Sand production is a common issue, especially in a depleting field as water production commences, and sand strength weakens. Conventional sand management focuses on downhole sand exclusion from the wellbore either through completion design or production reduction by choke optimisation as passive sand control.
The objective of the paper is to share the company's journey in sand management in collaboration of various supporting units.
The Holistic Sand Management methodological process adopts a 5 keys action plan, namely:
Establishment of dedicated focus sand team with multidisciplinary support covering surface and subsurface activities
Situational Assessment to develop baseline in sand management preparedness in each field, identifying gaps and developing an intervention plan
Development and utilisation of an in-house erosion prediction tool,
Continuous upskilling in sand management best practices, and
Technology review and active pilot testing utilising digital enhancement to assist in sand management activities.
Establishment of a dedicated and collaborative focus group, Integrated Sand Management (ISM) team in the centre which is replicated at the region as Regional Sand Team (RST), has allowed for continuous communication on sand management matters. Situational Assessment consists of 13 integrated subsurface and surface elements to evaluate a field capability to manage sand production. These 13 elements include sand management philosophy and organisation setup, sand prediction, sand control design, sand sampling and monitoring as well as surface sand handling and disposal. Findings from the assessment are used to gauge the field's readiness and ability to manage sand operation and develop gaps closure plan to achieve the optimum holistic sand management. The Sand Erosional and Transportation (SET) tool, an in-house developed tool, is used to evaluate sand erosion and deposition risk in the production system. The tool is used extensively to generate a safe operating envelope for sand producing well during open-up and continuous production. This has allowed the company to shift from limiting production up to a specific sand concentration to erosion risk-based approach, which in turn creates production optimization opportunities. Regular and continuous upskilling sessions ensure the frontline operations are updated and abreast with best practices in sand management. In addition, the ISM team reviews and leverages on latest technology, actively organises pilot test at a selected site supported with digital enhancement to assist in sand management activities. The application of a Holistic Sand Management methodology is seen to reduce erosion related Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC), sustain production, and minimise unplanned deferment. However, this is just the beginning and the battle in sand operation will continue to be very challenging in balancing between production while ensuring asset integrity.
The methodology is a novel approach for the company with the formation of a dedicated and collaborative team spearheading sand management initiatives which include situation assessment for gaps identification supported by in-house erosion modelling tool.