For decades the sand control industry has utilized Saucier’s criteria1  to determine gravel sizes with a corresponding screen size for gravel pack operations, while many stand-alone (or non-conformance) screen proponents have utilized other criteria such as Rodgers.2  Other variations of sizing criteria have also been used with some success.

Recent advances in the expandable screen market have led to an increasing interest in these screens over gravel packing and non-conformable screens due to the perceived simplicity in screen-sizing criteria and increased productivity. With continually increasing sand control options available to the operator, it is fitting that screen-sizing criteria match the particular application and not be universally employed across all applications.

This paper will study the behavioral performance of conformable and non-conformable screens versus gravel packs, relative to plugging resistance and percent of formation solids in the effluent stream. A test matrix was developed using several simulated formation materials from sand prone areas around the world, along with sand control media that was chosen based on the uniformity of its pores. The results indicate that the plugging resistance and percentage of solids in the effluent that passes through the sand control media differs greatly depending on the method of sand control used. The authors outline specific sizing criteria that are necessary for conformable and non-conformable screen applications.

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