The manufacturing process of oilfield cement is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. Thus, finding sustainable alternative materials has become the main focus globally. Geopolymers are low carbon cement alternatives that have been used in the construction industry for many years, yet their applicability for oil and gas wells remains unproven.

For geopolymers to be successfully implemented in the oilfield industry, a customization of the formulation is critical to eliminate logistical constraints and ensure compatibility with oilfield pumping equipment. Geopolymers are typically prepared with liquid alkaline activators, which render them impractical for onshore applications due to the complicated logistics of transporting liquids to a wellsite. Dry blending of the various components and handling constraints is an important condition for field use.

A comprehensive lab study of geopolymer activator and functional additives was conducted. In the end, unique chemistries were identified that are compatible with dry blending and continuous live mixing for field application. A key focus was given to achieving parameters needed from operations, and compliance perceptive, and those which are comparable to the oilfield cements currently in use. Introducing an innovative geopolymer solid activator package enables mixing and pumping of geopolymer slurries without any modification of the current equipment or the job execution method and eliminate the need to handle corrosive liquids. After extensive lab studies, mixability, and pumpability of the newly designed geopolymer system was validated via yard trials.

The current work has opened new avenues to make geopolymers adaptable to cementing land equipment while meeting the requirements needed to sustain performance under well conditions. This is a step change toward field deployment of a sustainable well integrity technology.

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