Trapped Annular Pressure Mitigation: Trapped Annular Pressure - A Spacer Fluid That Shrinks (Update)

Bloys, James Benjamin (Chevron Corp.) | Gonzalez, Manuel Eduardo (Chevron ETC) | Lofton, John (Chevron ETC) | Carpenter, Robert Bennett (Chevron Corp.) | Azar, Scott (Chevron) | Wiliams, Deryck (Chevron) | McKenzie, James Denley (Chevron N America Upstream) | Cap, Jesus (Chevron) | Hermes, Robert E. (Los Alamos Natl. Lab) | Bland, Ronald G. (Baker Hughes Inc) | Foley, Ron Lee (Baker Hughes Drilling Fluids) | Harvey, Floyd Ernest (Baker Hughes Drilling Fluids) | Daniel, John Phillip (D.A. Daniel Inc.) | Billings, Floyd (Lucite International, Inc.) | Robinson, Ian M. (Lucite International UK Limited) | Allison, Marlon (Flow Process Technologies, Inc.)


In deepwater or other sub-sea completed wells, fluids, usually spacers or drilling fluid, are commonly trapped in casing annuli above the top-of-cement and below the wellhead. When these trapped fluids are heated by the passage of warm produced fluids, thermal expansion can create very high pressures (10,000 -12,000 psi or more) and cause the collapse of casing and tubing strings.1,2,4,12,15

Mitigation methods such as vacuum insulated tubing to limit heat transfer,6,7,14 nitrogen-based foam spacers to give highly compressible trapped fluids,8,9,10,11 crushable urethane foam,3 etc. are somewhat successful but are either very expensive, logistically troublesome or have unacceptable failure rates. This paper continues the discussion of a new approach which has created a water-based spacer fluid that will be used just ahead of the cement. The spacer contains perhaps 10-30% of emulsified liquid methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA). Upon polymerization, the MMA phase shrinks by 20%, creating room for the remaining fluid to thermally expand without creating catastrophic pressure. The polymerization is triggered by heat and a chemical initiator. The target temperature can be controlled by choosing an appropriate type and concentration of chemical initiator. Premature polymerization during spacer placement can be prevented by an appropriate type, and amount, of inhibitor. The initial lab work and a mid-scale field trial of this technology were reported in detail in SPE/IADC 104698.1

This paper covers the development and field testing (land) of all the equipment and processes necessary to apply the technology in deep water.