THE EFFECT OF SAND SORTING ON GRAVEL PACK

CHAIRUL ABDI SUPERVISOR: MR. ARIFF BIN OTHMAN

PETROLEUM ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT FACULTY OF PETROLEUM AND RENEWABLE ENERGY ENGINEERING UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA

Abstract A laboratory research study has been conducted to investigate the effect of sand sorting on gravel pack toward permeability. Several experiments have been carried out by using a transparent cylinder shape Perspex material sand holder with diameter 5cm and 25cm length. By using five samples of sand with different sorting and median grain sizes, a model was designed to simulate a production zone. Fresh water and diesel with 3.57 cp of viscosity were used as injection fluid at various flow rates and outlet pressure had been set at an atmospheric pressure. The experimental result reveals that the permeability of sand greatly reduced when smaller size of the sand present in formation because of smaller pore throat and greater resistance to flow. Permeability reduction becomes more significant when the sand distribution is poorly sorted and the higher injection fluid flow rate applied. In this study, it is also found that high viscosity of injection fluid will give higher permeability reduction. In addition, injection fluid under the continuous flow conditions is always given the higher permeability compare to discontinuous flow condition. surface production facilities, then the problem of sand production will cause new problems in the next. In addition, the installation of gravel packing is one of the ways to overcome sand production problem. There is much research was conducted due to this particular problem such as sand control; gravel packing. Expected by installing gravel packing sand problem can be solved. Otherwise, by installing a gravel packing these other things are also very important, flow rate and pressure drop is often overlooked. As a result, to optimize oil and gas production in the oil or gas field, especially in a poorly consolidated formation, further studies are required. This project was undertaken to study the effect of sand sorting on gravel pack, which may cause the sand production problem.

Introduction Sand problem is one of oldest and critical problem in the production wells faced by most of the oil and gas production companies due to instability of formation sand is the inflow of formation sand with hydrocarbon, and it is one issue that cannot be easily solved. Reservoir can absorb and accommodate a large volume of hydrocarbon, and permeable sands permits oil and gas hydrocarbons to flow to production wells easily. However, in addition to the many things that are so beneficial, porous and permeable sand is not good enough in the knots (poorly cemented). Therefore, when the fluid has started to flow into producing wells, thus releasing the reservoir began to crush the grains of sand into the production wells. When oil and/or gas produced, then the grains of sand are also produced. Besides reducing the volume of oil and gas during production, resulting from sand production can also reduce the pressure. And if uncontrolled sand production could reach to the

Methodology The apparatus had been used in this project consist of sand holder with several piping, pump, and manometer tube. Before experiment conducted, several preparations regarding to the

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experimental apparatus had been prepared as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Design and fabricate a sand holder. Calibrate flow rate of pump. Design and prepare formation sand. Prepare injection fluid. Conduct the main experiments. pack permeability for zone 1 of which measurement starts from P0 to P1. K1 and K2 are the measurement from zone 2 and zone 3 respectively. However, the primary concern of this study is with the permeability measurement for zone 2 and 3, which are K1 and K2. The result presented in this report is collected from permeability K1 and also K2 respectively. The experiments were conducted with water as injection fluid with 1.0 cp of viscosity and three experiments were used more viscous fluid, which was diesel as injection fluid with 3.57 cp of viscosity. The objective was to determine the relationship between the sand pack permeability with the experiments flow time in certain conditions. In the experiment, the permeability was determined by using Darcy’s equation. This equation had been used since it is applicable in laminar flow with the porous media is 100 percent homogeneous with the following fluid and the fluid is not reacted with the particles (glass beads).

Figure 1 shows the schematic diagram of the experimental apparatus; Figure 2 reveals the sand holder design configuration and for Figure 3 to 5 exposes the photographic view of experimental flow system, sand holder and also U-tube manometer.

Result and Discussion Several experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of sand sorting on gravel pack. The experiment was done on unconsolidated sand under continuous and discontinues flow condition. The outcomes of concern in this investigation are: i. The effect of particle size distribution on unconsolidated sand The effect of flow rate change due to time The effect of injection fluid viscosity The effect of sand sorting The effect of permeability responds to flow condition.

