3M completes North Sea Ceramic Sand Screen deployment for Shell

The North Sea contract was the first time the 3M product had been deployed for major operator Shell. The two companies discussed new technology options and took the opportunity to use a Ceramic Sand Screen in a newly producing, high velocity gas well.

The aim was to prove that a cost-effective intervention and installation of ceramic sand control technology was possible while also providing a viable return on investment.

Sand has long been one of the major challenges for oil and gas operators and service companies. Hydrocarbon production can be seriously limited due to sand ingression. 3M, as recognised experts in ceramic solutions across many sectors, embraces new ways of solving these costly barriers to industry.

The collaboration and investment opportunity with Shell has proven that ceramic sand screens can be deployed cost-effectively. The first ever deployment from a light well intervention vessel rather than a rig was key, while in the long-term ceramics are much more durable than metallic options.

Ian Hunter from 3M Oil and Gas, Advanced Materials Division, said: “First, we had to prove this new technology to Shell then we set about overcoming the operational challenges in a methodical and logical manner.

“Shell chose this product because of its advantages over conventional metal sand screens that are vulnerable to erosion and corrosion. We also had to ensure it could be retrofitted to the existing infrastructure and deployed from an intervention vessel rather than a full-rig based intervention. This had not been done before.

“Working closely with the Shell engineering team provided tremendous insight and time to develop an ideal solution. Together we made the most of the ceramic properties, which withstand extreme abrasion conditions downhole.”

The project took place in the Gannet field, 112 miles east of Aberdeen in the Central North Sea sector. Deployment was from the deck of the light well intervention vessel Well Enhancer using e-line installation and the screens hung from a high expansion Interwell packer.

Mr Hunter added: “Our Ceramic Sand Screens have been designed to overcome the high erosion rates expected during normal production operations and received positive feedback from Shell’s onshore and offshore teams.”

The well will now enter its full-production phase following the successful project.

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