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Coupled Reservoir-Geomechanics Model

J. Wang1, R. G. Wan2, A. Settari3, D. Walters4, and Y. N. Liu5

1,4

Taurus Reservoir Solutions Ltd., 2,5 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, 3 Department of

Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary

Copyright 2004, ARMA, American Rock Mechanics Association

This paper was prepared for presentation at Gulf Rocks 2004, the 6th North America Rock Mechanics Symposium (NARMS): Rock Mechanics Across Borders and Disciplines, held in Houston,

Texas, June 5 9, 2004.

This paper was selected for presentation by a NARMS Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted earlier by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as

presented, have not been reviewed by ARMA/NARMS and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of NARMS, ARMA,

CARMA, SMMR, their officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of ARMA is prohibited.

Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgement of where and by

whom the paper was presented.

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a fully coupled reservoir-geomechanics model with erosion mechanics to address wellbore

instability phenomena associated with sand production within the framework of mixture theory. A Representative Elementary

Volume (REV) is chosen to comprise of five phases, namely solid grains (s), fluidized solids (fs), oil fluid (f), water (w) and gas

(g). The particle transport and balance equations are written to reflect the interactions among phases in terms of mechanical

stresses and hydrodynamics. Constitutive laws (mass generation law, Darcy's law, and stress-strain relationships) are written to

describe the fundamental behaviour of sand erosion, fluid flow, and deformation of the solid skeleton respectively. Subsequently,

the resulting governing equations are solved numerically using Galerkins method with a generic nonlinear Newton-Raphson

iteration scheme. Numerical examples in a typical light oil reservoir are presented to illustrate the capabilities of the proposed

model in the absence of the gas phase. It is found that there is an intimate interaction between sand erosion activity and

deformation of the solid matrix. As erosion activity progresses, porosity increases and in turn degrades the material strength.

Strength degradation leads to an increased propensity for plastic shear failure that further magnifies the erosion activity. An

escalation of plastic shear deformations will inevitably lead to instability with the complete erosion of the sand matrix. The selfadjusted mechanism enables the model to predict both the volumetric sand production and the propagation of wormholes, and

hence instability phenomena in the wellbore.

1. INTRODUCTION

The production of formation sand has plagued the

oil and gas industry for decades because of its

adverse effects on wellbore stability and equipment,

while it has also been proven to be a most effective

way to increase well productivity. When

hydrocarbon production occurs from shallow and

geologically young (or so-called unconsolidated /

weakly consolidated) formations that have little or

no cementation to hold the sand particles together,

the interaction of fluid pressure and stresses within

the porous granular material can lead to the

mechanical failure of the formation and unwanted

mobilization of sand. It has been reported that 10%40% sand cuts normally stabilize in time to levels

less than 5% in heavy oil reservoirs [1], while an

average of 40% productivity increase was achieved

through sand management in light oil reservoirs [2].

When sand is produced from reservoir formations, it

can cause a number of problems. These include the

instability of wellbores, the erosion of pipes, the

plugging of production liners, the subsidence of

an environmentally acceptable manner. Each year,

these issues cost the oil industry hundreds of

millions of dollars. Furthermore, sand production

and control becomes extremely crucial in offshore

operations where a very low tolerance to sand

production is allowed. Hence, it is imperative to

find an efficient computational model that has the

predictive capability to assist field operators to

understand this unique process. The ultimate goal is

to design an economical well-production strategy in

which sand production and operating costs may be

reduced to some extent with maximum hydrocarbon

productivity. It is commonly believed that the

mechanism of sand production can be attributed to

geomechanics and multi-phase or foamy oil effects.

However, modelling such a complex problem is a

challenging task since it requires multidisciplinary

physics to capture the whole range of material

response from sand flow initiation to fluidization.

In this paper, sand production is treated as an

erosion process by which a weakly consolidated

sand matrix is disaggregated near perforations of a

multiphase flow. A fully coupled reservoirgeomechanics mathematical model is presented to

account for the effects of multiphase flow and

geomechanics as well as their interaction in a

consistent manner. Numerical solutions, restricted

to a typical light oil reservoir without the influence

of the gas phase, are sought to examine the basic

capabilities of this model. As the wellbore pressure

is lower than reservoir pressure, the erosion process

begins as a result of the degradation of the sand

matrix strength and the drag force imposed by fluid

pressure gradient. The plastic yielding zones

develop due to the material degradation (erosion)

and stress re-distribution, while the wormholes or

cavities form and propagate in terms of the

increasing porosity values. The volumetric oil and

sand productions are also calculated as a function of

time, stresses, and hydrocarbon flow rate.

