This involves injecting chemicals dissolved in diesel oil into the well. When the mix comes into contact with formation water, it acts as a glue to bind sand grains together.
This makes it possible to increase production without sand coming loose and getting into the wellstream, explains Ole Magnar Drønen, petroleum technology manager for Norne.
"Our test well for this method has flowed almost twice as much oil as before," he explains, with output rising from roughly 12,000 barrels per day to 22,000.
The chemical, which has not been used previously for sand consolidation of this kind, is supplied by Germany's Degussa company.
It has been tested at Statoil's research centre in Trondheim, reports Hans Kristian Kotlar, a specialist in chemical laboratory analysis there who has worked a lot with this kind of substance.
Sand in oil wells poses a safety problem because it erodes production piping while also reducing output. Effective methods for reducing this phenomenon are therefore very valuable.
According to Annefi Tønseth Markman, operations vice president for Norne, the new method can potentially be used in a number of wells on this field.
It could also be applied to other reservoirs in both safety and financial terms, in all cases without a negative environmental impact.
She reports that it will take several weeks before final conclusions can be drawn about how long the results achieved are likely to last.
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