Over the past 4 years, there have been several stuck incidents during installation of liners and casing in some wells in Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigeria. In most cases, the sticking mechanism was identified to be differential due to high pressure over balance across some depleted sand intervals. Attempt to free the casing or liner string was successful in few of the cases, while in others, it resulted in either cementing the casing in place at the stuck depth and deploying contingency option where they exist or going through the long, rigorous and expensive process of fishing, plugging back and sidetracking. Investigations into these incidents pointed mostly to the casing centralization.

During casing installation, a good standoff is required to keep the casing string away from the wall of the well bore to avoid differential sticking and achieve good cement placement. On the other hand, excessive centralization could lead to increased drag force particularly in deviated wells with the attendant risk of not getting the casing to bottom. Prior to casing installation, it is a standard practice to run simulation on centraliser spacing to achieve an acceptable standoff. Bow spring centralizers are commonly used especially for 9-5/8" casing installation and experience has shown that placement of these centralisers to achieve the acceptable standoff in order to avoid differential sticking as well as good cement distribution has led to having a casing string packed with centralisers thereby increasing the drag force. It therefore became imperative to develop a strategy for optimum centralizer placement in order to achieve both the acceptable standoff to avoid differential sticking and minimum drag. This paper discusses the approach taken to achieve this acceptable standoff with minimum drag force using a combination of Spirolizers and Bow spring centralisers and its impact in reducing the risk of differential sticking.

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