Summary

Wire‐wrapped screens (WWSs) are one of the most‐commonly used devices by steam‐assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operators because of the capacity to control plugging and improve flow performance. WWSs offer high open‐to‐flow area (OFA) (6 to 18%) that allow a high release of fines, hence, less pore plugging and accumulation at the near‐screen zone. Over the years, several criteria have been proposed for the selection of aperture sizes on the basis of different industrial contexts and laboratory experiments. Generally, existing aperture‐sizing recommendations include only a single point of the particle‐size distribution (PSD). Operators and academics rely on sand‐control testing to evaluate the performance of sand‐control devices (SCDs). Scaled laboratory testing provides a straightforward tool to understand the role of flow rate, flowing phases, fluid properties, stresses, and screen specifications on sand retention and flow impairment.

This study employs large‐scale prepacked sand‐retention tests (SRTs) to experimentally assess the performance of WWSs under variable single‐phase and multiphase conditions. The experimental results and parametric trends are used to formulate a set of empirical equations that describe the response of the WWS. Several PSD classes with various fines content and particle size are tested to evaluate a broad range of PSDs. Operational procedures include the coinjection of gas, brine, and oil to emulate aggressive conditions during steam‐breakthrough events.

The experimental investigation leads to the formulation of predictive correlations. Additional PSDs were prepared to verify the adequacy of the proposed equations. The results show that sanding modes are both flow‐rate and flowing‐phase dependent. Moreover, the severity or intensity of producing sand is greatly influenced by the ratio of grain size to aperture size and the ability to form stable bridges. During gas and multiphase flow, a dramatic amount of sanding was observed for wider apertures caused by high multiphase flow velocities. However, liquid stages displayed less‐intense transient behaviors. Remarkably, WWSs rendered an excellent flow performance even for low‐quality sands and narrow apertures. Although further and more complete testing is required, empirical correlations showed good agreement with experimental results.

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