Sanding onset for offshore depleted using critical drawdown pressure: a case study for well X Culong basin in Vietnam
Bui Tu An ^{1} , Nguyen Van Hung ^{1}^{*} , Duong Tien Trung ^{1} , Luong Hai Linh ^{1} , Nguyen Huu Truong ^{1} , Truong Minh Hoang ^{2}
^{1} Petrovietnam University, Baria – Vung Tau, Vietnam
^{2} Ho Chi Minh City University of Science, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam *Corresponding author (anbt@pvu.edu.vn, hungnv@pvu.edu.vn , trungdt@pvu.edu.vn , linhlh@pvu.edu.vn, truongnh@pvu.edu.vn, tmhoang@hcmus.edu.vn )
ABSTRACT. This paper presents the reservoir pressure depletion will cause rock stress changes, which results in an increasing likelihood of serious sand production in the unconsolidated sandstone reservoir. This paper aims at offshore unconsolidated sandstone oil reservoir, analyzes rock stresses of the borehole wall with impact of reservoir pressure depletion on insitu stresses on rock strength. A full review basic theory in geomechanics will be presented, such as: rock failure criterions, sanding critical drawdown pressure calculating model and a numerical calculating method for the model are developed. Furthermore, a case study sanding prediction method for pressure depletion of offshore oil reservoir in Cuulong Basin, Vietnam also is presented. Using the model analysis, on the other hand the chart of sanding onset is relatively large with the high formation pressure depletion. On the other hand, the sand will be appeared no matter how small the drawdown is. KEYWORDS: sanding, drawdown pressure, geomechanics model
1. INTRODUCTION
Currently, there are many studies about geological structure and oil and gas exploration in some different regions in Cuu Long basin using various methods and research materials. Many discoveries have been put into production such as Bach Ho, Rang Dong and Rong. Oil and gas in Cuu Long basin are produced from three targets: fractured granite basement, Oligocene and Miocene sandstone, in which Miocene sandstone is usually unconsolidated or weakly consolidated. Therefore, in production stage, when pore pressure declines, increase of formation stresses causes formation failure so sanding occurs. Sanding normally involves with pressure depletion, mechanical characteristics of rock and production rate. If an oil well is completed without sand control equipment, cohesionles sand particles could be transported from the reservoir to the wellbore by the flow of fluid and cause reduction in production rate. Sand accumulation in wellbore restricts fluid flow from reservoir to wellhead. Sand also causes erosion of downhole and surface facilities. Thus, it is necessary to limit sanding impacts in production stage by selecting an appropriate sanding onset prediction model for forecasting sanding potential of oil wells, which is absolutely necessary. Many sand production prediction models have been developed in oil and gas industry. One of them is technical method and logging to determine maximum production rate in sandstone reservoir without sand control so that sanding does not occur. Core experiments are conducted at reservoir conditions to determine failure states due to stress variation, perforation conditions, etc. In this paper, the authors present the sanding onset prediction model for wells in sandstone reservoir in Cuu Long basin. This model introduces a relationship to calculate critical bottom hole pressure corresponding to a known value of reservoir pressure from core data, insitu stresses, depth, inclination angle and azimuth of well. An excel spreadsheet is also presented to calculate from input data available.
2. GEOLOGY DATA
The geological structure of Cuu Long basin is very complex. The basin was formed as a result of collision of three tectonic plates:
the Eurasian plate from the North, the IndoAustralian plate from the West and South; the Pacific plate from the East [Nguyen et al., 2014]. During preTertiary, entire Southeast Asian continental shelf is influenced by the folding and magmatic processes many times. Therefore, most of the PreCenozoic sedimentary areas, basements were crinkled and became heterogeneous in age and material content. During the early period of Early Miocene, starting of folding, strong subsidence took place in the central of the basin, subsidence rate increased, marine flooded into this area and the egde zones were deltaic. Therefore, a specific system created in this period were characterized by the coastaldeltaic sediments. Along the way to the center of the basin, clay and silt content rose. In deep axial zone, material content was mainly coastal fluvial clay and silt. During the late period of Early Miocene, Rotalia shale section appeared with the thickness of about 200 – 250 m, covered almost the entire basin and acted as a regional seal. During Middle Miocene, the basin continued subsiding, marine incursion flooded into a large area and formed Con Son sediment including sandstone formations alternating thin siltstone layers and shale. In the late period of Middle Miocene, the basin was lifted up. In conslusion, Cuu Long basin experienced various development stages, such as foreland basin (before Oligocene), rift basin (in the Oligocene), folding basins (in the Miocene), and continental shelf basin (from Pliocene to present). Sediment supply sources were mainly from Cuu Long delta in the northwest and Corat – Con son uplift in the southwest. In the initial stage, in Eocene Oligocene, Con Son uplift acted as submarine basis separating between the basin and South China Sea. However, since the late Miocene, the area involved in the process of subsidence and expansion. This process still continues, marine floods to the entire basin, while continental shelf materials are deposited. This basin forms were related to the tensile stresses so faults in the basin were mainly normal and horsts, grabens were formed: this is the main focus of upward movement of oil from the deep reservoirs.
