Studies of Cement Wiper Plugs Suggest New Deepwater Standards
- M. Trogus (Shell Exploration and Production) | D. Farley (Weatherford) | G. Gaspard (Weatherford)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, 17-19 March, London, England, UK
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition
- 4 Facilities Design, Construction and Operation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1 Processing Systems and Design
- published review of efforts to better understand c, examines methods of measuring wiping efficiency an, balancing design to achieve optimal stiffness and, Analysis of wiper cuttings samples has provided a, Well cementing is a crucial component of deepwater
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Well cementing is a crucial component of deepwater well construction, and a key to cementing success is the performance of the cementing plug. Plug performance is primarily based on the mechanical wiping efficiency and wear resistance of the plug. However, limited understanding of the performance has hindered the establishment of standards. While API RP10F provides recommended testing practices to evaluate the performance of cementing float equipment, it does not include cementing plugs.
This paper is the first published review of efforts to better understand cement plug performance and to establish industry standards. Through laboratory studies, it examines material loss in actual deepwater applications and evaluates the effect on wiping performance of cementing plugs. These studies provide the basis of a selection process for wear-resistant materials. The paper also examines methods of measuring wiping efficiency and overall plug performance. Based on these methods, a proposal is presented for establishing industry performance standards for setting cementing plugs.
Cementing wiper plugs provide a physical barrier to cement contamination by separating displacement fluid and wiping residual mud film and other materials from the inside surface of the pipe. Separation and wiping efficiency are directly related to plug wear resistance and to the process of balancing design to achieve optimal stiffness and pressure containment. This design balance is achieved through rigorous material testing and design refinement. Analysis of wiper cuttings samples has provided a clear understanding of the plug's ability to provide a physical barrier to separate fluids and how that affects the function of downhole tools. This cuttings evaluation has provided information on material loss and positive fin interference. Results of the evaluation are corroborated by field performance achieved in cementing lengths of casing greater than 16,000 ft.
Plug wear is of particular concern in long, high-volume, deepwater casing strings where it can lead to displacement errors and reliability problems for downhole pressure-actuated tools. These displacement errors are examined in field applications that precisely locate the plug at multiple points during the cementing process.
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