Sand Production in Gas Storage Fields

Sand production in gas storage fields is a well-known issue. Due to the high-volume retrieval of gas from the formations, even small concentrations of sand at high velocities can result in damage to equipment facilities and even total erosion of pipes at critical points.

Having a sand monitoring system like the ClampOn Particle Monitor, can help keep sand production under control by providing the ability to quantify and set alarm strategies. This will allow the operator to take the necessary steps to operate the gas wells in a safe and optimized manner.

ClampOn has successfully worked with multiple gas storage facilities in Europe and in the western region of North America. Typical production season starts around September/October and ends around March/April.

Almost all the sand produced through the production cycle will happen during the middle and end period due to the higher flow velocities. Having a sand management strategy for these critical periods is essential. Below, are a couple of examples that highlight why customers use our equipment:

Customer experiences:

ClampOn provided Particle Monitors to monitor downhole integrity at a gas storage facility located in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Based on the day to day demand, this facility had to increase retrieval rates to peak levels in order to meet their client’s demand. This made sand production more likely to occur and cause damage to their compressors.

ClampOn DSP Particle Monitor

“We are using this equipment to assist in the monitoring of downhole integrity. In the event one of our completions fails, the well will produce a substantial volume (cubic meters) of sand in a relatively short amount of time, and generally at our peak rates. The sooner we can address and shut-in wells with failed completions, the easier it is to repair the well and the less likely we are to ingest the sand in any of our compressors.” “So far we’ve been very impressed with the ClampOn units and consider them truly indispensable in our daily operations.”– anonymous gas storage facility

ClampOn DSP Particle Monitor installed at a gas storage site to monitor sand production

Another facility located in the Southern Pacific region, historically utilized intrusive corrosion coupons to monitor erosion/sand prior to installing ClampOn’s Particle Monitors. As these monitoring devices were not real-time, they often would only realize problems had started or damage had occurred when it was already too late, and at that point, intervention/maintenance was required.

Our Particle Monitor gives them real-time sand quantities which allows the operators more time to review their options. Options could be to cutback the well to a level where no sand is produced, cutback to a point where a manageable amount is produced, or if they see massive amounts, they can shut-in before more damage occurs.

For some operators, choking back the well is something less desirable, but often a slight decrease in the choke setting can have a significant impact on the sand production rate. Having multiple wells decrease production slightly, is far better than having to shut-in wells due to sand production.

Installing ClampOn Particle Monitors on each well allows the operator to know

  • when sand production starts increasing
  • which wells they can safely operate at a high flow velocity
  • which wells need to have a more cautious production rate

Ultimately this should keep more wells online for a longer period, and/or help prevent unexpected shut-ins during peak season of demand.

ClampOn Particle Monitors not only help meet demand, but also help to decrease maintenance and repair costs by aiding in the prevention of damage to the operator’s facilities, and increase safety.

Read more about ClampOn DSP Particle Monitor here

Short video introduction of the ClampOn Particle Monitor here

Topside sand monitors for monitoring of sand production