3. THEORY
3.1.
Overview
Sanding is the appearance of small to large amount of solid particles flowing with reservoir fluid. Solid content varies from several grams per a ton of fluid. When the amount of sand produced is larger than a certain limit value (this limit depends on the conditions of specified fields, such as the limit in Gulf Coast field is 0.1% of total volume), sand control must be applied. The consequence of sanding is enormous, sand accumulation in production well can cause well abandonment, formation collapse so that the well can not be produced, sand rise in well while drilling…
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3.2.
Rock mechanics
Changes in status of rock are important to determine failure mechanism. Failure can be seen on the curve (fig. 1), the figure illustrates the change of the rock’s status when pressure changes. Rock has three states: elastic, plastic and failure state. This curve consists of four regions. The figure 1 shows rock mechanics hebaviour under a loading. From the point O to A: elastic deformation, if there is force conducted on the object, it causes deformation and then the object returns to its original position when stopping conducting the force. From A to B: strain changes with stress. From O to B: the elasticity region. Point B is ultimate strength. From B to C: when force is applied, deformation changes and the object can not return to its original position when stopping conducting the force. BC is the plasticity region, state starts changing at point B. From C to D: rupture.
3.3. Wellbore bore stability
In order to determine the stress state of the formation at a certain depth, we consider an infinitesimal element at that depth. Meanwhile, the element is subjected to forces, as shown below (fig. 2).
a. Determination of formation stress
The stresses of the formation are always in equilibrium or steady state. If there is any change of forces, there will be a stress concentration and a new equilibrium will be established. The stress state of the formation is represented by three principal stresses: overburden stress ( _{v} ), minimum horizontal stress ( _{h} ) and maximum horizontal stress ( _{H} ). The methods to determine the magnitude and direction of the stress are microfrac testing, determination of deformation and record of elastic deformation. In addition, methods for determining the stress related to the destruction of formation such as: Kaiser’s effect, bottom hole illustration tools and sonic logging tools. However, stress is also determined through density log by correlations.
In fact, overburden stress ( _{v} ), minimum horizontal stress ( _{h} ) and maximum horizontal stress( _{H} ) are determined through stress gradient values from the researches and measures, these values will be compared with the values calculated from formulas or core
experiments.
b. Formation failure mechanism
When the formation is drilled through the new stress state is set around the well. The magnitude of this new state of stress can be large enough to cause failure to the formation. Any impact of the stress state can cause sand appearance. If bottom hole pressure increases, normal
stress increases and tangential stress decreases. When tangential stress falls to a small enough value, it will change from shear state to tensile state. Most of formation can remain stable against tensile force, but will fail due to shear force. If bottom hole pressure drops, tangential stress will increase and normal stress will decrease. Large pressure reduction in the wellbore can cause normal stress greater than formation strength. Sand particles begins to flow into
the well. Formation failure mechanism includes: tensile failure, shear failure, cohesive failure and pore collapse (fig. 3).