2. COUPLED MULTIPHASE FLOW

GEOMECHANICS FORMULATION

AND

The single-phase formulation describing sand

production in a deforming sand matrix was derived

in a series of publications [3, 4]. It has been shown

to be a promising method for modeling sand

production in terms of matching numerical

calculations with lab test data, both in heavy and

light oil conditions [5, 6, 7]. In this paper, an

extension to multiphase sand production model is

presented within the same framework of mixture

theory, i.e., a coupled black-oil/geomechanics sand

production model with erosion mechanics is

proposed to further account for the effects of

multiphase flow of three components (gas, water,

oil) and their interaction with geomechanics. The

mass balance equation used in formulating the sand

production problem is typically written as

+ (u& ) = m&

t

(1)

absolute velocity respectively, and m& is the source

or sink term to account for the local rate of solid

loss or gain per unit volume due to erosion.

The fluid/gas saturated sand body is idealized as a

Representative Elementary Volume (REV) which

comprises of five phases, namely solid grains (s),

fluidized solids (fs), fluid (f), water (w) and gas (g)

distribution varies discontinuously over space.

However, an averaging procedure in the spirit of

mixture theory is used to homogenize each

constituent over the REV volume V such that these

individuals are substituted with continuous ones that

fill the whole volume. Each phase discontinuity in

the REV is represented in terms of its own volume

fraction, i.e. saturation and porosity.

wellbore

sand, oil,

gas

cavity or

wormhole

gas (dg+fg)

fluidized solids (g) M , , dV

g g

g

fluid

fluid

solids

(f) Mf , f , dVf

REV

fluidized solid

(fs) Mfs , fs , dVfs

solid

(s) Ms , s , dVs

dVv

dV

Phase diagram

averaged out over a REV of volume dV can be

written as the homogenized solid density (1-)s ,

V

where porosity = dV

dV , and s is the density of the

solid phase. The mass conservation requires that

[(1 ) s ]

+ [(1 ) s u& s ] = m&

t

(2)

boundary, and the negative sign of the right hand

side refers to a solid loss due to erosion since m& is

chosen to be the local rate of solid gain per unit

volume as seen from the fluidized solid phase.

Similarly, for the fluidized solid phase (fs), the mass

balance equation can be written, i.e.

[S fs fs ]

t

+ [S fs fs u& fs ] = m&

(3)

[dV ]RC

condition (RC) is S fs = [dVVfs ]RC

, u& fs is the absolute

velocity of the fluidized solid phase, and fs is the

density of the fluidized solid phase.

The basic assumptions for flow of oil, water and gas

phases follow those used in the classical black-oil

model [8]. The oil phase (o) continuity equation can

be derived at stock tank condition (STC), i.e.

[S o o / Bo ]

+ [S o o u& o / Bo ] = 0

t

(4)

So =

[Vo ]RC

[VV ]RC

[V +V ]

(RC), Bo = o[Vo ]dgSTCRC = the formation volume factor,

and u& o = the absolute velocity of the oil phase.

Furthermore, the averaged density of gas can be

divided into two components: free gas S g g / Bg

[V ]

and dissolved gas gSo , where S g = [VVg ]RCRC ,

[V ]

Bg = [Vgg ] RC , g = BRos g , g = the gas density at

STC

[V ]STC

. Hence, the

stock tank condition, and Rs = [Vdgo ]STC

[S g g / Bg + Rs So g / Bo ]

t

+ [S g g / Bg u& g + Rs So g / Bo u& o ] = 0

(5)

the hydrocarbon liquid or the gas phase, the mass

balance for the water phase is given as

[S w w / Bw ]

+ [S w w u& w / Bw ] = 0

t

where S w =

[V w ]RC

[VV ]RC

, Bw =

[Vw ]RC

[Vo ]STC

(6)

can be related to a

In the above, the velocities u& o , u& g and u& w are

defined somewhat differently from what is

customary done in the multiphase flow literature.

They are interstitial velocities, based on an

assumption that the flow area Aj for the any phase j

is equal to the total pore (void) area AV times the

phase saturation Sj. Therefore, the absolute velocity

u& j is related to Darcy velocity v j (see Eq. (9) that

follow in the next section).

