Abstract

Sand production is not usually considered a major concern during the injection phase in injection wells. However, well shut-in for service requirements or sudden pump failure, hence the backflow towards the wellbore and potential generation of water hammer pressure pulsing, can lead to massive sand production under favorable conditions. With the aim of sanding prevention, this paper examines the design criteria for standalone screens (SAS) in injection wells using a novel sand control testing facility.

This paper presents a new large-scale sand retention testing (SRT) facility to simulate the effect of pressure pulsation and backflow in injection wells on the sand control performance of SAS. The SRT facility can be used in the selection of the best sand control method for injector wells. It can be also used to provide further understanding on the impact of formation damage on well injectivity decline, as well as study the effect of water hammer pressure pulsation on sand production in injection wells.

Test results show a rapid fall off in the pressure and drastically high backflow rates due to the sudden shut-in. Higher pressure drops are observed to result in a greater backflow volume and a longer backflow period. Results also show that the slot width has a drastic influence on the sanding performance of the screen. Testing observations, for the studied PSD, indicate that the injection well requires narrower slots 1.4 D10 to meet the sand production requirements due to a high fluidization potential in the near-screen zone. Higher flow velocities during the backflow period and the tossing effect caused by the pressure waves increase the sanding potential. The produced sand during the backflow period, is observed to mainly relate to the ratio of the slot width to the mean formation grain size. It is observed that higher effective stresses around the screen work towards stabilizing the sand bridges and reducing the amount of produced sand.

This paper presents a new experimental test facility for the sand control type selection and evaluation for injection wells with the aim of limiting the amount of produced sand and sustaining the wellbore injectivity. The proposed testing facility allows the performance comparison of different sand control devices and designs.

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