Long-term zonal isolation provided by cement is a crucial task in the life of oil and gas wells. However, significant number of primary cementing jobs experience problems; particularly in highly deviated wells, extended reach wells, and wells prone to severe washouts. Primary cementing efficiency has attracted more attention since the development of shale gas industry and the Macondo Blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Sustained casing pressure reported in some of the wells in Marcellus shale play and the root of several blowouts is attributed to cementing job performance. Therefore, studies on the performance of cementing operations are essential in restoring the public opinion on petroleum industry by addressing problems that have major social, environmental and economical consequences besides the technical interest.

Casing is prone to deviate toward the bottom of the well especially in horizontal wells. This eccentric annular space leads to annular velocity disturbance in favor of wider region of the annulus. Finally, part of the narrow section of annulus would be left un-cemented. The bypassed mud is potential path for the formation fluid communication with other formations or to the surface. Poor cementing can affect the hydraulic fracturing job as well.

This paper is part of a comprehensive three-dimensional time-dependent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model developed to account for dominant parameters affecting the mud displacement process in horizontal wells. Parameters such as casing eccentricity, cement yield strength, cement plastic viscosity, the density difference between mud and cement, pumping rate and washout are studied. The effects of the first three parameters are addressed in this paper.

Current best cementing practices have deficiencies in providing excellent cementing efficiency. Therefore, a novel technique, using Magneto-Rheological fluid, is also proposed to improve the displacement efficiency. Magneto-Rheological fluid can act as a plug in the wider region of annulus under magnetic field applied through the casing. Consequently, flow will be directed to the narrower annular region that could not be cemented or cleaned otherwise. The results are appealing and further study on application of Magneto-Rheological fluid in petroleum industry is suggested.

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