Abstract

Cementing a highly deviated production liner is associated with cement placement challenge that can compromise zonal isolation. A major operator in UAE, was facing a challenge to cement 4 ½ in slim production liner set at + 5000 ft off-bottom. The corresponding 6 in. section was drilled with a relatively high mud weight in the range of 12 to 13 PPG. One of the main challenge was the risk of solids settling on the low side of the wellbore, making mud displacement difficult to achieve while cementing. Additionally, cementing off-bottom without an ECP in a highly deviated wellbore with multiple exposed production zones, further increased cement placement complexity. A holistic engineering approach was integrated to ensure successful zonal isolation. Wellbore parameters and fluid properties were critically evaluated.

To overcome off-bottom cementing and prevent slurry fallback risks, a weighted high viscosity pill with high yield point was placed as a temporary basement to support the cement column and isolate the reservoir during 4 ½ in liner job. After placement of the pill, the wellbore was observed for flow checks to ensure stable downhole conditions prior to displacing the drilling fluid across the liner interval to brine within the same density.

A centralization program was implemented to achieve more than 70% stand-off which required a minimum centralization pattern of two rigid centralizers per joint which helped minimize the presence of mud channels on the narrow side.

Effective mud removal was ensured through implementation of a spacer train in front of the cement. The first spacer was pumped with same mud density to reduce ECD followed by another advanced low invasion loss circulation spacer to mitigate losses as well as provide a sustained downhole rheology. A resilient, expandable and gas tight cement slurry, was selected to target long-term zonal isolation. Multiple hydraulic simulations were performed to optimize ECDs and ensure safe margins during placement

A CFD (computational fluid dynamics) model was utilized to simulate hydraulics, expected mud removal and fluids inter-mixing especially during liner rotation. In addition, the model simulated high-calculated torques based on flow restrictions through liner hanger assembly. Lack of mechanical liner movement was compensated by additional pre-job circulation to fully condition the wellbore.

The job was executed with no losses during cementing, and spacer and cement returns were received on the surface during reverse out. Utilizing the best engineering approach, practices, and techniques from this job is implemented in the future wells as the production of the well is directly affected by the cement quality. Post job cement integrity evaluation via a cement bond log confirmed excellent bonding of cement to the liner and reservoirs across the entire open-hole interval.

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