Due to the high cost of accurately screened gravel and the importance of not breaking or crushing it; the treatment and placement of gravel with surface equipment is a primary factor in proper sand control. Over a period of years various tests have been performed on the placement of gravel. Tables will show the results of the various methods of metering gravel into the completion fluid stream and the results of the efficiency of the gravel pack versus the metering systems. Flow diagrams of the surface gravel placement system and pumping systems will be shown together with photographs of the test operations, both laboratory and field.
Special laboratory equipment was manufactured to accurately inject gravel into the fluid stream. The various progression of this equipment and the field tests of accurate gravel control in the fluid stream will be shown. Test data, together with field data will show the various displacement rates and fluid gravel ratios. Tests are shown of methods to inject gravel into the fluid stream after the pump, to prevent breakage of the gravel during the pumping of the gravel through the pump valves. Results and tables will show the high variance in fluid gravel ratios under the various systems that gravel is now being pumped into the well.
This paper will summarize the methods and equipment being used to pump gravel in the well, together with lab test results and field results. It shows the importance of proper gravel control and treatment of the gravel during the gravel packing operation.