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From Wellbore Instability and Grain Mixing to Injectivity Reduction

  • Alvin W. ChanEmail author
  • Sharad Yadav
  • Duane R. Mikulencak
Original Paper
  • 75 Downloads

Abstract

Wellbore instability has been registered and expected as one of the risks for successful delivery of horizontal injectors with open-hole stand-alone screens in depleted reservoirs. Special drill-in fluids and breaker fluids were designed to ensure stability of these wells prior to screen installations. Borehole collapse was expected in most cases after the wellbore pressure dropped to hydrostatic at the end of the drilling process. Unlike open-hole producers, the loose particles (or grains) trapped in the annulus of the open-hole injectors will likely undergo constant mixing and resorting during each injection and shut-in cycles. In this study, we examined the impacts of grain mixing on the reduction of porosity and permeability in the annulus using a simple binary mixing model. Laboratory experiments based on this hypothesis have also been conducted. Our preliminary results suggest that if the fines are 10 to 20 times smaller than the larger particles, the presence of a few percent in volume fraction of fine particles can reduce permeability by an order of magnitude. The predicted reductions are consistent with the observed equivalent skin increases at some of our injectors during the first few years of operations. After multiple stimulations to remove fines and residual drilling additives, we successfully re-established injectivities to the initial states.

Keywords

Waterflood Damage mechanism Porosity Permeability reduction Grain mixing Wellbore stability Injectors Enhanced oil recovery Skin 

List of Symbols

Swell

Skin

Kres

Reservoir permeability

Kannulus

Permeability of the annulus

Rannulus

Radius of the open-hole size

Rw

Radius of outer diameter of the screen

KV

Vertical permeability

Kh

Horizontal permeability

ϕ

Porosity of binary mixture

ϕD

Initial porosity of the larger particles

ϕd

Initial porosity of the smaller particles

XD

Volume fraction of the larger particles

Xd

Volume fraction of the smaller particles

δ

Ratio smaller versus larger particle sizes

K

Permeability

B

Geometric factor in Kozeny–Carman relationship

T

Tortuosity

S

Surface area

n

Ratio of size of larger versus smaller particles

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Shell managements for the permission to publish this paper. We would also like to acknowledge our colleagues who have provided their valuable insights, challenges, and suggestions over the years to improve the quality of this work. We are also grateful to the ARMA 2018 organizing committee for selecting our works in this publication and to the guest editors and reviewers for their suggestions and feedback on how to improve this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shell Exploration and Production CompanyNew OrleansUSA

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