Formation Sand Grain Size Distribution The grain size of the unconsolidated sand used in this study was measured using dried sieving technique. Five types of sample with different grain size distribution were labelled as sand A, B, C, D and E were used to demonstrate that different size distribution that may cause different permeability. In Figure 6. shows that the formation sand distribution that had been used in this experiment. The graph on figure 7. shows the pattern of particle size distribution for these five samples. From this graph, the median particle size, which is D50 for each sample was measured and uniformity coefficient, C; which is D40/D90 can be calculated for each sample. From this graph shows all five samples have significantly differ in its sorting. Sorting sample was a measure of deviation both from the median diameter to given a normal distribution of grain sizes, both larger and smaller are present in the total population of sand pack. The sand size distribution graph in Figure 4.2 indicates that sorting, D40/D90 for all samples varies from 1.3 to 10.6. The median sand size for Sand A, D50 is 130 μm and D40/D90 is 1.6. San A, B, and C consider as uniform regarding to the Uniformity coefficient; C is less than three (C < 3). But, sand size for Sand D is consider as non-uniform and sand E is consider as very non-uniform / very non-

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Flow rate changes under continuous flow condition mean that the flow rate will be started at 20 cc/s for 60 minutes before being increased to 30 cc/s for 60 minutes and finally increased to 50 cc/s also for 60 minutes. Under the discontinuous flow conditions, the flow rate will be started with 20 cc/s for 60 minutes before switching off the pump for 20 minutes and then increased the flow rate to 30 cc/s also for 60 minutes. And finally, flow rate 50 cc/s will be applied after the pump switch off for 20 minutes. Figure 2. shows that the schematic diagram of the sand holder. This sand holder is divided into three phase zone for the pressure and permeability measurement. K0 represents the sand

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sorting this is due to the value of D40/D90 both sample was very large. Which was uniformity coefficient for Sand D are 7.6 and 10.6 sand E. Permeability is the ease with which fluids flow through a rock or sediment. A rock is permeable if fluids pass through it, and impermeable if fluid flow through the rock is negligible. Normally, permeability depends on; Grain size (Coarser-grained sediments are more permeable than fine-grained sediments because the pores between the grains are larger), sorting, grain shape, and packing (controls pore size). pressure drop toward permeability, which was converted to permeability data with varying flow rates. In each test, the injection fluid was injected under continuous and discontinuously circulated for about 60 minutes at each constant flow rate. The permeability was measured periodically, and the circulation was continued until the flow rate is stable. In this research study, three different flow rates were set for these experimental studies, which are 20 cc/s, 30 cc/s and 50 cc/s. Fresh water with 1.0 cp was used as injection fluid for all five samples. A comparison was made for the results of the permeability against flow time with three different flow rates. There were some fluctuation profiles in the graph. This is due to the rearrangement of the particles in the sand pack. Flow rate plays an important aspect to determine the movement of sands particles process. Basically, when the flow rate is become higher, the potential of the sand particles to move is higher as well. These movements occur when the fluids flow rate is unsteady until it reaches a level where the progress of the particles stopped after it achieves a steady state of the flow rate. Effect of Flow Rate on Sand A Permeability Figure 8. shows the effect of flow rate on Sand A permeability as measured at K1 and K2. The results show that with increasing flow rate of the injection fluid it will reduce the permeability of the sand pack until it became constant after 10 minutes of flow time. The reduction was significantly evident by the different between the permeability at flow rate 20 cc/s and 30 cc/s and 50 cc/s for both zones. As the permeability for the sample A is determined, an analytical study has been conducted to discover the relationship between the particle grain sizes and permeability over time. From figure 4.3, the lowest injection flow rate gives the highest permeability. The permeability is estimated about 1200mD for flow rate 20 cc/s, 970 mD for 30 cc/s, and 820 mD for injection 50 cc/s. Mostly, after 10 minutes. The curve shows constant. These are where the flow is reach stabilized and stabilized permeability is reached. A huge reduction for flow rate 30 cc/s and 50 cc/s curve is due to the instability of the flow. Ironically, for this samples the tame taken for flow rate to reach its stability is relatively short. This had happened because of the particles in the sample reaching its packing rearrangement in short time and smaller grain particle migrate faster to the pore space between bigger grain size particles.

