International standards for well barrier integrity traditionally prescribe cement as annular sealing material. Despite a more than 100-year long history using cementing techniques, a high number of wells have poor annular integrity and are facing sustained casing pressure (SCP). A quality assessment of the cement seal is obtained by return volume and surface pressure trend calculations together with bond logs. All of these measurements are indirect and open for interpretation. Commonly, excess cement volumes are pumped to account for uncertainties but cement failure rate remains high.
This paper describes an extensive testing and qualification program performed on a wireless downhole measurement system. Testing has been done on a component and system level basis on the permanently deployed equipment together with the hardware, software and telemetry on the equipment designed to retrieve the data. Focus has been given to robustness and simplicity to accurately capture the data of interest and ensure a fast and reliable download.
A direct measurement of annular integrity is now available. A continuous pressure and temperature measurement, named the Well Data Monitor (WDM), can be mounted on the exterior of the casing or liner. The system is non-intrusive to the tubulars and communicates by acoustics through the pipe-wall. No control lines to surface are needed. Interrogation of the sensor pack will provide a full history of events from deployment to the time of download. Hence, historical pressure and temperature data are available from the time of deployment, through the process of establishment of annular barriers to the final verification test. The verification test will provide a direct and non-negotiable measurement of integrity.
The development of the WDM was initiated following a need to provide verification for the Well Annular Barrier (WAB) to confirm to Norsok D-010 barrier requirements and to use the WAB as a barrier in open-hole.