Big Problem-Small Solution: Nanotechnology-Based Sealing Fluid
- Larry Todd (Schlumberger) | Matthew Cleveland (Schlumberger) | Kevin Docherty (Schlumberger) | James Reid (Oxy Oil & Gas, posthumously) | Kenneth Cowan (Oxy Oil & Gas) | Christopher Yohe (Oxy Oil & Gas)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 24-26 September, Dallas, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1 Processing Systems and Design, 2 Well completion, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4 Facilities Design, Construction and Operation, 2.10 Well Integrity
- sealing fluid, squeeze, small gaps, well integrity, nanotechnology
- 13 in the last 30 days
- 171 since 2007
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A nanotechnology-based sealing fluid was developed to solve compromised integrity in pathways too small, smaller than 120 μm, for conventional methods such as cement squeezes. Well integrity and environmental stewardship are at the forefront of our industry's relation with the public as oil and gas fields continue to encroach toward urban centers and the places we live and work. This push towards improved well integrity and a growing number of mature wells requires new and novel technologies and materials to achieve our goals.
The nanotechnology-based sealing fluid is capable of penetrating small gaps, as small as 20 μm, and seals through a reaction from either set cement or brine in the leak path. Candidate wells were selected based on very low injectivity rates that conventional remediation techniques could not tackle. Six candidate wells were selected, and of them, two were selected to cure a leaking gas microannulus causing sustained casing pressure and four were selected to cure a pinhole leak in the casing to pass the Texas Railroad Commission H-5 pressure test. For the pinhole leak, the nanosealant was placed across the leak point, and pressure was applied at surface continually until leakoff was minimized. The leaking gas microannulus was squeezed from surface until the leakoff was eliminated.
The nanotechnology-based sealing fluid was successful in each case. For the leaking microannulus wells, hesitation squeeze schedules were applied, and both leaks were sealed with a projected penetration greater than 500 ft. These wells were then tested with light detection and ranging (LIDAR) to ensure no gas leaks were occurring at surface after the treatment. For the candidates selected with casing leaks, all passed the regulatory Texas Railroad Commission H-5 pressure test and were put back into service. Three of the wells resulted in a final pressure drop of 0 psi/min based on the hesitation squeezes, and the other one well resulted in a pressure bleedoff reduction more than 25 times the original bleedoff rate.
The activation mechanism based on contact with annular materials is a significant breakthrough in squeeze operations because it removes all complexity from the fluid design, which historically required extensive laboratory testing. It also removes time-based boundaries on placement, and ultimately, it eliminates or reduces the drillout time compared to conventional or resin applications. Conventional remedial placement techniques can be used with the sealant, thus further simplifying the job execution. This combination of simplified execution techniques and the lack of necessary laboratory testing and well condition input allows for a quick fit-for-purpose implementation as problems arise, which saves both time and money.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||10|
Cowan, M. 2007. Field Study Results Improve Squeeze Cementing Success. Presented at the Production and Operations Symposium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, 31 March-3 April. SPE-106765-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/106765-MS.
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TRRC. 2016. Form H-5 Testing Procedure - Instructions. http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/oil-gas/publications-and-notices/manuals/injectiondisposal-well-manual/pressure-test-report-summary-of-testing-requirements/form-h-5-instructions/ (accessed 12 June 2018).
Texas Railroad Commission. http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/about-us/resource-center/faqs/oil-gas-faqs/faq-h-5/
US Environmental Protection Agency. 2017. Revision Under Consideration for the 2018 GHGI: Abandoned Wells. Stakeholder Workshop, 22 June. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-06/documents/6.22.17_ghgi_stakeholder_workshop_2018_ghgi_revision_-_abandoned_wells.pdf (accessed 12 June 2018).