2.2. Equilibrium equation for the solid matrix

The interaction between the mechanical behaviour

of a deforming solid matrix and fluid dynamics

must be incorporated into the governing equations

in order to describe the coupling effects. The

volume-weighted solid velocity u& s provides the

linkage between the fluid and geomechanical

aspects of the problem. The latter involves a

deforming sand skeleton under an effective stress

field eff and the volume-averaged pore mixture

pressure Pm, which must satisfy momentum

balance, i.e.

( eff Pm 1) + b = 0

(7)

a parameter accounting for the compressibility of

the sand grains. The sign convention adopted is that

negative stresses are compressive and fluid

pressures are always positive. The Kronecker delta

tensor is given by 1 such that 1ij = ij . The

averaged mixture pressure can be defined as

Pm = So Po + S g Pg + S w Pw

(8)

In anticipation for the description of fluid flow

through a porous medium, a volume averaged

discharge velocity v j (j= o, w, g) of each fluid

phase relative to the solid matrix (Darcy velocity) is

defined as

v j = S j (u& j u& s )

(9)

particles are a dynamic process that is complex in

nature. It is a future research task to define the

interaction between fluidized particle and fluid at a

micro/macro level. However, the discharge of

fluidized solid phase can be related to the average

velocity of mixture, i.e.

v fs = S fsu& fs = S fs ( v m u& s )

(10)

v m = So v o + S g v g + S w v w

(11)

each individual phase. Successively combining

these equations with Eqs.(9-10), the following five

governing equations are obtained for each phase,

i.e.

m&

+ [(1 ) u& s ] =

t

[ ( S fs 1)]

t

+ [S fs v m + (1 + S fs ) u& s ] = 0

(12)

(13)

v

S u& S

. o + o s + o = 0

Bo t Bo

Bo

(14)

v

S u& S

. w + w s + w = 0

Bw t Bw

Bw

(15)

S u&

R S u&

v g / Bg + g s + Rs v o / Bo + s o s

Bg

Bo

S g

R S

+ s o +

=0

Bg

t Bo

(16)

Eqs.(12-16) must be supplemented with constitutive

laws describing sand particle erosion, fluid flow,

and deformation of the sand matrix. It is commonly

believed that the driving force causing the solid

detachment from the sand matrix is due to

hydrodynamics and geomechanics. Based on

phenomenology, a possible functional form of mass

generation can be obtained from the inverse of

filtration theory as proposed in refs. [9,10], i.e.

m&

= (1 ) S fs v m

if v m v crm

=0

if v m < v crm

(17)

below which no sand production occurs. The

erosion coefficient provides a length scale that

can be linked to the accumulated plastic strains p

through the following relationship, i.e.

= ( p ) = 0 +

p

p / max

p

+ p / max

(18)

p

corresponds to the

while 0 is a constant, and max

maximum plastic shear strain calculated for the

entire domain. Eq.(18) gives a hyperbolic variation

of with respect to normalized plastic shear strain

p

p / max

, i.e. with increasing plastic strains,

becomes larger which in turn increases erosion

activity as implied in Eq.(17), see Figure 2.

law is used to establish the relation between

pressure gradient Pj and volumetric fluid mixture

vj =

Pj

(19)

tensor that can be related to porosity via the

Carman-Kozeny equation or its variant, i.e.

= 0 +

p

p / max

p

p

+ / max

p

p / max

k = k0

0

3

1 or k = k0 exp A

1

2

(1 )

1

(20)

parameter. Turning to solid skeleton deformations, a

more adequate constitutive law based on plasticity

and incorporating stress dilatancy aspects must be

used, considering that sand behaviour is mainly

dissipative and dominated by grain slippage,

rearrangement, dilation and destructuration. A yield

function F ( ) based on Mohr-Coulomb is

considered adequate, while a plastic potential

function G must be introduced to calculate plastic

strains. The flow rule basically defines the plastic

strain increment vector as the normal to the plastic

potential function G and its magnitude determined

from the plastic multiplier , i.e.

G

eff

d 0 if F ( ) = 0 and dF = 0

d = 0 if F ( ) = 0 and dF < 0

d p = d

(21)

degradation of the porous medium as the erosion

proceeds, it is assumed that the material properties

such as cohesion C and friction angle drop

linearly with porosity , i.e.

