A 7-in. liner was successfully cemented in the south east region of Mexico at 7530 m MD despite significant pressure and temperature challenges. The entire 1,370-m, 8.5" open hole section needed cement coverage and isolation to test several intervals. The challenge of the ultranarrow working pressure window was overcome by using managed pressure cementing (MPC) along with lost circulation solutions for the cement slurry and spacer.
Due to the narrow pressure window (0.05 g/cc density gradient), mud losses could not be avoided during the cementing job. To limit and manage losses, an MPC placement technique was proposed, in conjunction with using lost circulation fiber technology in the cement slurry and spacer. After addressing the losses and narrow working pressure window, the next main challenge was the extremely high temperature (Bottom hole static temperature of 171°C). Extensive lab testing provided the fluid solution: HT formulations for cement slurry and spacer to maintain stability and rheology for placement and management of equivalent circulating density and set cement properties for long-term zonal isolation.
After the liner was run to bottom, the mud density was homogenized from 1.40 g/cc to 1.30 g/cc (pore pressure: 1.38 g/cc). During this process, 32.5 m3 of mud was lost to the formation. During the previous circulation, the backpressure required to maintain the equivalent circulation density (ECD) above pore pressure, which was calculated and validated resulting in 1,100 psi annulus surface pressure (close to the limit of the equipment capacity) during the stopping time. The cementing job was pumped flawlessly with only 10 m3 of mud loss at the end of the job. During reverse circulation, contaminated spacer at surface indicated no cementing fluid had been lost to the formation and adequate open-hole coverage. The liner was successfully pressure tested to 4,500 psi, and cement logs showed that the cement had covered the open hole completely.
MPC is not a conventional cementing technique. After the successful result on this job and subsequent operations, this technique is now being adopted to optimize cementing in even deeper wells in Mexico, where losses during cementing operations in the past had modified or limited the whole well construction and designed completion, and production of the well.