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Optimal well production with Production Flow Recovery
You don't want sand in your coffee. And you don't want sand in your oil, either. But for wells in certain types of formations, sand is an unescapable biproduct. Instead of restricting production to avoid sand, FourPhase introduces Production Flow Recovery (PFR) to allow for optimal well production rates, producing sand while increasing reservoir permeability.

Sand production - the unwanted influx of sand particles into the production stream - is common in many oil wells, especially those with unconsolidated or weakly consolidated formations. Sand production is driven by factors such as high reservoir pressure, fluid velocity, and the mechanical properties of the formation.

Typically, when a well starts producing sand, it is only a matter of time until it has produced too much for the production separator to manage. The standard solution is to choke back the well flow. This lowers the ability of production flow to lift solids to the surface, resulting in lower solids in your oil and gas production topside but it also inherently leads to reduced profits as the hydrocarbon flow is reduced.

Lowering the flow to reduce any solids at the surface reduces hydrocarbon production equally, resulting in lower earnings. In addition, the solids that stay in the wellbore accumulate steadily. If nothing is done, this eventually results in a plugged or significantly choked back well. The traditional approach is to halt production and do a Coiled Tubing clean out. If nothing further is done, the well will start accumulating solids again, and the cleanout procedure needs to be repeated at intervals.

Introducing Production Flow Recovery

The solution is Production Flow Recovery (PFR), which allows you to produce sandy well(s) at an optimal rate without the limitation of solids. PFR using efficient solids management systems ensures increased production, improved process integrity and reduced erosion on downstream equipment.

"Production Flow Recovery is an overarching description of the services FourPhase provides. It is a new market vertical resulting from our technological development, enabling FourPhase to reimagine the traditional ‘Well testing’ and ‘Flowback’ verticals using new methods. PFR results from years of experience with effective solids management systems, enabling FourPhase to maximize your sandy wells’ potential, both in production output and in revenue”, explains CEO Øyvind Heradstveit of FourPhase.

To reinstate production from a solids-producing well, there are multiple solutions using topside solids management equipment. For plugged wells, a DualFlow desander can be deployed to re-start wells using reservoir-driven flow. This saves cost, emissions and planning resources and involves less heavy lifting. A Coiled Tubing cleanout with a desander will also catch any proppants used for well stimulation, and simultaneously optimise production during a flowback operation.

For choked-back wells we will typically install a DualFlow smart desander to remove any solids topside and produce the well at optimal (increased) production rate. Enabling continuous uninterrupted production is the goal. An added benefit is that when you produce reservoir sand to surface you continuously increase the permeability of the well as there is less sand to restrict the flow in the well. For example, data from the Chestnut oil field showed that sand production led to a larger wellbore radius and higher permeability (Ibukun et al.)

FourPhase differs from other suppliers by providing highly efficient solids management system qualified by DNV. Our separation technology provides remote monitoring and control. This lowers the need for personnel offshore, reduces risk of exposure and increases personnel safety.
A $2M increase in monthly production
Case studies show that wells with 30% downtime and significantly reduced capacity can go from reduced performance to delivering an additional $2.0 M/month by introducing FourPhase technology. This was achieved by installing a compact (2x2m footprint) solids management system, including a DualFlow desander and a choke manifold downstream of the wellhead. In addition, a bypass line was installed to maintain production independent of maintenance requirements. In a separate flowback operation, a well shut down for two years due to excessive sand production was restored to a stable $2.6 million monthly production.

Through continuous operation and solids separation, the system ensured continuous hydrocarbon production with no solids entering the production separator. This was confirmed by the sand detection sensors downstream of the desander. With live data streams reported daily, production engineers could make fact-based decisions to optimize production. With the FourPhase desander installed, offshore hydrocarbon production was maintained, continuously generating revenue.
The environmental benefit of Production Flow Recovery
There is also a measurable ESG-benefit from installing an effective solids management system. The traditional approach of jetting solids from the production separators can result in contaminated sand entering the environment. With DualFlow desanders installed upstream, no sand will enter the production separator, thus eliminating jetting. Our latest product is a sand cleaning unit that will also add the capability to clean oil-contaminated sand.

This will altogether avoid contaminated solids being discharged into the sea. As clean sand is no longer classified as a ‘hazardous waste’, it can be transported as normal freight and disposed of by conventional means onshore or even returned to the seabed. It also eliminates the risks associated with hazardous sea freight transportation.

Additionally, our desanding solutions can be monitored and controlled remotely from onshore facilities. This gives tangible health and safety benefits as it reduces personnel on board and eliminates manual tasks by operators on board. A closed-loop system ensures no hydrocarbon exposure to operators and lower emissions to the atmosphere.

Additional FourPhase services

FourPhase provides a range of additional services for sandy production wells/assets:

Jetting operations – emptying solids from production separator using the existing jetting nozzles (typically only installed on 1 stage separator) or jetting nozzles on our smart desanders.

Produced oil/water – Water and oil lines from the separator are continuously cleaned from solids. When cleaned (produced) water is re-injected using pumps, the water is solids-free to avoid solids entering equipment downstream and causing corrosion.

Plug &Abandonment – separate any debris from wells before during plug and abandonment campaigns to ensure high quality plugging operations.
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