C = C0

max

1

1

and = 0

1 0

1 0

(22)

damage law enables this model to account for the

effect of the degradation of the porous medium due

to the erosion. More precisely, the plastic

deformation of sand matrix increases the erosion

process also weakens the sand matrix through

degradation of its strength properties, see Eq.(22).

In order to complete the derivation of governing

equations, we have to define the capillary pressure

Pc relationship. The most practical method is to use

an empirical correlation relating the capillary

pressure and phase saturations [8], i.e.

Pcow = P0 Pw = f ( S o , S w )

Pcog = P0 Pw = f ( So , S g )

(23)

eight

field

unknowns,

namely,

, S fs , Pj ( j = o, g , w) and u i (i = 1, 2, 3) in the

three-dimensional case.

3. STABILIZED FINITE ELEMENT

SOLUTIONS

Wn +1 ( Vn +1 ) = H n +1 ( Vn )

(25)

from Eqs.(12-16) and subscripts n and n+1 refer to

time stations t n and tn +1 respectively. Eq.(25)

represents the standard non-linear matricial

equations that can be solved via iterative schemes

such as the Newton-Raphson method. If superscript

k denotes the iteration number during successive

attempts to final solution, then expanding Eq.(25)

using the Taylors series leads to

k

rather straightforward, both their finite element

discretization and solution are challenging due to

the nature of the equations and field variables.

Numerical instability arises in terms of node-tonode oscillations. Over the past several years, the

authors developed a generic numerical stabilization

scheme - an optimized local mean technique. By

enriching main field variables with high gradient

terms, sharp non-local changes can be captured in

the computations to ensure stable solutions. Then,

the enriched field variables enter into the governing

equations of physics by way of averaging of the

field values in the neighbourhood of a continuum

point, see details in [11]. Thereafter, the finite

element discretization of the modified governing

equations is ready to be expressed in terms of

variables V, i.e. the nodal displacement

ui (i = 1, 2, 3) , phase pressure P j ( j = o, g , w) ,

porosity , and fluidized sand saturation S fs .

V ( x, t ) = N k ( x ) V (t )

functions) over the entire domain to above

governing equations in turn together with

discretizing time derivatives by standard finite

difference formula and also linearizing time

variables, a system of five non-linear equations is

obtained with its generic form, i.e.

(24)

respectively fluidized solid saturation, porosity,

fluid pressure, displacement, and interpolation

function at node p, for p=1 to nh , the total number

of nodes. It is again recalled that Einstein index

notation is used with repeated indices implying

summation and the index p is dummy. Applying

Galerkins method of weighted residual (with

Wnk+1 ( Vnk+1 ) +

W

Vnk+1 = H n +1 ( Vnk )

V n +1

(26)

iteration k is

[ ] [H

Vnk+1 = J kn +1

n +1

(27)

k

in which J n1 is the Jacobian of the linearized

system, i.e.

k

k

n +1

W

=

V n +1

(28)

convergence criteria are satisfied, i.e.

Vnk++11 Vnk+1 <

(29)

Hence, the incremental form of the equations to be

solved at the element level emerges as

[A1]

[B1]

[C1]

[D1]

[A2]

[B2]

[C 2]

[D 2]

[A3]

[B3]

[C 3]

[D3]

[A4] k S kfsn+1

[B 4] nk+1

[C 4] p kn+1

[D 4] n+1 u kn+1

= X ( S kfsn+1 , nk+1 , p kn +1 , u kn +1 )

(30)

previous iteration, and [A1], [A2],... [D2], [D3] are

solid, and stress-deformation properties [12]. The

procedures of Newton-Raphson algorithm are listed

in Table 1. From a practical point view, we have to

address properly the various coupling strategies, i.e.

decoupling, explicit, and implicit coupling

techniques before proceeding with the fully coupled

reservoir/geomechanics simulation [13].

Table 1. Procedures for Newton-Raphson scheme

1. Set the initial value k=0 and initial values for each variable

k

3. Calculate the right hand side X in Eq.(30)

4. Solve Eq.(30)

5.Check for convergence

IF: Eq.(29) is satisfied THEN

Go to next time step

ELSE

Go to : 2 with new trial value for each variable and k=k+1

ENDIF

4. NUMERICAL EXAMPLES

In the following simulation, a numerical example of

a light oil reservoir in North Sea is examined under

hydrodynamics and geomechanics, while examples

in heavy oil reservoirs can be found in a series of

publications [5, 6, 7]. In this paper, no gas phase

effect is presented, given the space restriction.

