Facilities Sand Management
Enhanced Production Through Surface Facilities Sand Management; Hank Rawlins PhD, PE
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Solids identification, separation, and handling is a relatively recently acknowledged requirement for optimal oil and gas production. Solids present in oil, water and gas fluids have detrimental effects on the mechanical integrity and process separation performance of production systems.
Facilities sand management is not simply a waste stream treatmnet exercise. It is a critical Flow Assurance issue with the objective of maximizing hydrocarbon production while minimizing operating costs. Facilities sand management is an Inclusion Methodology utilizing cyclonic based technologies for continuous, on-line solids removal from multiphase or liquid flow. These technologies replace of supplemnt downhole equipment and restores, recovers, or increases hydrocarbon production. Inclusion Methodology removes solids as early as possible from the process stream in solids that are easier to transport and clean, while solving downstream solids problems.
eProcess is the technology leader in the use of cyclonic based solid separation technologies, including wellhead and produced water desanding cyclones, and provides the most comprehensive approach on how to deal with this very real problem.
All oil & gas wells produced sand…therefore all surface facilities must be capable of managing sand in the flow stream.
The Five-Steps of Sand Management
A thorough facilities design requires Five Steps (see graphic below) to fully manage and handle the sand produced. Each step – from separation to disposal – must be integrated into the facility design to maintain hydrocarbon production and prevent flow interruption or equipment shutdown.
- Separate: Solids are first removed from the well or process fluid stream. This is accomplished with a Multiphase Desander, Liquid Desander, vessel drainage, or from settled tank bottoms.
- Collect: To facilitate simple system design, all separated solids are gathered into one central location for isolation from process pressure/flow. Collection is as simple as a Desander Accumulator Vessel, or a dedicated Sump Tank.
- Clean: In many cases the sand requires oil removal prior to further handling. The eProcess Sand Wash System is a modular add-on to remove the hydrocarbons.
- Dewater: Removal of free liquids (water) from sand slurry to minimize disposal volume. The simplest methods use an eProcess Dewatering Systems with a handing mesh bag or screen lined bin.
- Transport: Bring the solids to a disposal location. The design is dependent upon the location (land based or offshore) and disposal requirements (i.e. disposal well, overboard, landfill, road surfacing, etc.).