As subsea completion and tie-back development plans become more plentiful, the impact of sand failure on production often severely impacts the economics of a gas field. The integrity of downhole, subsea and facility equipment may be compromised due to excessive sand production which can potentially lead to catastrophic failure. In cased and perforated sand-face completions, good cement sheath coverage across the casing can act as the main defense against excessive sand production. An integrated approach involving cement design, execution and subsequent evaluation is therefore critical to minimise sand production during the life of the well.
In this paper, we outline the evolution of the process of cement design, placement and evaluation used in a multi-well development campaign by an operator to achieve quality cement placement across the entire well length of the sub-horizontal wells.
At the commencement of the drilling campaign, perforation intervals were initially limited due to the combination of high levels of sanding risk and interpreted cement log. To limit unperforated sections, a dual pronged approach was instigated looking at both cement design and operations, and cement bond log evaluation. As the campaign progressed, both elements were improved leading to an overall improvement with respect to perforation length. Challenges overcome included lost circulation in fractured formation, poor mud removal in extended horizontal casing, gas migration into the cement sheath, the presence of micro annuli by the loss of acoustic coupling due to oil-wet casing and test pressure applied between cementing operations and evaluation.
In this paper, the entire cementing program design, placement and evaluation workflow will be explained with specific examples from the field development. Special focus will be given to the evaluation of the cement using state-of-the-art high-resolution wireline technology leading to a reduction in interpretation uncertainty through advanced workflows. Finally, examples will be provided where the inputs from the logs were integrated with both drilling and petrophysical data to evaluate the sanding propensity, thus allowing the operator to confidently perforate high-risk zones and ultimately improving well productivity.