Response of the Sand Pack to the Effect of Flow Rate Permeability is the ease with which fluids flow through a rock or sediment. A rock is permeable if fluids pass through it, and impermeable if fluid flow through the rock is negligible. Normally, permeability depends on; Grain size (Coarser-grained sediments are more permeable than fine-grained sediments because the pores between the grains are larger), sorting, grain shape, and packing (controls pore size). According to Darcy’s law, the fluid flow is proportionally to the pressure differential between inlet pressure and outlet pressure at constant permeability of the formation. This is only true for the solid-cemented particles (normal sand) such as core samples but not in a loose pack or unconsolidated sands such as gravel packing completion. Generally, the overall behaviour of the sand particulates migration process is critical; this is due to the magnitude of the flow rate, since it affects the gravel permeability and may cause serious plugging problem during high flow rate of fluid. If the flow is too low, no migration of sand will occur, as the fluid flow is not strong enough to carry particulates, then the permeability is obeying the Darcy’s law. Moreover, at high flow rate, a large amount of particulates is moving quickly, and possibly causing the sand pack to self filtrate after sometimes. The self filtration is due to the particles build up within the pores and pores throats, thus, causing the pores to block and the porosity of this element is reducing. The possibility for particles to migrate depends on the compaction forces caused by the flowing liquid. Therefore, the permeability in this layer will decrease, causing a large increase in the pressure drop. A study on the effect of sand sorting on gravel pack was conducted by measuring its

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Effect of Flow Rate on Sand B Permeability Figure 9. below shows the result for sample B. from the curve below mention that the permeability at flow rate 20 cc/s is about 1160 mD, followed by 970 mD for injection 30 cc/s and end up with 960 mD for 50 cc/s. From this result it proves that the permeability of each sample, mainly decrease through the time of different flow rates. Generally, drop of the value of permeability is happened in the beginning of the experiment of each starting injection applied until the minutes of 5th. From the 5th minutes until 10th to 15th minute, the permeability seems to vary / unstable for a short period, and it seem stable afterwards. This phenomenon is not always occurred at the highest flow rate used where the permeability is decreasing for a long period but the reducing permeability is higher when the higher flow rate was applied. Effect of Flow Rate on Sand C Permeability Figure 10. is shown the relationship of the permeability ratio aver time for sample C. As bigger particle grain size is being tested, a higher permeability is obtained. For this sample, the porosity is 29 percent. It can be seen that the highest permeability is shown about 1920 mD for injection rate 20 cc/s, 1460 mD for 30 cc/s and 1452 mD 50 cc/s fluid injection rate. This had happened because of particle are stable in slow flow rate. The rearrangement of packing are difficult to occur and the small particles are not migrating to the pore space of bigger particle grain size. In contrast, the force induced in high flow fluid injection are enough to migrate a small particle and rearranged the packing of particles hence reduced the existing porosity. Effect of Flow Rate on Sand D Permeability Figure 11. shows the experimental result for sample D with 600 µm of Median Grain Size Distribution. The result shows that the effect of flow rate on the Sand D permeability as measured at K1 and K2 respectively by using the sand holder. Same as the previous trend, any increasing in the flow rate will result in the decreasing of the permeability. The differential value of permeability is as follows 820 mD for 20 cc/s, 670 mD for 30 cc/s and 528 mD for injection fluid 50 cc/s. The collected data show that a relatively higher reduction of permeability curve trend than the other flow rate, which may be due to the rearrangement of the particle in the sand pack. Hence, if we continue injecting fluid with the same flow rate after 60 minutes, there will be no effect on the graph line, it will be at the constant rate. Because at that moment all the particles in the sand pack had reached a dynamic rearrangements.

