Subsurface pumps in sandy wells suffer mostly from abrasion of Sand (quartz). To prevent the pump from being stuck by sand grains and to reduce pump part failures due to sand, it requires understanding of sand problems and how they damage pump parts and cause stuck pumps. This can help with the design of the pump configuration in order to improve pump inherent reliability in sandy well conditions. Usually the common types of sand problems are

  • Plunger sticking in barrel

  • Pump sticking in tubing (insert pumps)

  • Sand damage to barrel, plunger and valves

  • Sand packing off in the pump

  • Sticking valves

The subsurface pump equipped with a sand screen and additional modifications worked out over the years with different oil producers have helped it become one of the best solutions for difficult sand laden wells. Where some sucker rod pumps and some exclusion devices are designed to keep solids from entering the pump. Certain pump configurations help in handling sand in terms of moving the sand through the pump with a minimum of wear.

This paper will discusses the main concepts in sand handling with highlighting some exclusion devices, and the most practical solutions for best sand handling pump and completion design as a function of conditions

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