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Bentonite is not typically used as the primary fluid-loss agent in normal-density slurries. In low-density slurries, where higher concentrations can be used, it may provide sufficient fluid-loss control (400 to 700 cm 3 /30 min) for safe placement in noncritical well applications. Fluid-loss control, obtained through the use of bentonite, is achieved by the reduction of filter-cake permeability by pore-throat bridging. Microsilica imparts a degree of fluid-loss control to cement slurries because of its small particle size of less than 5 microns. The small particles reduce the pore-throat volume within the cement matrix through a tighter packing arrangement, resulting in a reduction of filter-cake permeability.
A number of cementitious materials used for cementing wells do not fall into any specific API or ASTM classification.These materials include: Pozzolanic materials include any natural or industrial siliceous or silico-aluminous material, which will combine with lime in the presence of water at ordinary temperatures to produce strength-developing insoluble compounds similar to those formed from hydration of Portland cement. Typically, pozzolanic material is categorized as natural or artificial, and can be either processed or unprocessed. The most common sources of natural pozzolanic materials are volcanic materials and diatomaceous earth (DE). Artificial pozzolanic materials are produced by partially calcining natural materials such as clays, shales, and certain siliceous rocks, or are more usually obtained as an industrial byproduct. Pozzolanic oilwell cements are typically used to produce lightweight slurries.
Weighting agents or heavyweight additives are used to increase slurry density for control of highly pressured wells. Weighting agents are normally required at densities greater than 17 lbm/gal where dispersants or silica is no longer effective. This is the most commonly used weighting agent. Hematite is a brick-red, naturally occurring mineral with a dull metallic luster. It contains approximately 70% iron.
Fluid-Loss-Control Additives (FLAs) are used to maintain a consistent fluid volume within a cement slurry to ensure that the slurry performance properties remain within an acceptable range. The variability of each of these parameters (slurry performance properties) is dependent upon the water content of the slurry. If the water content is less than intended, the opposite will normally occur. The magnitude of change is directly related to the amount of fluid lost from the slurry. Because predictability of performance is typically the most important parameter in a cementing operation, considerable attention has been paid to mechanical control of slurry density during the mixing of the slurry to assure reproducibility.
Dispersants, also known as friction reducers, are used extensively in cement slurries to improve the rheological properties that relate to the flow behavior of the slurry. Dispersants are used primarily to lower the frictional pressures of cement slurries while they are being pumped into the well. Converting frictional pressure of a slurry, during pumping, reduces the pumping rate necessary to obtain turbulent flow for specific well conditions, reduces surface pumping pressures and horsepower required to pump the cement into the well, and reduces pressures exerted on weak formations, possibly preventing circulation losses. Another advantage of dispersants is that they provide slurries with high solids-to-water ratios that have good rheological properties. This factor has been used in designing high-density slurries up to approximately 17 lbm/gal without the need for a weighting additive.
When determining a slurry's characteristics and performance, these testing procedures are recommended: The methods of testing cement for downhole application are based on performance testing. Testing methods are usually performed according to API specifications, though specifically designed and engineered equipment or tests are also used. The choice of additives and testing criteria is dictated primarily by the specific parameters of the well to be cemented. Performance testing has proven to be the most effective in establishing how a slurry will behave under specific well conditions. There is no direct means of predicting cement performance from the properties of cement, and no technique has yet been established that would correlate cement composition and cement/additive interaction with performance.
Accelerators speed up or shorten the reaction time required for a cement slurry to become a hardened mass. In the case of oilfield cement slurries, this indicates a reduction in thickening time and/or an increase in the rate of compressive-strength development of the slurry. Acceleration is particularly beneficial in cases where a low-density (e.g., high-water-content) cement slurry is required or where low-temperature formations are encountered. Of the chloride salts, CaCl2 is the most widely used, and in most applications, it is also the most economical. The exception is when water-soluble polymers such as fluid-loss-control agents are used.
The most important mechanical properties of casing and tubing are burst strength, collapse resistance and tensile strength. These properties are necessary to determine the strength of the pipe and to design a casing string. If casing is subjected to internal pressure higher than external, it is said that casing is exposed to burst pressure loading. Burst pressure loading conditions occur during well control operations, casing pressure integrity tests, pumping operations, and production operations. The MIYP of the pipe body is determined by the internal yield pressure formula found in API Bull. This equation, commonly known as the Barlow equation, calculates the internal pressure at which the tangential (or hoop) stress at the inner wall of the pipe reaches the yield strength (YS) of the material.
To evaluate a given casing design, a set of loads is necessary. Casing loads result from running the casing, cementing the casing, subsequent drilling operations, production and well workover operations. Temperature changes and resulting thermal expansion loads are induced in casing by drilling, production, and workovers, and these loads might cause buckling (bending stress) loads in uncemented intervals. In shallow normal-pressured wells, temperature will typically have a secondary effect on tubular design. In other situations, loads induced by temperature can be the governing criteria in the design.
Oilfield tubulars have been traditionally designed using a deterministic working stress design (WSD) approach, which is based on multipliers called safety factors (SFs). The primary role of a safety factor is to account for uncertainties in the design variables and parameters, primarily the load effect and the strength or resistance of the structure. While based on experience, these factors give no indication of the probability of failure of a given structure, as they do not explicitly consider the randomness of the design variables and parameters. Moreover, the safety factors tend to be rather conservative, and most limits of design are established using failure criteria based on elastic theory. Reliability-based approaches are probabilistic in nature and explicitly identify all the design variables and parameters that determine the load effect and strength of the structure.