Facilities sand management is tasked with the goal of ensuring sustained hydrocarbon production when particulate solids (i.e. sand or proppant) are present in well fluids, while minimizing the impact of these produced solids on surface equipment. Particle size and total concentration of formation sand or proppant determines their net effect on production and the resulting operability of surface facilities. Conventional sand management control focuses on sand exclusion from the wellbore, either by production limits or completion design. Completions may adversely affect inflow due to skin buildup and both controls impede maximum hydrocarbon production. Alternatively, co-production of fluids and solids, with subsequent sand handling at surface facilities, is an inclusion paradigm that allows sustained hydrocarbon production. Produced solids are removed at the wellhead upstream of the choke using fit-for-purpose equipment. This methodology allows for increased or recovered hydrocarbon production, while their removal upstream of the choke protects facilities operations.
A description of the design, performance, operation, and effect on production rate is provided for sand inclusive production through application examples in the Caspian Sea, Indonesia, and South China Sea. Specific reference is given towards wellhead desanding, which forms the greater part of this approach, and has expanded from the first field installation in 1995 in the UK to every major oilfield producing region. Implementation of dedicated facilities sand management technology has resulted in increased hydrocarbon production from sand producing wells, extension of well life on marginal fields, and re-start of shut in wells.