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ICD Erosion Apparatus

The Industry Challenge

A major thermal operator contacted C-FER to investigate the effects of erosion on Inflow Control Devices (ICDs) and how their performance may change over +20 years in a SAGD well.   The long-term performance of these ICDs heavily influences the economics of SAGD production and is a key design consideration for all thermal operators.  Unfortunately, erosion mechanisms (and erosion testing) can be quite complex, and trying to evaluate erosion under the high temperature multiphase flow conditions in a SAGD well is even more challenging. 

The Solution

SEM image
PSD and Angularity of the particles
(before testing) from a
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

C-FER designed and built a unique new flow loop called the “ICD Erosion Apparatus”.  This loop is capable of simulating different erosive operating scenarios in SAGD by controlling: particle size, particle material, slurry volume flow rate, Particle Size Distribution (PSD), and the solids concentration. 

Additionally, high pressure gas is strategically injected with the slurry (before entering the ICD inlet) to simulate the presence of steam and mimic the key parameters affecting the most important erosion mechanisms in thermal production. 

This allows the ICD Erosion Apparatus to simulate many years of aggressive SAGD production well conditions in only a few days in the C‑FER lab.

Tying it all Together

Using the ICD Erosion Apparatus together with other in-house capabilities, C-FER can investigate the long-term performance of ICDs (and other thermal technology) in SAGD wells over their whole operation life. 

The test data can also be used to validate custom multiphase flow models and provide operators or vendors with high-accuracy predicative simulation tools for their technology.

Contact us for more information on how C-FER’s unique testing and analysis capabilities can help optimize your thermal operations.




System Variables Operational Specifications
Minimum Maximum
ICD Inlet Pressure 0 kPag

(0 psig)

2,069 kPag

(300 psig)

ICD Inlet Liquid Volume Flow Rate 0 m³/d

(0 bbl/d)

30 m³/d

(189 bbl/d)

ICD Inlet Air Flow 0 kg/min 1.5 kg/min
ICD Inlet Solids Fraction (by mass) 0% 15%
ICD Differential Pressure 0 kPag

(0 psig )

1,034 kPag

(150 psig )

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