Kuwait has a considerable reserve of untapped heavy oil; plans were developed by KOC and embarked on a project to increase its oil production by 2020. Heavy oil production is an ambitious project and will be significant contributer to the overall increase in oil procuction capacity.

As the term "heavy oil" suggests, it is a very viscous oil. The most common methods of heavy oil recovery are:

  • Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS)

  • Cyclic Steam Stimulation

  • Steam Flooding

  • Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD)

With the focus on the second method, Cyclic Steam Stimulation to enhance the recovery of heavy oil, the design of the cement became important in terms of endurance over the life of the well. In this technique the casing / cement would be exposed to steam injection temperatures as high as 500°F.

In such cases, the cement sheath may crack due the extreme forces acting on the thin sheath of the cement. It is therefore important to know the Young's modulus of both the formation and the cement. This will allow the slurry properties to be adjusted by the use of additives to lower the Young's modulus of the cement to less than of that of the formation. This will prevent damage to the cement sheath.

A fit-for-purpose cement slurry was designed accordingly and applied on a South Ratqa well. Well testing during and after 45 days of steam injection demonstrated that the cement maintained its integrity despite the challenging conditions.

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