Effect of Flow Rate on Sand E Permeability Figure 12. The effect of injection flowing fluid rate toward permeability on the sample E. The curve below shows that the permeability is varied and very unstable in sometime at the starting point, this is regarding to rearrangement of particle grain size due to hydrodynamic force. The Effect of Injection Fluid Viscosity In Figure 13 through 15 it shows that the effect of injection fluid viscosity. There were three samples used in this experiment, which is “Sample C” where represent of uniformity sample. Sample D represented the non-uniformity and sample E is represented of very non-uniformity. In all cases, declining of permeability rate is more significant with 1.0 cp viscosity of water as injection fluid. When diesel is injected into the sand pack with 3.57 cp of viscosity it shows that, the permeability reduction significantly achieved higher. This is due to the higher lifting power for more viscous injection fluid, thereby more grains and particles are invaded and plugged the pore spaces. The increase in viscosity also affects the mobility ratio. The increasing in permeability of the sand pack is due to the increasing in injection fluid viscosity. With high viscosity was injected in the sand pack, the grater the permeability reduction was achieved. These phenomena occurred due to the increase of flowing fluid viscosity will increase the pressure differential too. The increase of flowing fluid viscosity will increase the drag forces as well. The increase of drag force will cause more severe plugging on pores spaces and reduces the flow path respectively. Because of higher drag forces have the higher capability to carry particles and will increase the pore plugging and minimize the pore space simultaneously. The Effect of Sand Sorting The experiment has been conducted to identify the effect of sand sorting on gravel pack toward permeability. This experiment only used water at 1.0 cp as injection fluid and at three different flow rates as well as under both conditions; continuous and discontinuously flow condition. The experiments were conducted with

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flow rate at 20 cc/s, and then followed by 30 cc/s and finally end up with 50 cc/s. All five samples (Sand A, B, C, D and E) had done the same procedure. In Figure 16. it shows that, by increasing the median grain size it will increase the permeability value. In addition, on Non-Uniformity sample with 7.6 of Uniformity Coefficient; C and on Very Non-Uniformity sample with 10.6 Coefficient; C in sample E, presented the very high permeability reduction. This is happened because of non-sorting particle grain size. The small grain size particles are migrating to the pore space of bigger particle grain size. Thereafter, the force induced in high flow fluid injection are enough to migrate the small particle and rearranged the packing of particles hence reduced the existing porosity. At the beginning of the flow time Figure 16. shows that all the graph line has fluctuated, these occur at 0 to 30 minutes of flow time. At these moments, assumed that all the particles in the sand pack are rearranging each other because of the velocity of the flow rate. Nevertheless, after 30 minutes of flow time due to injection, the Figure 16. shows that all line at a relatively constant rate. So, it is predicted that the particle had reached the dynamic rearrangements. From this plateau region, it shows that the uniform sand distribution which is Sand A, B and C have the highest value of permeability compare with non-uniformity and very non-uniform sand distribution, which is sand D and E that had slightly lower value of permeability. The Effect of Permeability responds to Flow Condition. From Figure 16. Generally, permeability under continuous flow conditions is always slightly better than permeability under the discontinuous flow conditions. These phenomena occurred due to the packing already reach their stability while flowing fluid flow at 20 cc/s. The particles only face a small increase of hydrodynamics force compare to unstable gravel packing, which had to face a higher increment of hydrodynamic force at the beginning of particles movement and rearrangement before it reached their packing stability. Therefore, it minimized the pore space sizes and ability of the fluid to flow through the gravel pack besides reduces the permeability respectively. Whereas, for discontinuous flow condition, the increasing of flow rate will increase hydrodynamics force as well. Higher hydrodynamic force will cause a faster movement of particles and more sever of plugged at the pore throat for an unstable/no-cemented gravel pack which the packing had not been reach their stability yet. Therefore, the increasing hydrodynamic force will increase permeability reduction respectively. Field Application of Experimental Results Base on the experimental result, it shows that good sorting will perform the good permeability. Meaning, in field application, gravel pack needed good sorting. We cannot control the sorting on the formation. But, for gravel packing placement, we can control the sorting. However, if formation particles (has smaller size particles) manage to invaded (not penetrate), there is no way to control them (permeability impairment). If smaller particles were invaded, the fine grain particle will plugged the pore throat and it will reduce the existing porosity as well. The bottom line here is that we need to control the movement of formation particles at the sand face.

