Loss circulation is encountered frequently while drilling fractured carbonate reservoirs in specific field. The field practice was attempting to cure losses and if incurable, drill blind to total depth (TD) followed by run and cementing of the liner. The interval from loss zone to liner top was covered by the cement squeezed from liner top. The require time to try to cure the lost circulation zone plus squeezing cement job was approximately 15 days. Several optimization initiatives were implemented to reduce this time to less than seven days.
There were at least eight round trips carried out in different ways by different operators to complete the operation of attempting to cure the losses and a liner top squeeze. The engineering team evaluated this for potential optimization, first to identify whether or not losses need to be attempted to be cured to save the time lost on unsuccessful attempts. Second, to analyze the lessons learnt and build on that optimization strategy to reduce the number of trips Lastly to rework the cement slurry design to reduce the number of attempts to squeeze liner top.
As such a detailed strategy was formulated regarding when and how to cure losses followed by an optimized procedure for liner top squeeze which saves three round trips. Further, the liner top squeeze operations previously took multiple attempts of squeeze before a successful pressure test was achieved. Based on the lessons learnt, the slurry design was optimized from several aspects including, slurry density, rheology, thickening time and the pumping and displacement procedure was created which helped to reduce the number attempts from six to only one. Another optimization implemented was enabling the loggers perform pressure pass for cement evaluation by the utilization of tractor instead of conventional (Tough Logging Conditions) TLC which not only saved time but also depicted better the condition of cement behind liner. Finally, a robust risk assessment encompassing all possible contingencies for expected issues was incorporated.
The optimized liner top squeeze strategy has been implemented at five wells with 100% success, reducing the overall operation time from more than two weeks to less than one week while improving cement quality behind liner to ensure zonal isolation as per requirements.
This paper provides details of how the cement slurry, operations sequence and tools selection were enhanced well by well based on continuous improvement. Since cementing liners across loss circulation intervals exists in most of the carbonate reservoirs worldwide, this paper will help to achieve better zonal isolation in losses environment with lower cost and lesser time.