Investigation of plugging and scaling behaviour of selected sand screen materials under simulated reservoir conditions
Research output: Research › Master's Thesis
It is clear that ceramic material is highly erosion and corrosion resistant, more so that common stainless steels. However, it is still not fully understood how the plugging and scaling behaviour of ceramic screens compares with the state of the art stainless steel screens most commonly used in oil and gas wells to prevent the production of sand. The aim of this thesis was to analyse in depth, in a laboratory environment, the plugging due to sand and scaling that occurs in stainless steel and ceramic screens. The plugging behaviour was investigated applying standard sand retention test methodology. The scaling behaviour was analyzed via scaling behaviour evaluation test methodology established in the laboratory. Results of the sand retention test showed that ceramic and stainless steel have generally the same trend in terms of pressure build-up, mass balance and particle size distribution with relatively small differences. Upon closer examination it appears that ceramic screens have a constant differential pressure across screen and filter-cake (representing a gravel pack). Plugging was only observed on roughened stainless steel screens used to simulate eroded screens. The results of the scaling behaviour revealed that in general less scale deposits on ceramic material than stainless steel material; this is due to the lower surface energy of the ceramic material. Additionally it was found that the screen design, i.e. the slot opening pattern caused scale removal to be more cumbersome as compared to a solid coupon without slots regardless of type of screen material. The investigation clarified selected characteristics of ceramic screens and material; however further investigations are required to identify the following: a. Whether or not the differential pressure across a gravel pack is always constant for a ceramic screen b. Whether or not the flow-rate across a gravel pack is always independent of slot size. c. The surface energy of ceramic and stainless steel materials, determined via contact angle measurement.