Key elements: Oil & gas well research + Applied chemical solutions

PETRONAS partner with Matar Fluids Group to control sand in wells

PETRONAS infographicIt is estimated that 90% of oil and gas wells drilled around the globe are in sandstone reservoirs, with approx. 30% of them being prone to sand production.  With reservoir pressure depletion and water breakthrough, sand production is expected to worsen over time in these wells, making sand control or sand management an inevitable challenge throughout a well's lifetime. 

The challenges associated with excessive sand production in sandstone reservoirs have been estimated to cause billions of dollars of losses to the oil and gas industry each year.  Issues include equipment and fitting damage caused by erosion, production deferment and HSE concerns - the latter due to excessive sand disposal and handling requirement on the production platform.

One commonly used sand control method is chemical injection into a sand-prone well as a preventative or remedial measure.  In this instance, resin-based chemical formulation is typically employed, however, this approach may have a negative impact on hydrocarbon production.  Re-treatment of wells is also necessary as the chemicals deteriorate over time.

The PETRONAS-Imperial team is developing a novel formulation for chemical sand control to overcome limitations associated with the industry's conventional chemicals solutions.  The novel formulation for sand control aims to agglomerate sand particles without affecting hydrocarbon production.  Additionally, the novel chemical is thermally and chemically robust enough for re-treatment to be required less frequently.

The key enablers for this chemical development are the state-of-the-art experimental facilities for detailed understanding of the sand agglomeration process, for example, real-time particle tracking probes and the customizable core-flooding test rig.

The team has also developed a reliable agglomerate growth prediction model.  Computational modelling has been a crucial element in bridging understanding from laboratory to actual field conditions, proving to be a platform for accelerated technology development.

Moving forward, PETRONAS is looking to move to a pilot application of this technology in several fields in 2018.