This paper describes the development and application of a laboratory procedure for the evaluation of screens for sand control. The driving force for this study was to provide an independent evaluation of all screens on the market, in particular, the new generation of premium screens. The test addresses both aspects of screen performance, namely sand retention efficiency and plugging potential. The difficulties in setting up such a test are discussed, with particular attention paid to the elimination of experimental artefacts. Some of the pitfalls that may be encountered in laboratory evaluation of screens are highlighted.

The developed method has been used in screen selection tests for a particular field, and these results are also presented. The data illustrate the sensitivity of the technique for evaluating a range of screens on the same sand, and reasons for the differences in screen performance are explored. Furthermore, it was observed that the method of particle size analysis will affect the apparent particle size distribution of a sand. As a result such parameters as the uniformity coefficient may be completely different for the same sand depending on the method of size measurement.

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