Frac packing tool erosion is a growing concern as more high-profile deepwater wells are completed using this technique. Today many deepwater wells require frac pack pump rates of at least 40 barrels per minute (bbl/min) with proppant loads reaching 300,000 lbm. As zone lengths are increased and multizone operations are performed, jobs requiring 60 bbl/min pump rates with proppant loads reaching 1,500,000 lbm are becoming more typical. The current frac packing tool designs must be optimized to accommodate the higher pump rates and proppant volumes required to complete these deepwater wells.

Extensive research and development, including computational fluid dynamics analysis and scale-model erosion testing, have led to the development of a new series of sand control tools that have been optimized for ultra-high-rate frac packing applications. Analyzing various patterns such as velocity, fluid path, erosion, and sand concentration at high rates helps identify critical areas within the system that require design optimization.

Results from full-scale erosion qualification testing of this new series of sand control tools are discussed. The qualification tests are designed to simulate extreme applications for tools in terms of pump rate, treatment volumes, and proppant properties, while testing conditions remain consistent with actual job specifications. The qualification test parameters were chosen to emulate and, in some cases, exceed the parameters of frac pack treatments currently being planned for the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Erosion properties of the crossover, extension, and casing will be discussed, and depicted.

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