0.5

0.4

simulation is conducted as follows. First, the initial

state of the reservoir is computed based on an oil

saturation pressure of 27.6 MPa and an external

stress of 42 MPa is imposed on both wellbore and

outer boundaries. Then, the stress around wellbore

is changed to a reservoir pressure of 27.6 MPa to

simulate the open-hole completion. Finally, a 3

MPa drawdown is applied at three perforations (P1,

P2, and P3) as shown in Figure 3.

The length of each perforation is 0.25 m with a

0.012m diameter for P2, and a 0.006m diameter for

both P1 and P3. These, in fact, refer to eight

perforations for the full well configuration. The

initial porosity and erosion coefficient in the

perforations are set to 0.6 and 3 m-1 respectively to

account for the disturbance caused by the

perforation process, while they are set to 0.25 and 2

m-1 in the remainder part of the reservoir formation.

Finally, the entire finite element grid is comprised

of 3840 nodes and 3705 4-nodes elements and the

time step size used in the analysis is 0.005 day for a

total time span of 5 days investigated. Table 2

shows the material properties (fluid and

geomechanics) used in the simulation.

Table 2. Model parameters

0 = 2 or 3 m-1

s = 2.7 g/cm3

K0x = 0.5 Darcy K0y = 0.1Darcy

C0 = 6 MPa

E = 2 GPa

ext = 42MPa

0 = 30

=0.008

=0.1

o = 0.8 g/cm3

= 5 cp

= 0.25

P0= 27.6 MPa

are plotted in the vicinity of the wellbore, within the

first 1 m, 2 m and 5m as indicated in XY axes

respectively.

0.3

extends to 5 m

Fig. 3. Mesh layout near wellbore showing perforations.

completion and perforations

In order to examine the wellbore instability and

sand production, it is essential to understand the

open-hole completion and perforation process. The

process is simulated by lowering the initial stresses

42 MPa at inner holes to the initial reservoir

pressure and the outer ones are kept to initial stress

conditions after reservoir initialization.

mesh representing one quarter of a section of a

vertical well of inner radius r0 = 0.1 m with the

outer boundary of the well extending to 5 m. The

initial fluidized sand saturation Sfso and porosity 0

in Figure 4. This is due to the stress re-distribution

around wellbore and the existence of a weakened

zone in the perforations (0=0.6) during the drilling

process. It is critical to capture the developed plastic

zones due to drilling and perforation, since the

0.2

0.1

P3

P2

perforations

0

P1

0.1

0.2

x(m)

0.3

0.4

0.5

time=0.3days

0.14

0.13

0.12

0.11

0.11

0.10

0.09

0.08

0.07

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

0.75

y(m)

as defined in Eq.(18) - the larger the plastic shear

strains are, the more intensive the erosion activity

is. This enables the simulator to automatically

capture the disturbance caused by open-hole

completion and perforation in terms of the initial

values of erosion coefficient and porosity around

wellbore and perforations at the beginning of the

drawdown.

0.5

1

0.25

P1

0.75

0

P2

P3

0.25

0.5

0.75

x(m)

y(m)

0.5

2

time=0.6days

0.25

0.14

0.13

0.12

0.11

0.11

0.10

0.09

0.08

0.07

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

1.5

P1

P2

P3

0.25

0.5

x(m)

0.75

y(m)

completion and perforations (before drawdown).

0.5

0.5

1.5

x(m)

5

time=2days

0.14

0.13

0.12

0.11

0.11

0.10

0.09

0.08

0.07

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

y(m)

From this section on, we look at the field variable

profiles due to drawdown. Figures 5-7 illustrate the

spatial distribution of the fluidized sand saturation

Sfs at four different times t=0.3 day, 0.6 day, 2 days

and 5 days after drawdown. It is noticed that a sharp

rise in fluidized sand saturation develops in the

region near the perforations P1 and P2 with the

remaining part of the well being at near initial

values of Sfso. The amplification factor for fluidized

sand saturation near the perforation, defined as the

current saturation value over the initial one, is about

70 times at location P1 for time t=0.3 day, 110

times at location P2 for time t=0.6 day, and 140

times at location P3 for time t=5 days respectively.

