Abstract

Depletion of conventional hydrocarbons reservoirs have led oil and gas operators to extend the boundaries and pursue production from reservoirs with high viscosity hydrocarbons that in the past were impossible to be produced and allow the hydrocarbons in place to flow to the surface with conventional production methods. With the introduction of enhance oil recovery techniques (EOR) operators has been able to economically produce from these reservoirs. The steam flood is an EOR technique that allows heavy oil hydrocarbons to be produced and increase the recovery of original oil in place (OOIP). This technique requires high temperature steam to be injected into the reservoir in order to allow hydrocarbons production, introducing challenges in order to maintain well integrity and long term life of the well. Suitable surface facilities, equipment and materials that withstand these challenging conditions are required in order to guarantee the success of the project. In a heavy oil shallow reservoir in Bahrain, a steam flood pilot project has been executed, injecting steam up to 650ºF into the injectors wells in order to enhance the hydrocarbons production in the adjacent production wells. Conventional cement systems will fail when exposed to the given conditions as the mechanical properties of such cements are not sufficient to withstand the stresses created in this extreme temperature environment. This will consequently threaten the well integrity and success of the project. In order to provide a reliable and durable zonal isolation, an engineered cement system has been introduced. This cement system possesses sufficient flexibility (low Young's modulus), and a high coefficient of thermal expansion to withstand the metal casing expansion during the heating step of the process, without failure. This cement system exhibits stable mechanical properties for a long duration during the whole process of the heavy oil production and can be mixed and pumped with conventional cementing equipment. It is placed at low (110-140°F) temperature, acquires sufficient compressive and tensile strength to withstand the heating cycles. Over 50 wells have been cemented using this technology in Bahrain. Cement bond longs and temperature logs demonstrate well integrity has been achieved, allowing the steam to be injected into the target reservoir. Furthermore, no issues have been seen related to steam break through to surface. The project has been implemented for over 4 years with no sign of wellbore integrity failure. This study covers several aspects of the design, execution and evaluation of the cement system.

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