This long-term comprehensive study of the cement systems and field operations applied in the Marcellus Shale play targets elimination of zonal isolation problems and associated cost, safety, and environmental issues. The approach is to develop an integrated process to optimize zonal isolation, reduce job problems, minimize remedial cementing, and optimize rig time spent waiting on cement.
In this on-going study, a systematic and holistic approach was taken to analyze and potentially improve cementing operations on all casing strings. Initially, a method of observation and analysis is developed using laboratory testing, field observation and engineering analysis. This method allows for identification of issues or good practices. From issues identified, recommendations can be made. Once a set of recommendations are agreed upon, practices can be implemented. The improvements do not stop here, as this project progresses, a constant feedback loop will be continuously running with new ideas to improve cementing technology and operations. This project is in the stage of making recommendations; however initial results and data from similar projects indicate that by focusing on cementing operations and design leads to an overall increase in the quality of cementing processes.
Considering the current emphasis on U.S. shale drilling and evidence of improvement from previous research1 cementing improvement delivers potential for reduced cost and increased safety. Improved cement performance produces better zonal isolation which can result in lower cost to drill, more effective fracturing operations, and higher ultimate productivity of the well. This project was specifically chosen by RPSEA to identify issues in shale and identify best practices that will alleviate issues with zonal isolation, safety and the environment in shale reservoirs.