Hydro-mechanical coupled analysis of near-wellbore fines migration from unconsolidated reservoirs

Fengshou Zhang, Tuo Wang, Fang Liu, Ming Peng, Bate Bate, Pei Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Oil or gas production from unconsolidated reservoirs could be hampered by sand migration near the wellbore. This paper presents a numerical investigation of production-induced migration of fine sands towards a wellbore drilled in a gap-graded sediment. The solid–fluid interaction is simulated by coupling the discrete element method and the dynamic fluid mesh. With the merit of DEM and a dynamic mesh, the model is capable of naturally capturing particle movements and spatiotemporal variations of hydraulic properties of the sediment at the pore scale. The results show that fine particles are mobilized by radial flow under an imposed hydraulic gradient, and the increase in the hydraulic gradient causes an increase in the fines production. The microscopic pattern of sand migration is clearly visualized through the simulation. The presence of fine particles affects the process of fines migration through two competing mechanisms. Under a low fine content, fine sands mainly serve as the fines production source, and thus, fines production is enhanced as the fine content increases up to a critical value, beyond which fines production is weakened with a further increase in the fine content since the blocking effect gradually dominates. A barrier layer is likely formed during sand migration due to settling and jamming of fine sands at the throats of pores, as fine sands migrate with the radial flow towards the wellbore. This layer is helpful to slow down sand migration, while it could impede production due to reduced permeability in the affected reservoir.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3535-3551
Number of pages17
JournalActa Geotechnica
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • DEM
  • Dynamic fluid mesh
  • Fines migration
  • Unconsolidated reservoir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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