In a deepwater environment, any remedial operation has a high impact on the overall costs during the life of the wells. The zonal isolation can be compromised due to the exposure of the well's main components (casing and cement) to the changes in the stress conditions. The changes in wellbore conditions can occur during the drilling, production, intervention, and decommissioning stages. Typically, conditions such as fluid pathway and high formation pressure are sufficient to lose zonal isolation. The fluid pathway can be a fissure, an induced crack in the cement sheath, a mud channel, a micro-microannulus, or changes in the cement matrix permeability. As a result of the oil industry technology developments, progresses, the advanced stress-modelling software and the availability of cement and rock properties property data have enabled to an improved understanding of the cement behavior under stress. Prevention of the loss of the hydraulic isolation provided by the primary cementing in the annulus can be assessed by predicting the mechanical failure of the cement sheath. Formation geo-mechanics is one of the main factors that help in designing a robust cement system for changing stresses. Furthermore, the consequence result of the cement sheath failure can be mitigated by the placement of placing a self-healing cement (SHC) system to maintain long-term zonal isolation.

An interdisciplinary approach can be used to determine the following:

  • Understand the impact of the well plan, and fluid densities on well integrity, in addition to cementing best practices.

  • Characterize typical deepwater field formations, and establish limits for geo-mechanical values of each layer.

  • Identify critical factors and focus on the pay zones.

  • Understand potential issues and communication between the pay zones and the aquifers that are already previously confirmed.

  • Determine risk of zonal communication assessment, mitigation, and prevention measurement implementations

Once the formation data is validated by the operator, the life cycle of the well is simulated and the risk of zonal isolation can be evaluated. The results of this assessment can help the operator choose between to take the approach of mitigation, prevention, or a combination of both. The objective is to place a robust cement sheath with advanced mechanical performance in the pay zones that can resist the failures due to changing stresses during the well testing and production. This paper uses presents examples from a deepwater development field to show how cement systems with advanced mechanical properties counter the critical stresses during the lifecycle of a well and maintain zonal isolation.

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