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Problems Caused by Sand in Subsea Processing (B-FSM-174)

We discuss subsea sand management in the context of following the same steps and methodology of surface sand management. The processing is the same, only the logistics are different.

Starting with the same question as blog post B-FSM-005 from August 22, 2017 – “What are the Effects of Produced Solids on Oil & Gas (Subsea) Facilities Equipment?”.


  • Any fluid high velocity zones will be subjected to erosive wear by solid particles
  • These are primarily choke and control valves, however pipe constrictions and pump/compressor impellors and blades will be subject to erosion as well


  • Any fluid low velocity zones will experience settling and filling of sand particles
  • These include pipe expansions and long flow-lines or separating vessels


  • Solid particles will interfere with valve range of motion or instrument tubing (plugging)
  • Any pump or compressor seals or tight clearances will experience interference from sand

Oil-in-Water Content

  • Sand can contribute to increases oil-in-water content – however that is only an operating factor when the water will be discharged to sea, which is not feasible (at this time) for subsea processing


  1. Rawlins, C.H. and Ditria, J.C., 2019. “The Subsea Sand Management Challenge – What to do with the Sand?”. Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, 6-9 May, OTC-29278-MS. https://doi.org/10.4043/29278-MS
  2. Rawlins, C.H. 2019. “Enhanced Production Through Surface Facilities Sand Management.” SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation. Link here
  3. eprocess-training.com

Next week I will discuss the Five Steps of Sand Management applied to subsea processing.

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