Topic: Intervention

Sand Control Simplified

Region: Latin America
Content Types: Report
Date: Sept, 2021

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Presenting in a virtual webinar at OWI LATAM 2021, Bhargava Ram Gundemoni, 3M Global Solutions Specialist, showcased how operators can enhance their oil and gas production and how better sand control can lead to better productivity and profitability.

Beginning the presentation Ram spoke about simplified sand control and the general key performance drivers in sand control selection which are reducing equipment and personnel footprint, risk reduction to enhance safety and durability and finally, operational excellence - for increased productivity and increased return on investments.

Challenges and current market needs

The general market needs are to increase productivity for less cost and achieve less risk to failure. Traditional practices used for the Sand Control Selection (SCS) process are based on mature technologies and methodologies that often fail to meet the key performance drivers. Mature technologies often rely on a metallic filter media which is used as the mechanical sand control barrier downhole. Metallics filter media metrologically has erosion limits that constrict the boundary condition of hydrocarbon productivity. If a more erosion resistant filter material can be utilised, the upper safe operational window can be extended limiting the risk of erosional failure and hot spotting of the downhole sand control system whilst optimising asset recovery where possible. In addition, offering greater longevity to downhole sand control through a material change reduces the reported millions of dollars companies employ in repairing wells with failed sand control.

Disrupting the traditional sand control approach

The solution is a change of metallic filter media to ceramic filter media of the screen. This has been achieved by integrating a full-body ceramic part in the form of rings on a pre-perforated base pipe on to which ceramic rings are stacked and hold with two end caps and with an external shroud on top. The stack of ceramic rings creates a slot opening which is designed for the application spec-in and the ceramic material at the inflow offers erosion resistance and therefore mitigating the hotspotting potential ‒ allowing the operator a wider operating window of productivity.

Ceramic Sand Screens have been proved by deployment in the industry both in green fields and in intervention wells, delivering operators Operational simplicity, Reduced HSE Risk at lower Capex delivering higher productivity. In some cases, Ceramic Sand Screens has been an enabling technology to unlock production potential with faster return on Investments.

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Standardised field-wide approach with simplified stand-alone screen sand control

Ceramic Sand Screens unlocks the operator methodology to achieve a simplified and standardised sand control approach in wide range of reservoir conditions and well architecture as downhole sand control system in OH, cased hole on a rig or through tubing rigless applications. Ceramic Sand Screens have been deployed and delivered success in applications with homogenous, heterogeneous, well-sorted to poorly sorted, low to high fines reservoir of sand properties.

Uphole recompletion using ceramic sand screens in the Latin Americas.

Customer challenges:
The operator posed challenges such as recompleting an interval by installing a sand control through existing completion without the removal of tubing or utilisation of a” big rig”-side track. The well contained high gas rates, high flux velocity and impingement velocity through short net target zones which were expected. Non-uniform, unconsolidated sandstones, and aggressive nature of sand due to its morphology was also a critical factor in planning.

A simple stand-alone screen solution to withstand high gas rates and across the perforations with cost-effective and deployment on a rigless wireline deployment method. The operator defined erosion testing to prove 200ft/s flux velocity prior to the sand pack.

Results and Value creation:
Adding more than 100mn scuffs per day (MMSCFD) to the asset from the zones left behind casing improved productivity and the results showed low skin of just one after 1.5 years of production and in some cases, zero skin was also recorded.

This application was further replicated in seven gas and two oil production wells with high production from short, perforated zones with flux velocity calculated to be 100 to 120 ft/s.

Low capex and high productivity: Marginal fields in Indonesia with ceramic sand screens

Customer challenge:
The operator had to deal with marginal reserves with stacked reservoirs - a challenging low-cost environment. The expected production rates from short, perforated interval leads to high flux velocity and under heterogenous sand particle distribution increases the risk to erosion failure. A downhole sand control solution required to address these challenges. A rigless deployable solution was critical to meet field economics.

3M solution:
Proven high erosion and hot spotting resistant ceramic screens enabled the operator to set the screens across the perforation zone deployed on slickline with one or two pup joints to space out the lower completion depending on perforation interval.

Value creation:
The operator achieved cost savings of up to 70% compared to the previous sand control approach. Diverging from traditional sand control methodology, embracing ceramic sand screens technology as a solution approach in a heterogenous sand particle distribution, not only drove savings on CAPEX but also enabled increase of reservoir deliverability by more than 200% of average cumulative gas produced, High erosion resistant screen properties were a key technology driver in this performance. With a more simplified and faster deployment methodology this approach has enabled the operator to maximise operational excellence in activating more wells in a year. Ceramic sand screens are now considered as standardised sand control technology and methodology within their assets.

As of August 31 2021, 3M has completed 115 installations for sand control with users consisting of 50% oil producers and 50% gas producers. According to 3M, the product also meets ISO 17824 / API 19SS Standards.

To learn more about Ceramic Sand Screens, visit

If interested in such a simplified solution to unlock the production potential assets by addressing sand control challenges, contact Bhargava Ram Gundemoni: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.