3M Mining, Oil & Gas
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    3M helps Shell hold back the sand

    March 30, 2017
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    3M helps Shell hold back the sand

    A breakthrough ceramic-based screen technology from 3M offers a new way to stop sand blocking oil and gas wells

    3M helps Shell hold back the sand

    3A breakthrough ceramic-based screen technology from 3M offers a new way to stop sand blocking oil and gas wells

    3M helps Shell hold back the sand

    A breakthrough ceramic-based screen technology from 3M offers a new way to stop sand blocking oil and gas wells

    • Sand has long been one of the major challenges for oil and gas operators as it can block wells and stop production in its tracks, costing the industry dearly.

      Companies such as Shell can spend millions of pounds each year on downhole sand control and conventional metallic sand screens are prone to early failure due to erosion. Now a breakthrough ceramic-based technology from 3M offers an alternative that is highly resistant to erosion and offers superior thermal and pressure resistance.

      In a global oil and gas industry first, 3M Ceramic Sand Screens have been installed in a newly producing, high velocity gas well in the North Sea for Shell using a light well intervention vessel instead of a full rig. Ian Hunter from 3M’s Advanced Materials Division, said: “Although we know that only a foolish man builds his house on sand, in the Oil and Gas industry there is often little choice.

      “3M technical ceramics are recognised for hardness and toughness, vital properties in downhole sand control. Our Ceramic Sand Screens have been designed to overcome the high erosion rates expected during normal production operations and to offer a cost-effective solution for the industry by helping to minimise downtime and maximise production.”

      The project took place in the Gannet field, 112 miles east of Aberdeen in the Central North Sea.

      Ian said: “First, we had to prove this new technology to Shell and the next stage was overcoming a number of operational challenges.

      “Shell chose the 3M solution because of its advantages over conventional metal sand screens that are vulnerable to erosion and corrosion. We then had to ensure it could be retrofitted to the existing infrastructure and deployed from an intervention vessel rather than using 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 a bespoke solution that made the most of the ceramic properties. The sand screens have received positive feedback from Shell’s onshore and offshore teams and the well is now set to enter its full gas production phase.” 3M sand screens have previously been deployed in a number of global locations, but the North Sea installation is the first collaboration with Shell and a world first using a light well intervention vessel.

      Added Ian: “Like the wise man, we want our products to stand the test of time, but we will also ensure we are where our customers need us to be. If that means building on sand, we’ll find a way every time.”



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