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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.
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.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) has numerous manufacturing requirements for tubing. Many API standards have also been adopted by the International Standards Organization (ISO). The tubing purchaser and designer should be aware of API requirements and testing procedures (see API Spec. All tubing should meet API minimum requirements. In critical wells, the purchaser may want to receive and review the manufacturer's test results.
Equipment for monitoring and control are important elements of any coiled tubing unit. The control-console design for the coiled-tubing (CT) unit may vary with manufacturers, but normally, all controls are positioned on one remote console panel. A diagram of a typical well-intervention unit control panel is seen in Figure 1. The console assembly is complete with all controls and gauges required to operate and monitor all of the components in use and may be skid-mounted for offshore use or permanently mounted as with the land units. The skid-mounted console may be placed where needed at the wellsite as desired by the operator.
Over the years, attempts have been made to track the working history of coiled tubing (CT) strings in service to maximize the service utility of the tube while minimizing fatigue failures. As a result, three commonly used methodologies for predicting the fatigue condition of the CT were developed. A relatively simplistic approach used to predict the working life of coil tubing is commonly described as the "running-feet" method, in which the footage of tubing deployed into a wellbore is recorded for each job performed. This deployed footage is then added to the existing record of footage deployed in service for any given string. Depending upon the service environment, type of commonly performed services, and local field history, the CT string is retired when the total number of running feet reaches a predetermined amount.
The service reel serves as the coiled tubing(CT) storage apparatus during transport, and as the spooling device during CT well-intervention and drilling operations. The inboard end of the CT may be connected either to the hollow segment of the reel shaft (spoke and axle design), or to a high-pressure piping segment (concave flange plates), both of which are then connected to a high-pressure rotating swivel. This high-pressure fluid swivel is secured to a stationary piping manifold, which provides connection to the treatment-fluid pumping system. As a result, continuous pumping and circulation can be maintained throughout the job. A high-pressure shutoff valve should be installed between the CT and reel shaft swivel for emergency use in isolating the tubing from the surface pump lines.
The well-control stack system is a critical part of the coiled tubing (CT) unit pressure containment package and is composed of a stripper assembly and hydraulically operated rams, which perform the functions described next. Figure 1--Typical quad-ram well-control stack configuration (courtesy of SAS Industries Inc.). The blind rams are used to seal the wellbore off at the surface when well control is lost. Sealing of the blind rams occurs when the elastomer elements in the rams are compressed against each other. For the blind rams to work properly, the tubing or other obstructions across the ram bonnets must be removed.
Well preparation includes many activities to ensure that the well is completed properly. Some of these items and activities include appropriate drilling practices, cleanliness, completion fluids, perforating, perforation cleaning, acidizing, and/or specifications for rig and service company personnel. The productivity of a cased- or openhole gravel-packed completion is determined in part by the condition of the reservoir behind the filter cake, the quality of the filter cake, and the stability of the wellbore. Given this, it can be said that the completion begins when the bit enters the pay. Thus, it follows that the goal of drilling is to maintain wellbore stability while minimizing formation damage. But, for whatever reason, instability affects both cased- and openhole completions because it can cause loss of the wellbore. Thick cement sheaths in washed-out sections result in poor to no perforation penetration and the lack of cement can make sand placement difficult. Hole collapse can prevent running screens to the bottom of the hole. Failure, in the form of fracturing or collapse, can stop an openhole gravel pack, should failure occur while the pack is in process.
The definition of a tight gas reservoir is that the reservoir does not produce at commercial gas flow rates, or recover commercial volumes of natural gas, unless a hydraulic-fracture treatment is properly designed and pumped. As such, the entire drilling and completion procedures should focus on making sure the optimum fracture treatment can be designed and pumped in the field. When drilling a tight gas well, the most important aspect of the drilling operation is to drill a gauge hole. Many times this means the well should be drilled at a balanced mud weight or slightly overbalanced. In other cases, air drilling or underbalanced drilling works best, as long as the hole remains in gauge.
Most drilling problems result from unseen forces in the subsurface. But the equipment involved can also be a source of problems, as can personnel. The integrity of drilling equipment and its maintenance are major factors in minimizing drilling problems. Given equal conditions during drilling/completion operations, personnel are the key to the success or failure of those operations. Overall well costs as a result of any drilling/completion problem can be extremely high; continuing education and training for personnel directly or indirectly involved is essential to successful drilling/completion practices.