A research program into the mechanisms and management of solids production is currently underway. The major objective is to develop a comprehensive understanding of solids production mechanisms which will lead to drilling, completion, and operating strategies that can be used to reduce the costs and risks associated with oil and gas production. The research program is comprised of four major components: (1) a Field Study, to conduct a detailed review of past sanding experience by accessing the large body of information that exists within the well records of several companies; (2) a Laboratory Testing program to characterize the hydraulic and constitutive behavior of reservoir materials; (3) a Field Testing program to obtain data for specific reservoir characteristics and to assess products/processes for controlling and exploiting solids production; and (4) a Numerical Modelling program to develop a predictive capability for solids production. At present, the research program is focussing on sand production from heavy oil deposits in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The technical challenges associated with the field study component of the research program are presented and discussed.

This study of solids production is analyzing the entire history of the well, extending from spudding to abandonment This includes the "formation disturbance" effects that accumulate from drilling, cementing, perforating, production and workovers. Data management procedures developed for handling field information are presented. A Reservoir Disturbance Index (RDI) has been developed to quantify the degree of reservoir disturbance created during drilling, completion, production and workover phases. The procedures for computing RDI values and use of this index in comparative statistical analyses are described. Geophysical logs are incorporated in the field study to develop a capability for assessing solids production potential.

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