To mitigate strength retrogression at temperatures, higher than 230°F, well cement designs typically include strength retrogression control additives (SRCAs). Solid siliceous materials (e.g., silica flour, fume, and sized-sands) are commonly used SRCAs that are incorporated into cements using dry-blending techniques. This study highlights liquid silica compositions as alternative SRCAs to dry-blended silica for high-temperature cementing. Liquid additives can be managed easily, delivered accurately, and offer a reduced on-site footprint, thus making them particularly advantageous for operations offshore and in remote locations.
This paper presents a study on the use of liquid silica compositions as SRCAs and their effect on cement slurry properties, such as thickening time, mixability, fluid loss, rheology, and free water. The cement slurry used during the current study was prepared and tested according to API RP 10B-2 (2005). The performance of the liquid silica composition was tested at temperatures up to 400°F. Set cement samples were prepared using the liquid silica composition and silica flour, cured for up to 14 days at different temperatures. In addition, permeability testing was also performed on the samples.
This paper presents the findings of this research, including strength and permeability test results on cement blends cured at temperatures of 300, 330, 350, and 400°F. The liquid silica composition, which provided silica to the cement formulation equivalent to 35% BWOC dry silica (48% BWOC liquid SRCA), functioned effectively as an SRCA at temperatures up to 330°F. Signs of strength retrogression were observed at 350°F and were more pronounced at 400°F. A greater concentration of the liquid silica composition may be necessary to prevent strength retrogression at temperatures higher than 330°F. The liquid silica composition also demonstrated mild retardation and a dispersing effect on the slurry. However, it helped enable improved slurry stability and suspension, thus providing improved control over free water without adverse effects on fluid loss and sedimentation.
The study results demonstrate that a liquid SRCA can help improve the performance of annular cement designs to provide dependable barriers and effective zonal isolation during high-temperature cementing applications. The improved performance enabled by this liquid silica composition verifies its potential use as an alternative SRCA for high-temperature oil well cementing operations.