Slotted liners have been used for many years to provide sand control in oil industry applications. They are relatively inexpensive to manufacture and tolerant of installation loads, but historically they have not been able to offer the very small opening sizes of wire-wrap screens for controlling production of fine sands. However, recent advances in slot manufacturing methods provide slot openings that match and surpass the size and tolerance of wire-wrap screens. Furthermore, slotted liners offer an advantage in providing a variable slot density that can be used to optimize inflow or outflow distributions.
In the development of its South Bolney reservoir, Marathon Oil Canada and Noetic Engineering Inc. performed an analytical evaluation of inflow characteristics for a new generation of commercially available slots. Several interesting conclusions were reached, the most significant being that inflow resistance depends much more strongly on slot density than on open area. The inflow characterization was also used to develop an optimized slot density distribution to promote more uniform production over the entire well. The slotting design was incorporated into a new well that was designed to control thermally induced loads, thereby avoiding the sand control characteristics of slotted liner being compromised.