4. BUILDING MODEL
4.1. Studying some models for predicting sand production
a. Field data method
Morita (1989) et al., 1989 study sand production from field data. In this study, five sand types from five different formations are experimented: sand production from weak formations (Alaska region); sand production due to water influx in formations of weak to moderate strength (North Sea region); sand production due to reservoir pressure reduction in strong formations, abnormal tectonic forces (Saint Andreas – California) and sand production due to dramatic change of flow or excessive production rate.
b. Core experiment
Study of perforation stability based on numerical and physical model is presented by Somerville and Bin Samsuri (1991). Physical model consists of two types: block model and cylinder model. Uniaxial compression test is conducted on a block model with length of 457 mm, width of 305 mm, 127 mm diameter dril hole, 12mmdiameter perforation tunnel and alternate perforation density and angle. Triaxial compression test is conducted on cylinder model with length of 110 mm, 55 mm diameter, 25 mm diameter drill hole and alternate perforation density and angle. Wellbore failure occurs at the perforation entrance and propagates along the wellbore. An observation is drawn that: the influence of geometric parameters of perforation such as diameter and length
Fig. 1. Stress and strain relationship
Fig. 2. Stress state of formation
Fig 3. Mohr’s failure mechanism
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of shot hole to perforation stability and sand production is less strong than influence of structural parameters such as perforation density, perforation angle and shape of perforation hole. Spiral perforation tunnel is more stable and produces less sand than other shapes such as linear and plain shape. The perforation stability decreases and amount of produced sand increases when the perforation density increases.
c. Numerical model method
In this method, mechanical characteristics of field are dertermined in laboratory by using finite element method to predict affected formation based on principle stresses at failure position. Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio are determined in stress and strain laboratory. The fine grain and coarse grain models are used to determine their sanding potential. The results show that the amount of fine grains produced increases after limit point and extends when reaching equilibrium. The amount of solid particles produced may involve with the volume and ares of rock limit surface. Therefore, the amount of sand produced can be estimated by defining limit of the rock surfaces around the perforation hole.
d. Welltest method
Welltest process designed properly with efficient operation of surface equipment, bottomhole tools and sand detection devices is the best method to verify sand production at initial reservoir pressure. However, testing equipment and well completion must be compatible with critical pressure drawdown and flow rate. The process must also be operated continuously under the original sand production points to check whether the sand amount of the flow rate decreases fast, otherwise an intermittent sand production does not take place. Sand checking process should include repeat of flow checking steps and the expansion of flow under lightly sand production conditions. 4.2. Sand production prediction model applied to Cuu Long basin
a. Basis of model
Many authors have studied the stress distribution near the wellbore, but mainly focused on the assumption that the vicinity of wellbore is homogeneous, nearwellbore stress zones are poroelastic. Considering a well in space, the stress distribution around the well are determined through the Kirsch’s equation, in this case well model is assumed to be linear elastic and
homogenous.
Let consider the coordinate system where the z axis coincides with the axis of the well and angle from the xaxis to a certain direction (fig. 4). So Kirsch’s equations for stress calculation are as follow Eq. (1) – (3):
Fig. 4. Stress distribution at wellbore
2
2
a
cos
H
H
cos
sin
2
a
x
h
cos
2
y
z
H
sin
2
a
a
h
h
.sin
2
a
sin
2
i v sin
2
i
a
sin
2
.cos
2 i
i v cos
2
i (1)
(2)
(3)
b. Calculation model
From the theoretical basis of formation failure, a sand production prediction model is commonly used today in the oil and gas exploration companies. This model [Edson et al., 2014] predicts the shear stress around the open hole, or cased hole completion (with perforation). Sand production is considered to occur when the maximum effective tangential stress around the wellbore exceeds the apparent axial compressive stress (fig. 5). In this model, formation stresses are considered to be perpendicular to the axis of the well, while tangential stresses on the surface of the wellbore are given by Eq.
(4), (5): 2 1 3y 3 _{x} x _{y} pw1 pw1 A A Apr Apr
(4)
(5)
Fig. 5. Tangential stresses at wellbore
To prevent sand production, the maximum effective tangential stress, _{}_{2}  p _{w} , must be smaller than effective formation strength, U:
2
pw U
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Solving this inequation for bottom hole pressure, p _{w} in Eq. (6):
pw
CBHFP
=
3
1
3
U
2
A
pr
A
2 A
(6)
Critical Drawdown Pressure (CDP) is defined as the pressure reduction from the reservoir pressure to a pressure value at which formation failure occurs, Eq. (7).
CDP
1
2 A
2
pr
3
1
3
_{U}
(7)
Critical reservoir pressure (CRP) is defined as the reservoir pressure reduction corresponding to the CDP = 0. Therefore, we have Eq. (8):
CRP
3
1
3
U
2
(8)
Formation strength, U is determined from thick wall cylincder model experiments with outer diameterinner diameter ration ranging from 6 to 8. Thus:
 U 3,1.TWC  for cased and perforated completion.
