate the in-house erosion and deposition models for effective and accurate calculations.

The software helps in the whole approach of sand management by giving insight into the erosion and sand deposition risk in production system enabling safe operation condition. This can be beneficial for design considerations during Field Development Plan (FDP) formulation stage for a sand-prone field or even at later stage of production when the safe operating limit for sand production can be increased resulting in higher production. This provides significant economic gain by replacing the hardware part (sensors) or in case of sensors available in place it will help in testing the accuracy of the correlations as well as to calibrate them to fit into real conditions.

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