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Properties of the Two Classes of Produced Solids in Oil & Gas Production (B-FSM008)

Produced Sand Sample with Seeds, Newspaper, and Chicken Feathers

There are two classes of produced solids associated with oil & gas production: Natural Solids and Artificial Solids.

Natural Solids Production

  • Reservoir material flowing to surface
  • Primary Mode: Completion in place and functional, low concentration of solids at steady-state production
  • Failure Mode: Completion failure or production step change (e.g. water breakthrough) which leads to long-term production of transient rate high-concentration solids
  • Natural solids production is an unplanned event

Properties of Natural Solids

Density: ~2650 kg/m³

Shape: High angularity

Particle Size:

  • 100-150 micron median size
  • Up to 5000 µm top size
  • Generally low amount of fines
  • Looks/feels like beach sand
  • May form friable agglomerates

Concentration: 100 ppmw at primary mode and up to 1 weight % at failure mode

Color: white, brown, or gray

Mineralogy: mostly silica quartz

Artificial Solids Production

  • Solids introduced from external intervention (e.g. something put downhole that comes back up)
  • Includes fracture sand, proppant, corrosion products, gravel pack particles, drill mud, cement fines, injection fines, etc.
  • Primary Mode: Short-term production of high-concentration solids at transient rate
  • Artificial solids production is a planned event

Properties of Artificial Solids

Density: 2800-3500 kg/m³

Shape: Less angularity, rounder

Particle Size:

  • >1000 micron median size
  • Up to 5000 micron top size
  • Negligible fines

Concentration: up to 5 weight % for short-periods

Color: varies widely

No consistent “mineralogy”

Often full of contaminants

All oil & gas wells produce solids. To handle these solids, it is critical to follow the 1st Rule of Sand Management: “Know what comes out of your well.” The information above is a guideline for initial characterization of these solids. Further details on full physical, chemical, and mineralogical characterization of produced solids will be published in future articles.

Bibliography:

  1. Rawlins, C.H., Hewett, T.J. “A Comparison of Methodologies for Handling Produced Sand and Solids to Achieve Sustainable Hydrocarbon Production.” paper SPE-107690, European Formation Damage Conference, Scheveningen, The Netherlands, 30 May – 1 June 2007.

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