As a general practice in the oil and gas industry, the well foundation, composed by the conductor and the surface casing, is designed with a strict tolerance regarding cement shortfall on the surface casing. However, in a pre-salt scenario, in order to reduce the costs of well construction, the surface casing shoe generally reaches the top of salt. In this case, it is quite hard to make the cement job reach the mudline due to problems like salt dissolution (generating high calipers) and presence of many geological faults in the post-salt zone (which can work as a lost circulation area). Besides that, an evaluation of the wellhead movement is necessary so that the structural restrictions of subsea equipment connected to the wellhead are not violated.
This work had the goal of presenting a coupled structural model to analyze the foundation of a subsea well with a partially cemented surface casing, where the safety factors of surface casing are evaluated in the whole well life cycle along with the wellhead movement due to the loads related to each step of this cycle. A sensitivity analysis on the top of cement (measured from the casing shoe) is made, varying it from 300 m to 800 m.
The results showed wellhead movement consistent with what is observed in the field, once no axial movement has been reported. Additionally, it was highlighted that the foundation design depends on the operations during the well construction and its future purpose, production or injection, because the thermal loads associated with operations have different impacts.