 U 2,5TWC  for openhole completion.
Where TWC: is determined from experiment. In addition,
from the empirical formulas
TWC 9.1UCS0.61 or correlations. _{1} and _{3} are linearly dependent on reservoir pressure p _{r} . In production stage, reservoir pressure declines and then insitu stress and formation stress change as a result of reservoir pressure depletion. Therefore, a sandfree producing well can produce sand after a period of time. To study the effect of reservoir pressure depletion on sanding potential, the model is conducted at the different reservoir pressure. In figure 6, the triangular graph is built to identify nosanding regions and sanding regions based on the relationship between depletion of reservoir pressure and critical bottom hole pressure. Thus, there is a critical bottomhole pressure corresponding to a reservoir pressure, if bottom hole pressure is smaller than this critical bottomhole pressure the formation will fail and sand will be produced.
5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
5.1. Mechanical characteristics of Miocene sandstone
TWC
is
also
determined
Fig. 6. Predicting sanding potential by shear failure stress
From the theory above, the sanding mechanisms due to shear forces involve directly with the reservoir pressure depletion. Therefore, to prevent sand production during production stage, fields must be produced at minimum (critical) bottomhole pressure while reservoir pressure declines. To produce above this level, it is necessary to use mechanical sand control and water and gas injection for reservoir pressure maintainance. From core analysis results of some fields such as Bach Ho, Rong, Rang Dong, Su Tu Den, compressive strength changes from 4.4 to 21.2 MPa, average value is 9.7 MPa. According to the classification of Deere and Miller, compressive strength of Miocene sandstone in Cuu Long basin are generally very weak. Poisson’s ratio changes from 0.22 to 0.37 and average value is 0.29. Young’s modulus varies from 2.6 – 9.4 GPa and average value is 4.7 GPa. Permeability varies from 390 – 4402 mD and average value is 2199 mD. Porosity varies from 14.8 – 31.7% and average value is 26.4%. Overall, permeability and pororsity of Miocene sandstone in Cuu Long basin are quite high, so this is a good reservoir. However, sand production occurs easily due to very weak mechanical characteristics.
5.2. Results of model application
The production wells X1, X2, X3, X4 are designed to be drilled in Miocene sandstone, initial information shown in table 1, sanding potential are analyzed with azimuth and inclination of well or perforation angle for open hole and/or cased – perforated wells during reservoir pressure depletion. a. X1 well Sanding potential is analyzed for open hole completion. Results (fig. 7) shows that with the initial reservoir pressure of 9836 psi, the maximum allowable drawdown pressure is 6913 psi corresponding to allowable critical bottomhole pressure of 2923 psi. Nosanding zone expressed by triangular graph describes the relationship between the
Table 1. Wells information
_{X}_{1} 
X2 
X3 
X4 

Well diameter 
in 
8.5 
8.5 
8.5 
8.5 
TVD 
m 
3442 
3045 
3000 
2705 
Inclination angle (i) 
degree 
65 
6 
10 
90 
Azimuth (a) 
degree 
80 
70 
60 
60 
Poisson’s ration 
0.29 
0.28 
0.15 
0.28 

Biot’s constant 
1 
1 
1 
1 

Reservoir pressure 
psi 
9836 
9131 
8000 
3916 
UCS 
psi 
1500 
1800 
1500 
2093 
Overburden stress 
psi 
11150 
9100 
9100 
8509 
Minimum horizontal stress 
psi 
9100 
9050 
9050 
5297 
Maximum horizontal stress 
psi 
10500 
10500 
10500 
6078 
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reservoir pressure and bottom hole pressure. Considering well inclination angle, with constant azimuth, the figure 8 shows that the greater the angle is the bigger the sanding zone is and vice versa. Considering well azimuth, with constant inclination angle, the figure 9 shows that the smaller the azimuth is the smaller the sanding zone is and vice versa. The results show that: when drilling a production well, it is necessary to consider the angle of inclination and the azimuth of wellbore in producing formation to determine the maximum value of bottomhole drawdown pressure without sand production.