These numbers indicate that there is a dramatic

increase in the creation of fluidized sand

corresponding to sand production. In general, an

increase in fluidized sand saturation is governed by

the relative rates at which volume of fluidized sand

Vfs and void volume VV are changing, since Sfs =

Vfs/VV. This sharp change is due to the physics of

the problem described as follows. Initially, erosion

preferentially occurs in the x-direction near

x(m)

saturation profile, which indicates a decline in

erosion activity because there is no material left for

the erosion around wellbore.

prevail, which in turn give way to high fluidized

2

12.00

11.29

10.57

9.86

9.14

8.43

7.71

7.00

6.29

5.57

4.86

4.14

3.43

2.71

2.00

time=0.3days

1.5

y(m)

five times greater than the vertical one. As most of

the sand particles are mobilized to produce a very

loose matrix, further erosion takes place in regions

where more sand particles are available.

0.5

4

time=5days

0.14

0.13

0.12

0.11

0.11

0.10

0.09

0.08

0.07

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

y(m)

x(m)

propagation

As defined in Eq.(17), the erosion coefficient is a

function of plastic shear strain. This indicates that

most erosion activity is confined and intensified in

only plastic shearing regions. The larger the plastic

shear is, the more intensive the erosion is. In other

words, the erosion activity aligns itself with the

plastic yielded zones where plastic shearing of the

material is most prevalent. Figures 9-11 show the

distribution of erosion coefficient with time

around the wellbore. The erosion activity is most

intense around the wellbore and perforations at the

very beginning, and then propagates further inside

the perforations where the sand matrix has a weak

material strength (initial porosity 0.6), and in the xdirection where the pore pressure depletion is the

fastest due to high permeability in x-direction

initially. This is due to increasing erosion activity

taking place as porosity increases and ultimately

degrades the material strength. These will be

discussed in later sections.

Figure 12 shows the initiation of erosion at the

perforations at time t=0.3 day. In fact, at the edges

y(m)

1.5

12.00

11.29

10.57

9.86

9.14

8.43

7.71

7.00

6.29

5.57

4.86

4.14

3.43

2.71

2.00

time=0.6days

0.5

0.5

x(m)

1.5

2

12.00

11.29

10.57

9.86

9.14

8.43

7.71

7.00

6.29

5.57

4.86

4.14

3.43

2.71

2.00

time=5days

1.5

y(m)

x(m)

1.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

x(m)

1.5

Eq.(16). However, the maximum erosion activity

x(m)

0.5

0.5

0.4

time=0.3days

0.3

y(m)

0.77

0.73

0.70

0.66

0.63

0.59

0.56

0.53

0.49

0.46

0.42

0.39

0.35

0.32

0.28

0.75

0.25

0.2

0.25

0.5

x(m)

0.75

0.1

P1

P2

0

2

0.77

0.73

0.70

0.66

0.63

0.59

0.56

0.53

0.49

0.46

0.42

0.39

0.35

0.32

0.28

1.5

0.5

P3

0.1

0.2

x(m)

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.4

time=0.6days

0.3

y(m)

Porosity

time=0.6days

y(m)

0.77

0.73

0.70

0.66

0.63

0.59

0.56

0.53

0.49

0.46

0.42

0.39

0.35

0.32

0.28

Porosity

time=0.3days

Porosity

time=5days

y(m)

y(m)

shown in Figure 12. In fact, the most intensive

erosion activity follows geomechanically yielded

zones and a preferential direction of high flux, i.e.

x-direction. Figure 13 shows the coalescence of

eroded zones around perforations P1 and P2 into a

ring of loose sand of about 0.5 m in radius. The

porosity values approach 0.77 and physically

correspond to the formation of a cavity and

mechanical failure of the wellbore. Figure 14 shows

a snapshot of the fully developed zone of high

porosity that is initiated at the perforations, and

which localizes along the plastic yielded zones and

high flux regions.

0.2

0.5

x(m)

1.5

2

0.1

As the cavity enlarges, the permeability of the

reservoir increases since it is a function of porosity

in Eq.(19). The gradually increased permeability

enhances the well productivity. It is expected that

P1

P2

P3

0.1

0.2

x(m)

0.3

Figure 15 at the beginning of drawdown. Then, the

high porosity regions as shown in Figure 16, i.e.

mostly x-direction in anisotropic permeability case.

