MeshRite Stainless Steel Wool Screens | SLB

MeshRite Stainless Steel Wool Screens

Filter fluid flow with screens insensitive to particle-size distribution of produced sand and fracturing proppant

3D image of the MeshRite screen filtering the sand particles.
3D image of the MeshRite screen filtering the sand particles.

Why is particle-size insensitivity important when producing from long laterals?

When selecting a screen to filter solids in production from a conventional or unconventional well, grain size and distribution are important considerations, but they may be unknown. The solids may originate from the reservoir, but they can vary from heel to toe; alternatively, you may need to filter sand from hydraulic fracturing. In either case, the cost of solids collection, analysis, and testing may not be feasible.

If 2D tubing screens are not configured appropriately, the results can be detrimental to the economics of your well. Sand screen pores that are too small may result in premature plugging, halting production and requiring a remedial workover. If they are too big, they allow solids to freely enter the production flow, which can erode tubing, destroy artificial lift pumps, wash out surface chokes, and fill up your surface separators, requiring sand jetting and disposal.

MeshRite Stainless Steel Wool Screen
Clean fluid flows and remove solids in production

How do MeshRite screens filter a much wider range of particle sizes than 2D screens?

MeshRite screens incorporate a unique patented 3D pore structure with resilient high flow capacity and almost no resistance to flow in the near-wellbore area or across the screen. They have 40% open flow area—whereas other screens typically have a maximum of 30%—and greater than 3,000-D air permeability.

The unique 3D pore structure has high resistance to plugging. MeshRite screens have angular pores ranging in size from 15 to 600 um, which retain harmful solids and minimize the risk of erosion. Because sand is stopped at or near the screen surface, open space surrounds these particles, and the retained permeability of the screen itself remains high.

Extend pump run life
Reduce production of solids
Increase pump restart success
Shell Extends ESP Run Life by 35% While Reducing Solids-Related Shutdowns and Improving Restarts, Texas
Pump protection system filters sand and solids, improving ESP uptime and production efficiency compared with conventional desanders.
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Why are MeshRite screens a better alternative to downhole desanders for unconventional wells?

Downhole desanders are simple and inexpensive, but they are ineffective at removing a wide distribution of particle sizes. They use the same cyclonic separation principle as hydrocyclone technology, converting the incoming liquid velocity into a rotary motion that separates heavy and light components.

The centrifugal action within a desander that removes sand, scale, and iron sulfide from the produced fluid depends on fluid velocity to generate the force necessary to consistently separate solids. Separation efficiency also largely depends on fluid viscosity and has an inverse relationship—the lower the viscosity of the sand carrier fluid, the higher the separation efficiency.

All wells—especially horizontal unconventional wells—have intermittent flow, comprising slugs of oil, water, and gas. Consequently, the velocity and viscosity of the fluid entering the desander sub changes, resulting in the desander separating solids only intermittently. The low overall separation efficiency of so-called “swirl tubes as a downhole desander device” has been studied and documented in "Experimental Analysis of Swirl Tubes as Downhole Desander Device" by Martins, Rosa, and Souza (2005). MeshRite screens, on the other hand, are insensitive to these production challenges.