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Sand Cleaning – Goals & Objectives of FSM Training Module M8 (B-FSM-133)

We now move on to Facilities Sand Management training module FSM-M8 pertaining to sand

cleaning (also called sand washing). The module goals include the following items;

  • Define what a sand cleaning system encompasses
  • Describe how oil is removed from sand particles
  • Design and operation of a mechanical scrubbing system
  • Integration into overall sand handling system

For those that may have recently started reading this blog series I will restate some of the background information so that everyone understands the basis of this technology series.

Facilities Sand Management (FSM)

In this series, which started July 28, 2017 with blog post B-FSM-001, I am covering the entire contents of my training course entitled Facilities Sand Management. This is a training course originally designed for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and has been given both at SPE and private-corporate events around the world. This is a 2-3 day course that covers both the design and operating philosophy, as well as unit-operations, for handling sand and solids in oil & gas production at the operating facilities. Some basic assumptions are as follows;

  • Facilities: oil & gas upstream surface/subsea equipment for separation, cleaning, and energy addition (e.g. wellhead to custody transfer)
  • Sand: tiny loose pieces of rock
  • Management: to handle or direct with a degree of skill

FSM is not simply a waste stream treatment exercise…it is a critical Flow Assurance issue.

The stated objective is to increase / maximize hydrocarbons production…while reducing / minimizing operating costs.

Step Three of the Five Steps of Sand Management

The Five Steps of Sand Management have been covered in previous blog posts – for example B-FSM-034 and B-FSM-040.

Sand cleaning is Step 3 in this methodology and was introduced in blog post B-FSM-037. This is an optional step undertaken when the sand is to be cleaned and discharged overboard (on offshore operations).

This series of posts will cover the why, what, and how of sand cleaning.


  1. Rawlins, C.H. and Wang, I. 2001. “Design and Installation of a Sand-Separation and -Handling System for a Gulf of Mexico Oil Production Facility”. SPE Production and Facilities, August, pp. 134-140. https://doi.org/10.2118/72999-PA
  2. Rawlins, C.H. 2019. “Enhanced Production Through Surface Facilities Sand Management.” SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation. Link here

Next week I will start with “Why do you need to clean produced sand?”.

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