Effective zonal isolation in wellbores with a challenging mud removal environment is well known to be very difficult to achieve. In wells at the technical limits of Non- Aqueous Fluid (NAF) removal prior to cement placement, cement bond quality and hydraulic isolation can be compromised by leaving channels behind the casing, which can result in several long-term well integrity issues. An Interactive Cementing System (ICS) is developed through special experimental methodologies to mitigate mud channeling issues and improve zonal isolation, by immediately interacting with any residual mud channels left in the well after cement is in place, hence reducing the permeability of mud channels and sealing off microannulus gaps.
Casing centralization is considered to have the greatest influence on mud removal efficiency because it directly affects the flow movement on each side of the wellbore. Mud removal has been studied from numerical simulations, laboratory experiments, and field results, and these show that good mud removal can be achieved only when adequate casing standoff is achieved during cementation. In modern wells where there are many operational restrictions and limitations, especially in highly deviated and horizontal wellbores, final cement designs may not allow good casing standoff and thus not all of the best practices for effective mud removal can be applied.
The objective of the innovative cement system is to have a design that interacts with residual mud in the annulus to "fix" the channels, thereby enhancing cement bond quality and zonal isolation. Two detailed case histories of the application of this technology in the development campaign showed visible improvement in cement bond logs using the ultrasonic imaging tool as compared to offset well that was cemented using a conventional cement system. After two successful implementations, the ICS was selected as the cement system of choice for wells with challenging mud removal.