Fig. 7. Sand production prediction for X1 well
Fig. 8. Sand production analysis of inclination for X1 well
Fig. 9. Sand production analysis of azimuth for X1 well
b. X2 well
Sanding potential is analyzed for open hole completion, calculation result as in the table 3. Results (fig.10) shows that with the
initial reservoir pressure of 9131 psi, the maximum allowable drawdown pressure is 8536 psi corresponding to allowable critical bottomhole pressure of 595 psi. If differential pressure exists at bottomhole when reservoir pressure declines to 3203 psi, the formation fails and sand production occurs. The figure 11 shows that the nosanding zone is very stable inspire of an increase in inclination angle. Sanding potential is independent on inclination angle when azimuth remains constant (fig 12).
Fig. 10. Sand production prediction for X2 well
Fig. 11. Sand production analysis of inclination for X2 well
Fig. 12. Sand production analysis of azimuth for X2 well
c. X3 well
Sanding potential is analyzed for openhole and cased  perforated completion. Calculation results are shown in figure 13. The result above shows that sanding potential in open hole completion is very high with critical reservoir pressure of 4988 psi, maximum differential pressure of 5121 psi, minimum bottom hole pressure of 2879 psi. In the other hand, for cased and perforated completion well the differential between reservoir pressure and bottom hole pressure could be equal to reservoir pressure until reservoir pressure reachs 6682 psi, critical reservoir pressure is 2728 psi, nosanding zone is very large, so production stage is efficient. In cased and perforatied completion, figure 14 illustrates the result of considering effect of perforation angle to no sanding zone when perforation angle varies from 20 to 60 degrees. The result shows that the optimum perforation angle is approximately 30 degrees therefore nosanding zone is largest.
Fig. 13. Sand production prediction for X3 well
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Fig. 14. Sand production analyses with respect to inclination for X3 well
d. X4 well Sanding potential is analyzed with perforation angle for cased completion. The result in the figure 15 indicates that cased and perforated completion is optimum for this horizontal well, when perforation angle is 45° sand production phenomenon will occur at the end of life cycle of the field. However, when the perforation angle is 0° (peforations are parallel to the vertical line), sand production phenomenon will not occur.
Fig. 15. Sand production analyses with respect to perforation angle for X4 well
6.
CONCLUSION
Sand production prediction model studied in this paper could be applied when production wells in the Miocene sandstone in Cuu Long Basin. This model predicts the failure shear stress around openhole wells, or cased and perforated completion wells. Sand production problem occurs when the maximum value of the effective tangential stress around wellbore exceeds the effective formation strength. From the theory studied above, the sanding mechanism due to shear forces directly involves with the reduction of the reservoir pressure. Therefore, to prevent sanding during production stage, bottom hole pressure must be greater than critical pressure (CBHFP) during reservoir pressure depletion. The methodology to determine CBHFP could be divided into three steps:
1. Determine stress along the well axe (UCS log – derived) in the producing wellbore section from sonic log data, uniaxial compression test of core sample and mechanical formation.
2. From the value of UCS, estimate effective formation strength U from correlation between UCS and TWC, TWC could be estimated by empirical formulas.
3. Estimate overburden stress, reservoir pressure and insitu stresses ( _{1} and _{2} ) along the productive section of wellbore. From the values of _{1} and _{2} and the values determined in the first step, calculate CBHFB using the formula below:
pw
CBHFP
^{}
3 1
2
U
Ap
r
2 A
Calculation results and analysis show that sanding potential of a well depends on effective formation strength, insitu stress states, azimuth and inclination angles of the wells, perfpration direction, the azimuth of the principal stresses. To produce at high flow rate and optimum pressure without sanding, production well in sandstone reservoir must be completed with casing and perforation. Declination angle, azimuth and perforation angle should be analyzed such that sanding zone is smallest and drawdown pressure is maximum. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work is funded by Petrovietnam University under grant code GV1501, we would like to thank to the board of manager of PVU for the support. REFERENCES
Nguyen BTT, Tokanaga T, Okui, A (2014) “In Situ Stress and Pore Pressure Fields in the North Cuu Long Basin, Offshore Vietnam”, SPE
87055.
Edson Felipe Araujo, et al (2014) Analytical Prediction Model of Sand Production Integrating Geomechanics for Open Hole and Cased – Perforated Wells. SPE171107MS. Morita, N., Whitfill, D. L., Massie, I. And Knudsen, T.W (1989) Realistic Sand Production Prediction: Numerical Approach. SPE Production Engineer. Somerville, J.M, Bin Samsuri, A (1991) Perforation stability: Physical and numerical modelling, ARMA 91763.
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