American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.

This paper was prepared for the 49th Annual Fall Meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, to be held in Houston, Texas, Oct. 6–9, 1974. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon request to the Editor of the appropriate journal provided agreement to give proper credit is made. provided agreement to give proper credit is made. Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers office. Such discussions may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.

Abstract

Emphasis on maximum petroleum production rates, operational economy and safety, and antipollution has led to the development of an acoustic sand-detection system capable of continuously monitoring the production of solid Designed to mount in surface flowlines, output from the device reflects the kinetic energy of entrained solids which, coupled with an independent measurement of velocity, can be used to calculate the rate of sand production and the mass concentration of solids in the flow stream. Such information can warn operators of dangerous erosive conditions, can help establish the maximum safe producing rate, and can confirm the effectiveness of completion practices. The "surface sand detector," practices. The "surface sand detector," formulation of results, and example applications are described.

We came to the following conclusions.

  1. We have established that flow noise in the 0.65 to 0.75 Mhz band is due to solids in the flow stream.

  2. A device that is very sensitive to detection of small solids concentrations has been successfully used to establish maximum sand-free production rates for a given completion state of procedure.

  3. If fluid or gas production rates are known, the rate of sand production and concentration can be determined within a factor of 2 by the surface sand detector.

  4. Insofar as rate of metal erosion depends on the kinetics of impinging sand, the surface sand detector can provide a measure of potential erosion wear. potential erosion wear

Introduction

Sand production can lead to extremely costly problems, particularly in high-rate wells where down-time for even minor well or production facility repair can defer production production facility repair can defer production of thousands of barrels of oil. Yet it is the goal of all operators to establish and maintain maximum safe well producing rates.

The surface sand detector described herein was developed to assist in establishing a well's maximum sand-free producing rate. The device is basically an acoustic probe, which is inserted into the flow stream. The probe responds to entrained solids and produces an output proportional to the kinetic energy of the sand proportional to the kinetic energy of the sand striking it. The detector is insensitive to flow noise and other noises, except in two- or three-phase liquid/gas slug flow. However, even in this situation, the low background slug flow noise has not prevented the detection of solids.

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