A Novel Sand Control Testing Methodology to Simulate Radial Flow regime in SAGD Wells

  • Author / Creator
    Nguyen,Phuong Hoang
  • Sand control devices (SCDs) such as Slotted Liners (SLs) have been playing a crucial role in sand production for Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) operations. Lately, optimizing and selecting the proper design of SCDs in the laboratory to quantify and qualify the SCD’s performance is gaining significant attention from the industry.
    Researchers have been investigating and developing sand control testing setups to evaluate the performance of different SCDs under varying well conditions. Many laboratory sand control apparatuses with various procedures have been introduced, such as the pre-packed Sand Retention Test (SRT) and Scaled Completion Test (SCT). Notably, these current testing facilities employ a linear flow regime, which does not represent the actual SAGD conditions where the fluid towards the well follows radial flow geometry. Little effort has been spent on examining how sand production and fines migration change in conjunction with the radial flow geometry rather than the linear flow regime.
    This thesis introduces and describes a Full-scale Completion Testing (FCT) facility accompanying its testing protocol. The assembly aims to emulate the radial-flow conditions observed in SAGD production wells. Rather than conducting the laboratory testing with disk-shaped screen coupons employed in current testing facilities, the FCT employs cylindrical-shaped screens that allow replicating the flow geometry in the near-coupon region much more closely to the actual in-situ conditions. The assembly is considered an advanced facility to evaluate the performance of SCDs under radial-flow conditions regarding sand retention and plugging performance.
    Many single-phase tests with brine flow were carried out to mitigate the facility’s limitations through numerous improvements identified after each experimental work. Based on the experimental results obtained from successful tests, the flow distribution around the screen was determined to be uniform by investigating the pressure distribution and fines concentration inside the sand pack. Two identical tests verified the testing repeatability in terms of differential pressures, fines production, and sanding levels. The facility can confidently assess the sand retention efficiency under the radial flow regime, which is a more representative testing condition than linear flow.
    According to comparisons performed between the vertical and horizontal tests, it is noticeable that pressure readings, permeability, and fines production follow similar trends with small variations in these two positions. Regarding cumulative sand production, lesser sanding levels were observed regarding the horizontal direction than the vertical one. Additionally, lower fines migration was noticed in radial-flow tests than linear-flow experiments, which can be attributed to lower velocities and weaker drag forces far from the liner, which is the nature of radial flow configuration.
    The study elaborates on the real SAGD flow geometry around the sand control device using the innovative FCT experimental setup and testing procedure, allowing assessing the liner performance under more realistic testing conditions. Testing results obtained from the assembly can be utilized to complement and validate the current testing procedures, which mostly incorporate the linear flow geometry. The facility and operational procedures could be custom-built based on any objectives and motivations concerning SCDs.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.