A lightweight cement solution was successfully applied in deepwater wells at depths greater than 1000 m and in production liners terminating in depleted reservoirs. These wells were drilled off the east coast of India. The fracture gradient prognosis for the depleted zones ranged from 11.0 to 11.28 lbm/gal. The measured depth (MD) of these wells was more than 4500 m (MDRT). Mud weights ranged from 10.9 to 11 lbm/gal in the well while drilling the zone. The length of the liner normally ranged from 1400 to 2300 m. The cement slurry was finalized after conducting numerous tests in the laboratory. A lead and tail combination was used for the job to maintain the required equivalent circulating density (ECD).

In openhole completions, the casing or liner before the gravel pack should be landed in sand to establish having reached the reservoir top and to help ensure that no shale is present. Challenges for a successful liner job in these wells include landing in a depleted reservoir, which would enable a very low margin between the mud weight and fracture gradient. This margin is further reduced by the minimum horizontal stress mud weight requirement to help ensure that no hole collapse occurs while drilling and before cementing begins. In addition to the depleted zone, to maximize reservoir tapping, the well profiles are highly deviated, often reaching a well deviation of 80+ degrees, resulting in a high ECD during cementing. A long section of the cement column can create problems of cement channeling past the mud and mixing in the annulus. The correct prediction of pore pressure and fracture pressure for different sections is very important. Accurate knowledge of these values is recommended for a correct job design.

Some of the lessons learned during the process to help ensure good zonal isolation include the following:

  • An 11-lbm/gal lightweight lead slurry was formulated, keeping ECD and fluid rheology vs. strength development in mind. Solids loading was controlled to help ensure low friction factors (considering rheology) and to achieve a final compressive strength of 2,000 psi because it was a production casing.

  • The length of the tail slurry column was maintained to a minimum to create minimal effect on the ECD, even though the hydrostatic pressure developed was marginal in a highly deviated section.

  • A low-rheology/low-density synthetic oil-based mud (SOBM) (10 lbm/gal) was pumped ahead to reduce the ECD and to maintain the equivalent static density (ESD) above the pore pressure. In addition, the displacement rate was staggered to help maintain the ECDs.

  • A high-viscosity pill was spotted at the 12 1/4-in. section total depth (TD) before the final pullout to act as a base for the cement slurry.

This paper highlights the concerns and best practices developed when cementing production liners across depleted formations in deepwater wells.

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