This paper serves to share the findings and best practices of sustaining production for a mature field with high sand production with analysis from Acoustic Sand Monitoring (ASM) paired with Online Sand Sampling (OSS). Field B, located in the East Malaysia Region, is a high oil producer for over 40 years under a strong water drive mechanism. Water production has significantly increased over the past 5 years, which has led to significant sand production impacting surface facilities and well integrity. Hence, the need for a reliable and efficient sand management surveillance in field B.

As the first application for oil fields in the region, ASM and OSS was conducted with the objective to determine the maximum sand free production rate from over 80 active strings in Field B over the span of 4 months to safeguard production rates of 10 kbopd. With ASM and OSS, a reduced data surveillance duration can be achieved within 2 hours compared to conventional well sand sampling per well which requires a minimum of 24 hours before sand production rate is determined. ASM sensors are clamped on the well flowline to detect and record the noise vibrations produced by the sand while OSS is conducted concurrently by diverting parts of the same flow from the flowline through a sand filter to have a quantitative representation of sand produced for a predetermined duration.

During the campaign, choke sizing was manipulated to control reservoir drawdown. For most wells, a lower drawdown resulted in lower amplitude readings from ASM and less sand observed from OSS. However, there are several wells that had higher sand production at a smaller drawdown due to a change in flow regime (steady flow to intermittent flow) resulted from inefficient gas lift production (multi-pointing). As ASM provided the raw velocity signal which is heavily influenced by the liquid flow regime, gas oil ratio and sand production, OSS results (from physical sand produced and weight of sand particles) established a baseline for ASM signals which indicate a sand free production. Overall, ASM and OSS analysis provided a baseline for determining the optimum rate of production with minimum sand to avoid well integrity issues and protecting the surface facilities, thus allowing continuous field production of 10 kbopd.

A presentation and discussion of the successful results, limitations, best practices, and lessons learnt of the ASM and OSS campaign aspires to be additive to the production surveillance sand management in the oil and gas industry by providing a fast and reliable means of identifying optimum sand free production rates for a high number of wells in a mature field.

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