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Technical Paper: Case History: Sand Handling and Hydrocarbon Containment During a Coiled Tubing Cleanout of a Live Deepwater Well

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 166531
Presentation Date: 2013
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Abstract

Procedures, photographs, diagrams, results, and recommendations are shared from an operation to remove sand plugs from a high-pressure deepwater well with a failed lower completion. Specific recommendations minimize risk and provide for the safe handling of sand on the surface as the oil passes below bubblepoint pressure and undergoes rapid expansion. This paper includes photos, diagrams, and lessons learned from an operation conducted during the month of December 2011.

Removing sand plugs from a live well entails multiple risks. As the hydrocarbon is circulated to surface, gas will evolve and expand rapidly, increase the velocity of the mixture and pose the risk of loss of containment due to erosion, especially if sand is entrained within the mixture. Any interruption to surface handling of wellbore fluids and sand creates the risk of stuck coiled tubing. Coiled tubing stuck inside production tubing in a live well would result in an unwelcome and probably difficult fishing job.

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