Abstract

Despite the increasing acceptance of horizontal wells as a potentially productive means of recovering oil and gas from underground reservoirs, the hydrodynamics of flow inside a horizontal well remains incompletely understood especially for multiphase flow. Sand production into a horizontal well presents a formidable problem as the sand deposits at the bottom of the horizontal well, and thus reduces the effective size of the flow conduit. This study focuses on the flow of oil and sand in a horizontal well.

The model developed in this study treats the flow of oil and sand as that of a mono disperse, dilute suspension. The fluid phase (oil) is assumed to be incompressible and Newtonian. The particulate phase, composed of spherical sand particles, is assumed to behave as a continuum. The diffusive movement of the particulate phase is controlled by gravity force. The model allows for the determination of the axial velocity of the fluid phase and particulate phase. and the particulate phase density distribution at different positions along the horizontal well length.

Examination of the dimensionless groups allows for an analysis of the dominant parameters controlling the transport of sand in a horizontal well, including condition(s) promoting sedimentation. the rate of sediment bed buildup is correlated with fluid phase flow and interaction between the fluid phase and the particulate phase.

Introduction

Solid-liquid multiphase flows encompass many different areas of science and engineering, ranging from transport of colloids in ratio water, sediment transport to river streams, waste transport in sewers, bed fluidization, flotation to slurry pipeline transportation, drill cuttings removal and transport of fracture proppants etc. As more horizontal wells are drilled to recover oil and gas from oil reservoirs, problems associated with sand production into, and their transport ion side these horizontal wells become more prominent - particularly for wells drilled in unconsolidated or fractured formations. Deposition of sand and fines inside these horizontal wells could have adverse impact on their productivity, even negating much of the advantages of horizontal drilling. Few studies investigating the hydrodynamic transport of sand and fines in horizontal wells are available in current petroleum literature. This paper attempts to identify parameters governing the flow of oil and sand inside a horizontal well, including conditions promoting sand deposition. as well as the rate of sediment buildup at different positions along the horizontal well length.

Hydrodynamic Fundamentals

From a hydrodynamic viewpoint, the most important and fundamental aspects of solid-liquid multiphase flow are interphase interaction (i.e. interaction between the fluid phase and the particulate phase) and intraphase interaction (i.e. interaction among solid particles making up the particulate phase. Interphase interaction between the fluid phase and the particulate phase is manifested mainly in the drag force exerted on the particles by the fluid stream and the transfer of momentum from one phase to another. Soo [1] reported equations formulated by Newton and Stokes to determine the magnitude of the drag force exerted by the fluid phase on a solid sphere at different fluid flow regimes

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