To mitigate annular flow during primary cementing operations, a packer can be used to create a high-pressure seal between casing strings. Operating conditions, such as run-in-hole (RIH) speeds, circulating rates, hydrostatic pressure, static and circulating temperature, fluid type, and debris, should be considered when qualifying a product for commercial use. This paper details an improved validation method for new annular casing packer designs used in cementing applications and discusses why current industry standards for packer validation are not entirely applicable.

When designing a new annular casing packer, unprecedented qualification testing was performed, combining full-scale function testing with a high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) gas test. The packer was run and set as though it were an actual operation in a well. Remaining in the set condition, the tool was then withdrawn back to surface and inserted into a test cell at 300°F. After reviewing current industry standards, applicable portions of the standards were used to perform a bidirectional pressure test on the packer with nitrogen as the test medium.

At the conclusion of the combined testing effort, the packer traveled 7,400 ft at speeds up to 5 ft/sec. It was circulated past at 17 bbl/min for more than three hours. It was functioned using simulated real-world methods and procedures at a depth of 2,200 ft with 2,800 ft of casing hung below it. It was then retrieved and pressure tested bi-directionally at 11,500 psi with nitrogen at 300°F. The fluid in the test well was a 14 to 14.5-lbm/gal water-based drilling mud. This combined testing subjected the tool to harsher than real-world conditions successfully, thus demonstrating its ability to operate properly in the well with a high level of confidence.

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