Many completion engineers use laboratory sand-retention testing as a
tool to select a screen for standalone sand-control applications, some focusing
on prepack and others on slurry testing. Those who use slurry tests for screen
selection typically do so on the basis of the conventional wisdom that slurry
testing is more challenging; thus, it represents the worst-case scenario for
sand production. Furthermore, the general belief in the industry has been that
metal-mesh screens with a "pore structure" are better for sand retention
compared with wire-wrap screens (WWSs) of slot geometry, although they are more
prone to "plugging." These are just a few of the many myths that exist in
screen selection for standalone screen (SAS) applications.
Recent papers on the modeling of sand retention by screens of various
geometries, and supported by laboratory experiments, provided the tools for
predicting sand production in both prepack and slurry conditions, as well as
allowing for a systematic performance comparison of various screens by use of
the entire particle-size distribution (PSD) of formation sands (Mondal et al.
2011 and 2012; Chanpura etal. 2012, 2013).
In this paper, we discuss and challenge many myths in the screen
selection for SAS applications and substantiate our findings with modeling and
experimental data. The conditions under which a slurry or a prepack test would
be more conservative are identified, highlighting the mechanisms of sand
retention (size exclusion or bridging dominated). Wedemonstrate that the
current thinking that prepack tests are always more conservative from a
sand-production standpoint is incorrect. We also show that the concept that
metal-mesh screens are always superior for sand retention than WWSs is
incorrect, highlighting the factors that affect sand production through various
screens (e.g., open flow area (OFA), wire thickness, and fraction of
bridging-sized particles in the formation sand). Finally, a methodology for
screen selection in SAS applications is proposed.
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