Ceramic Sand Screens Applied in Maturing Oil Field Offshore Malaysia
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 74 - 75
- 2017. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 42 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 188537, “First Successful Application of Ceramic Sand Screen in Maturing Oil Field, Offshore East Malaysia,” by Sulaiman Sidek, SPE, Kellen Goh Hui Lian, Yap Bee Ching, Kukuh Trjangganung, Bahrom Madon, SPE, and Zainuddin Yusop, Petronas, and Bhargava Ram Gundemoni, SPE, Richard Jackson, and Peter Barth, 3M Technical Ceramics, prepared for the 2017 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 13–16 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
This paper presents the first successful application of ceramic sand screens offshore Malaysia. Ceramic sand screens were considered as a remedial sand-control method because of their superior durability and resistance compared with metallic sand screens. Remedial sand control with ceramic sand screens has successfully revived idle wells back to production at a lower total cost, with oil gain beyond the initial target and a higher return on investment.
The field was discovered in July 1967 at a water depth of 250 ft below mean sea level approximately 40 km offshore East Malaysia. The structural configuration of the field is characterized by a simple, low-relief domal anticline resulting from the rollover associated with regional growth faulting. Major hydrocarbon accumulation occurs in eight producing reservoirs sandwiched between shallow gas-bearing reservoirs and deeper gas- and condensate-bearing reservoirs.
Since peak production in 1979, the field has experienced instances of sand production, contributed to by factors such as in-situ stress changes, increases in water production, and a cascading effect from production-operation activities.
The current practice of controlling severe sand production is to bean down the problematic wells and closely monitor sand production at surface over time. Some of the field’s wells had experienced failure and rapid wear when using metallic sand screens, so ceramic screens, with high erosion resistance, were proposed. Because this represented the first such application for the operator, a pilot application was considered for three wells.
Ceramic Sand Screens
Sintered silicon-carbide ceramic material offers unique combination properties. Greater hardness, compressive strength, and elastic modulus offer superior ballistic capability and resistance to wear when confronted with high-velocity projectiles. Excellent corrosion resistance provides high performance in corrosive environments. High thermal conductivity provides heat stability (up to 1,800°C) and minimizes the likelihood of failure caused by thermal shock. The low specific density of the material makes it suitable in applications in which weight requirements are critical.
When the erosion- and corrosion-resistant properties of ceramic material are holistically integrated within a sand-control system, the resultant screen installation is proved to be simple and cost-effective, resulting in reduced complexity compared with alternative sand-control methods. Conventional metallic materials exhibit limitations in with-standing high downhole velocities, commonly resulting in downhole erosional failure and premature loss of downhole sand control.
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