The production of both fines and matrix sand into the well bore is a common problem in water injection wells due to transient pressure and flow events. Conventional sand control techniques do not manage these transient events effectively, and the reliability of the sand control can be compromised as a result.
In injection wells, a shutdown event results in a sudden stoppage of flow causing a surge which can result in powerful downhole pressure transient effects such as back-flow, cross-flow, and water-hammer. These effects can mobilize sand particles in the near-wellbore resulting in an influx of fine particles, screen plugging and erosion. Eventually, the accumulation of debris in the well can lower or block injection rates to the point where a water injector well must be repaired or replaced to maintain the injection volumes required for pressure maintenance and sweep in the reservoir.
A new, sand screen compatible completion was designed with an array of integral non-return valves (NRV) to address these challenges. This paper will present an overview of the product development with computation fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, flow-loop and laboratory testing. Design considerations of any potential adverse effects of the new non-return valves, such as plugging and erosion, were studied extensively in lab tests on a series of valve designs. Non-return valve completions could have the benefit of increasing injection volumes and extending the life-cycle of water injections wells.