It is also worth to mention that the erosion process

increases the fluid flux by degrading the sand

matrix where more regions progressively yield

plastically due to the high fluid flux and stress

redistribution. Figure 17 shows an increased flux

region around the wellbore at time t=5 days.

0.5

In this section, we look at the plastic shear strain

and stresses distribution in the well. The pressure

induced drag forces develop excessive plastic shear

strains around perforations in both x- and ydirection (maximum value is about 9% after 5 days

in Figure 19). It is also noted that the material

strength parameters, i.e. cohesion C and friction

angle follow the same distribution as that of

porosity with time since they are defined as a linear

function of porosity in Eq.(22).

2

0.4

time=5days

0.090

0.086

0.081

0.077

0.073

0.069

0.064

0.060

0.056

0.051

0.047

0.043

0.039

0.034

0.030

0.026

0.022

0.017

0.013

0.009

0.004

0.003

0.001

0.000

0.000

time=5days

0.3

y(m)

1.5

y(m)

0.2

0.1

P1

P2

0.5

P3

0.1

0.2

0.3

x(m)

0.4

0.5

0.5

x(m)

1.5

5

(Pa)

-7.00E+06

-7.53E+06

-8.05E+06

-8.58E+06

-9.11E+06

-9.63E+06

-1.02E+07

-1.07E+07

-1.12E+07

-1.17E+07

-1.23E+07

-1.28E+07

-1.33E+07

-1.38E+07

-1.44E+07

-1.49E+07

-1.54E+07

-1.59E+07

-1.65E+07

-1.70E+07

4

time= 5 days

y(m)

conditions, the dissipation of fluid pressures around

the well also occurs in regions of high

permeabilities, i.e. x-direction. As sand is being

produced, the fluid pressure slowly depletes more

from initial values of 27.6 MPa on the outside

boundary to 24.5 MPa than at perforations P1, P2,

and P3 around the wellbore, as shown in Figure 18.

5

(Pa)

2.74E+07

2.72E+07

2.70E+07

2.69E+07

2.67E+07

2.65E+07

2.63E+07

2.61E+07

2.59E+07

2.57E+07

2.55E+07

2.54E+07

2.52E+07

2.50E+07

2.48E+07

Time=5days

y(m)

x(m)

x(m)

important to look at the stress distribution after sand

production. Figures 20-22 show the distribution of

effective stresses xx, yy, xy at 5 days after

drawdown. Due to fluid pressure reduction through

three perforations, drag forces are imposed upon

three perforations, causing a reduced stress xx in P3

(Pa)

-7.00E+06

-7.53E+06

-8.05E+06

-8.58E+06

-9.11E+06

-9.63E+06

-1.02E+07

-1.07E+07

-1.12E+07

-1.17E+07

-1.23E+07

-1.28E+07

-1.33E+07

-1.38E+07

-1.44E+07

-1.49E+07

-1.54E+07

-1.59E+07

-1.65E+07

-1.70E+07

4

time=5 days

y(m)

x(m)

Figure 23 gives both the oil and sand rates over the

time of fluid drawdown. We observe that the sand

production rate rapidly increases in an initial phase

to reach a peak value in approximately 0.5 day.

During this time period, the oil rate gradually

increases as well. Then, this phase is followed by a

decline in sand production rate corresponding to the

decrease in availability of sand grains. However, the

oil rate continues to increase given the enhancement

in permeability of the reservoir induced by sand

production. This trend is also observed in oilwells

under sand production.

12000

1200

10000

1000

8000

800

6000

600

oil rate

sand rate

4000

2000

time=5 days

y(m)

x(m)

25000

3000

20000

2500

2000

15000

oil rate

sand rate

10000

1500

1000

5000

500

0

0

conditions.

(Pa)

3.00E+06

2.84E+06

2.69E+06

2.53E+06

2.38E+06

2.22E+06

2.07E+06

1.91E+06

1.76E+06

1.60E+06

1.45E+06

1.29E+06

1.14E+06

9.82E+05

8.26E+05

6.71E+05

5.16E+05

3.61E+05

2.05E+05

5.00E+04

time (days)

200

0

400

(31)

qoil = v f dS ; qsand = S fs v f dS

20. Also, the stress yy is reduced in P1 and

increased around P3, as shown in Figure 21. Figure

22 shows the tangential stress profile distribution.

