Abstract

This paper focuses on the strain based design and field application of thermal well casing for cyclic steam stimulation process. The heavy oil is a main field of China petroleum industry, where the cyclic steam stimulation process has been widely used and playing the dominating role in production. Generally the casing damage rate is 15-30% under this process, which has resulted in a large economic cost. The high damage rate is mainly caused by the current strength design method, where both the room and elevated yield strength were considered not beyond anticipated field thermal stress. In fact the casing material will serve in cyclic thermal elastic-plastic deformation state and the single yield strength is not sufficient for long term thermal stimulation process.

This paper presented a new strain based design method for thermal casing string. New material parameters were proposed to build the safety evaluation principle throughout the service life. For thermal casing the material plasticly deforming limit, called as allowable strain, is determined by the homogeneous deforming capacity. For design strain, the material creep rate equation is introduced to evaluate the accumulative elevated strain in long term service together with initial install strain, thermal strain and soil strain. When the design strain is not more than the allowable strain the casing material will safely serve throughout the whole life. In addition the strain fatigue limit is measured to evaluate the material safety for thermal cycle life. According to the factual field engineering environment the gas tight thread joint was adopted to prevent steam leak which otherwise will cause a large transversal stress between different formations and result in slip deformation of casing string.

Before the engineering operation the full scale test procedure was proposed and finished to evaluate the string integrity in multiple thermal cycles. From 2011, this method was used in Xinjiang oil field for eight wells for more than 14 steam cycles and all the experiment wells served well without any damage. Several wells were cyclic measured through multi arms inspector and the data showed that all the casing deformation located in controlled scope except that only one has obvious deformation because poorer cementing quality. The field practice has showed that the new method has better fitness for thermal wells.

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