Fly ash, which is a pozzolan generated as a byproduct from coal-powered plants, is the most used extender in the design of lightweight cement. However, the coal-powered plants are phasing out due to global-warming concerns. There is the need to investigate other materials as substitutes to fly ash. Bentonite is a natural pozzolanic material that is abundant in nature. This pozzolanic property is enhanced upon heat treatment; however, this material has never been explored in oil-well cementing in such form. This study compares the performance of 13-ppg heated (dehydroxylated) sodium bentonite and fly-ash cement systems.
The raw (commercial) sodium bentonite was dehydroxylated at 1,526°F for 3 hours. Cement slurries were prepared at 13 ppg using the heated sodium bentonite as partial replacements of cement in concentrations of 10 to 50% by weight of blend. Various tests were done at a bottomhole static temperature of 120°F, bottomhole circulating temperature of 110°F, and pressure of 1,000 psi or atmospheric pressure.
All the dehydroxylated sodium bentonite systems exhibited high stability, thickening times in the range of 3 to 5 hours, and a minimum 24-hour compressive strength of 600 psi. At a concentration of 40 and 50%, the 24-hour compressive strength was approximately 800 and 787 psi, respectively. This was higher than a 13-ppg fly-ash-based cement designed at 40% cement replacement (580 psi).