Sand production and migration of fines leading to fines production, can present severe problems and threats to production. Even if the sand and fines do not plug the formation and reduce near wellbore permeability, the production process can be affected, particularly the integrity of the well concerned. At a certain rate of sand and fines production, the tubulars will start to erode, along with the downhole components, such as safety values, and disposal can also become an issue. Therefore, above a certain sand production rate, it is essential to perform some remedial treatment.
Large scale sand control operations may include gravel packs, sand screen installation, fracturing, the use of resins to bind unconsolidated sand together, or a combination of these. However, microgel technology offers innovative approach to sand control problem. Unlike conventional sand consolidation methods which may considerably reduce the original permeability of the formation and have a large operational footprint, microgel offers sand control with minimal inference on the hydrocarbon flow, with deeper penetration into the reservoir. Similar to the applications of microgel technology in water shut off treatments, sand particles are trapped in a cross-linked polymer, which collapses under pressure, and opens the pore throats to oil flow, without reduced released of sand into the wellbore.