Sand control is vitally important to operation integrity in producing heavy-oil from unconsolidated reservoirs. Among various sand exclusion technologies, the open-hole gravel pack (OHGP) has been widely used in horizontal well completions. It is thus critical to quantitatively evaluate gravel packing layer damage and understand its mechanisms.

In this paper, we propose an integrated study to quantitatively evaluate gravel packing damage based on the real-world scenarios and, thus provided design criteria for gavel packing. We have designed an experimental system that can measure the core pressure at multiple points in gravel layers at high pressure condition as well as track sand migration. Preliminary results indicate that pore structure of gravel packing layer changes and the permeability decreases with sand migration and plugging. Sand volume fraction, fluid viscosity, and sand radius are the main factors that cause gravel packing layer damage.

We have developed a numerical model based on experimental observations. The numerical model considers liquid-solid fluid flow processes, sand migration and plugging in gravel layer. Numerical simulation studies are then performed on the gravel damage at different sand volume fraction, fluid viscosity, and sand radius. The simulated results are in agreement with experimental results. The numerical simulation studies on real-world scenarios are under investigation and we will report the numerical results in later reports.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.