Conclusions The following conclusions can be made based on the experiments conducted: 1. Higher injection fluid flow rate gave higher permeability reduction. Large median grain size particles with the uniformity coefficients; C, less than three gave better permeability compared to smaller grain size particles with C value less than three. The sand pack permeability reduction is more severe when more viscous injection fluid was used. Good sorting with the uniformity coefficients less than three performed better permeability compare to poor sorting with the uniformity coefficients greater than 5. Gravel packing under the continuous flow conditions is always rewarded the better permeability compared to permeability under a discontinuous flow conditions.

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References 1. BJ Services (1996). BJ Services Handbook; Completion Technology for Unconsolidated Formations. Rev. 3. USA: BJ Services Handbook

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2. Yongquan, H., Jinzhou, Z., Zhinjun, W., Zhaofeng, L. “Sand Control Mechanism Analysis of Metallic Wool Screen”. The Petroleum Society Paper 97-130 Krumbein, W.C., (1942). “Permeability as a Function of the size Parameters of Unconsolidated Sand”. Member A.I.M.E. and G.D. Monk. Bellarby, J. (2009). Well Completion Design. 1st ed. Jordan Hill: Elsevier. 183184. Saucier, R.J., “Considerations in Gravel Pack Design”, SPE Paper 4030, Journal of Petroleum Technology (February 1974), 205-212. Xiang, W. and Wang, P. “Application of Bridging theory on Saucier gravel to examine the sand control effect, “China National Offshore Oil Corporation, SPE 80450, April. 2003. Leone, J. A. (1990) “Gravel-Sizing Criteria for sand control and Productivity Optimization” SPE 20029. Schwartz, D.H. (1968). “Successful Sand Control Design for High Rate Oil and Water Wells”, J. Petr. Tech. 1193-1198. Coberly,C.J. and Wagner,E.M (1038). “Some Considerations in Selection and Installation of Gravel Pack in Oil Wells”. Pet. Tech. D. L., Tiffin (1998). “New Criteria for Gravel and Screen Selection for Sand Control” SPE 39437. Hill, K.E (1941). “Factors affecting the use of Gravel in Oil Well” Oil Weekly. 13-20. Gurley, D.G., Copeland, C.T. and Hendrick, J.O.Jr. (1977). “Design, Plan, and Execution of Gravel Pack Operations for Maximum Productivity”. SPE 5709. “Recommended Practices for Testing Sand Used in Gravel Packing Operations”, American Petroleum Institute, API Recommended Practice 58 (RP58), March 1986. Krumbien W.C. and Sloss, L.L., Stratigraphy and Sedimentation, Second Edition, W.H. Freeman and Company, 1963.

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Figure 1: Schematic of experimental apparatus

Figure 2: Sand holder design configuration.

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Figure 3: Photograph of experimental flow system.

Figure 4: Photograph of sand holder.

Figure 5: Photograph of monometer U.

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Figure 6: Pressure and permeability measurement zone

Figure 7: Formation sand size distribution

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Figure 8: Effect of flow rate on Sand A permeability with 1.0cp

Figure 9: Effect of flow rate on Sand B permeability with 1.0 cp.

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Figure 10: Effect of flow rate on Sand C permeability with 1.0 cp.

Figure 11: Effect of flow rate on Sand D permeability with 1.0 cp.

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Figure 12: Effect of flow rate on Sand E permeability with 1.0 cp.

Figure 13: Effect of injection fluid viscosity on Sand C permeability.

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Figure 14: Effect of injection fluid viscosity on Sand D permeability.

Figure 15: Effect of injection fluid viscosity on Sand E permeability.

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Figure 16: Effect of sand sorting on sand permeability with 1.0 cp.

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