Dynamic modeling of channel formation during fluid injection into unconsolidated formations

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11 Scopus citations


Injectivity loss is a common problem in unconsolidated-sand formations. Injection of water into a poorly cemented granular medium may lead to internal erosion, and consequently formation of preferential flow paths within the medium because of channelization. Channelization in the porous medium might occur when fluid-induced stresses become locally larger than a critical threshold and small grains are dislodged and carried away; hence, porosity and permeability of the medium will evolve along the induced flow paths. Vice versa, flowback during shut-in might carry particles back to the well and cause sand accumulation inside the well, and subsequently loss of injectivity. In most cases, to maintain the injection rate, operators will increase injection pressure and pumping power. The increased injection pressure results in stress changes and possibly further changes in channel patterns around the wellbore. Experimental laboratory studies have confirmed the presence of the transition from uniform Darcy flow to a fingered-pattern flow. To predict these phenomena, a model is needed to fill this gap by predicting the formation of preferential flow paths and their evolution. A model based on the multiphasevolume- fraction concept is used to decompose porosity into mobile and immobile porosities where phases may change spatially, evolve over time, and lead to development of erosional channels depending on injection rates, viscosity, and rock properties. This model will account for both particle release and suspension deposition. By use of this model, a methodology is proposed to derive model parameters from routine injection tests by inverse analysis. The proposed model presents the characteristic behavior of unconsolidated formation during fluid injection and the possible effect of injection parameters on downhole-permeability evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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