Abstract

Research and development drives success in shale plays throughout the world, enabling operators to deploy new drilling, completions, and production technologies to reach more reservoir area and extend the life of production wells. This work demonstrates the development, validation, and deployment of an extreme torque casing connection addressing technical challenges of tubulars in unconventionals.

Throughout the well lifetime, Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) experience various loads during the installation, stimulation, and production phases. Some of the challenges experienced during the stimulation and production phases relate to internal and external pressure resistance, sealability, corrosion and cracking, erosion, and wear. Furthermore, with the increase in lateral length and the more demanding well geometries, the OCTG capabilities related to high cycle fatigue, connection runability, and torque limits become more important to safely and efficiently reach the total depth of the well and ensure integrity throughout well life. Another scenario in which the torque limit of an OCTG connection is important is rotating while cementing, a practice undertaken to mitigate sustained casing pressure, improve well integrity, and completion efficiency.

We present the key elements in the development of a casing connection that overcomes these challenges and the decision process leading to a prototype. To prove the design concept, a fit-for-purpose testing protocol was adopted to validate its performance, replicating the installation, stimulation, and production phases under the expected loads. Once validated, a pilot involving casing installation, rotation while cementing and stimulation was completed in two wells, and its outcomes will be discussed in this work.

This novel casing extreme torque connection, designed to overcome the application challenges, enables the installation of casing in longer laterals, together with the improvement of well integrity through rotation while cementing.

The performance of the product, tested through a special procedure while ensuring reliability, was confirmed by the case study from the Niobrara shale. A new connection considering the challenges of wells in unconventional plays must account for several aspects from design to installation. We show the process, from the design stage and validation, leading to successful field deployment.

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