PEH:Completion Systems - PetroWiki

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The packer is a sealing device that isolates and contains produced fluids and pressures within the wellbore to protect the casing and other formations above or below the producing zone. This is essential to the basic functioning of most wells. Packers have four key features: slip, cone, packing-element system, and body or mandrel. The slip is a wedge-shaped device with wickers (or teeth) on its face, which penetrate and grip the casing wall when the packer is set. The cone is beveled to match the back of the slip and forms a ramp that drives the slip outward and into the casing wall when setting force is applied to the packer. Once the slips have anchored into the casing wall, additional applied setting force energizes the packing-element system and creates a seal between the packer body and the inside diameter of the casing. Production packers can be classified into two groups: retrievable and permanent. Permanent packers can be removed from the wellbore only by milling. The retrievable packer may or may not be resettable; however, removal from the wellbore normally does not require milling. Retrieval is usually accomplished by some form of tubing manipulation. This may necessitate rotation or require pulling tension on the tubing string. The permanent packer is fairly simple and generally offers higher performance in both temperature and pressure ratings than does the retrievable packer. In most instances, it has a smaller outside diameter (OD), offering greater running clearance inside the casing string than do retrievable packers. The smaller OD and the compact design of the permanent packer help the tool negotiate through tight spots and deviations in the wellbore. The permanent packer also offers the largest inside diameter (ID) to make it compatible with larger-diameter tubing strings and monobore completions.