Modeling of Production Decline Caused by Fines Migration in Deepwater Reservoirs
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 75 - 77
- 2017. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 187263, “Modeling of Production Decline Caused by Fines Migration in Deepwater Reservoirs,” by Yunhui Tan, Yan Li, Ruiting Wu, Peggy Rijken, Karim Zaki, Oya Karazincir, Wade Williams, and Bin Wang, Chevron, prepared for the 2017 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 9–11 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Many deepwater wells experience steep productivity declines. On the basis of field observations, this decline is partly attributed to fines-migration effects. The complete paper presents a numerical work flow to simulate the effect of flow-induced fines migration on production decline over time in deepwater reservoirs. This work flow will help reservoir engineers to predict the damage caused by fines migration, predict production decline, and plan remediation.
Although there are generally two causes of fines mobilization (or release), chemical (colloidal) and mechanical (hydrodynamical or flow), the complete paper focuses only on the mechanically induced fines migration, in which fines are mobilized by increasing flow velocity. As with chemically induced fines, there is a critical flow velocity at which fines are mobilized.
Previous studies focused on characterizing fines-migration processes by use of intricate mathematical models and adjustment of modeling parameters to match laboratory results. These models are mathematically complex and computationally expensive usually, which means they are applicable only to 1D simulation. To solve engineering problems, reservoir engineers need to perform realistic simulation on complex 3D geometries.
Fit to Laboratory Test Results. A fines-migration test includes coreflooding at several different rates. The rates are kept constant while pressure is allowed to change. Rate and pressures are recorded during the test. By use of this information and core dimensions and fluid properties, the permeability can be calculated with Darcy’s law. The total test time for the “standard” or conventional fines-migration test normally is 1 week. A recent study on fines migration determined that short-term (1-week) fines-migration tests were not long enough to observe fines migration in the laboratory; hence, the study recommended an extended-fines-migration (EFM) test as the new testing standard.
The EFM test normally runs for 3 weeks instead of 1 week. The longer time allows the permeability loss caused by the fines-migration damage to be separated from that caused by other factors. Also, a low-flow-rate step is introduced after reaching the highest designed rate to determine if the observed damage is caused by fines migration or by turbulent flow (non-Darcy flow). Fines migration occurs only when the flow velocity is greater than the critical velocity. The authors usually observed severe damage only at high flow velocity in the testing process. However, at high flow velocity, non-Darcy flow also takes place, thereby contributing to the permeability reduction. Therefore, it is important to add a step at a low velocity after the highest designed rate to determine the actual damage caused by fines migration.
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