The high stress values indicate a highly sheared

zone. Depending on the re-distribution of pore

pressure and stress during erosion, the high shear

stress zone shifts and grows, which in turn causes

the evolution of plastic shear yielded zones.

time (days)

conditions.

In the previous sections, detailed spatial

distributions of governing field variables with time

were discussed and the analysis revealed local

phenomena during sand production. From an

engineering point of view, we would be interested

in examining the total oil and volumetric sand

production rates as integrated over the total

perforation area S (P1, P2, and P3) of the wellbore.

Hence,

case is also computed with kx0=ky0=0.5 Darcies. As

expected, more sand and higher oil rates are

obtained as larger initial reservoir permeability

prevails in y-direction, see Figure 24. The same

peak value of fluidized sand saturation is calculated,

but a smoother decline curve of sand rate is

obtained in isotropic case, since there is no erosion

lag due to anisotropic permeability conditions.

52.

5. CONCLUSIONS

A fully coupled reservoir/geomechanics numerical

model is presented based on an extension of a

theoretical and numerical model that the authors

have developed in the past to address sand

production as an erosion problem coupled with

hydro- and geo-mechanical effects. This is done

within the framework of mixture theory in which

mechanics and transport equations are written for

each of the concerned phases, i.e. solid, fluid (oil,

water), gas, and fluidized solid.

Leaving aside gas-related issues, it is found that

sand production is a function of stress, time, and

fluid rate. Sand erosion activity is strongly linked to

geomechanics and there is an intimate interaction

between sand erosion activity and deformation of

the solid matrix. As the erosion activity progresses,

porosity increases and in turn degrades the material

strength. Strength degradation leads to an increased

propensity for plastic shear failure that further

magnifies the erosion activity. An escalation of

plastic shear deformations will inevitably lead to

wellbore instability with the complete erosion of the

sand matrix. The self-adjusted mechanism enables

the model to predict both the volumetric sand

production and the propagation of wormholes.

The multiphase results including gas phase will be

presented in a forthcoming paper. The proposed

model can be used for wellbore stability analysis

and design in open-hole completions, perforation

pattern design, as well as volumetric sand prediction

at different pumping strategies in terms of

optimization of the hydrocarbon production.

6. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude

for funding provided by Alberta Ingenuity Fund

(AIF) and the National Science and Engineering

Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

REFERENCES

1.

imaging of wormhole growth under solution gas

drive. SPE Reservoir Journal. 2: 1, 3745.

2.

erosion model for volumetric sand predictions in a

north sea reservoir. SPE Reservoir Evaluation and

Engineering. 4450.

3.

production within a continuum mechanics framework.

4.

production in unconsolidated oil sand using a coupled

erosional-stress-deformation model. Journal of

Canadian Petroleum Technology. 43:2, 4753.

5.

Wan, R.G. and J. Wang: 2002. A Coupled StressDeformation Model for Sand Production using

Streamline Upwind Finite Elements. In Proceedings of

the Eighth International Symposium on Numerical

Models in Geomechanics NUMOG VIII, Rome, Italy,

10-12 April, 2002, eds. Pande & Pietruszczak, 301

309. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam. ISBN 90 5809 359 X

6.

production and wormhole propagation in an oil

saturated sand pack using stabilized finite element

methods. Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology.

43:4, 4653.

7.

Production and Erosion Growth under Combined Axial

and Radial Flow. SPE International Thermal

Operations and Heavy Oil Symposium and

International Horizontal Well Technology Conference

SPE 80139. Calgary, Canada, 47 November 2002.

8.

simulation. London. Elservier Applied Sci.

9.

1996. Hydromechanical aspects of the sand production

problem. Transport in Porous Media. 22, 225-244.

1998. Coupled wellbore erosion and stability analysis.

Int. J. Numer. Anal. Methods Geomech. 22, 749-769

11. Wang, J. and R.G. Wan. 2004. Computation of Sand

Fluidization Phenomena using Stabilized Finite

Elements, Finite Elements in Analysis and Design (in

press).

12. Wang, J. 2003. Mathematical and numerical modeling

of sand production as a coupled geomechanicshydrodynamics problem. Calgary. (PH. D. dissertation)

13. Settari, A. and D. A. Walters. 2001. Advances in

coupled geomechanical and reservoir modeling with

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