Long-term well integrity and zonal isolation are the ultimate objectives for cementing in the well construction process. Effective mud removal plays an essential role in obtaining competent zonal isolation and hence should not be overlooked and underestimated. The negative consequences of poor mud removal can lead to microannulus, channeling, or gas migration, which might require costly time-consuming remediation.

The conventional approach of optimizing spacers based on chemical interactions with the mud layer does not always yield desired results and, thus, demanding further improvement. In this paper we discuss the approach taken to boost the mud removal efficiency by implementing an innovative engineered scrubbing spacer containing fibers in a challenging environment, resulting in notable improvement in long-term cement sheath integrity. The engineered scrubbing fibers were thoroughly tested in the laboratory to ensure spacer stability and efficiency.

The new spacer with an additional scrubbing capability was introduced to one of the major operators on the Caspian shelf and after successful implementation, it has now been used on more than 20 cementing operations. Scrubbing fibers concentration was optimized through thorough laboratory testing covering flowability, dispersibility, and mud removal efficiency; later, it was applied on most of the cement operations, including 4½-in. liners characterized by a very narrow annular gap across the hanger sections. Cement evaluation log results from those cementing operations demonstrated an improvement in mud removal efficiency, suggesting no issues associated with microannulus, channeling, or gas migration, thus confirming the effectiveness of the newly implemented engineered scrubbing spacer.

The typical challenges associated with meeting the zonal isolation requirement on one of the offshore fields of the Caspian shelf, and the success of the approach taken to overcome those challenges by implementing the new engineered scrubbing spacer are discussed. The comparison of cement bond evaluation log results of the jobs where conventional spacer systems were used vs. those where the spacer with scrubbing capability was used are also presented, demonstrating the clear difference and improvement.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.