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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Mitigation of Annulus Pressure Buildup in Offshore Gas Wells by Determination of Top of Cement

[+] Author and Article Information
Alex W. Mwang’ande

Key Laboratory of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development,
(China University of Petroleum (East China)),
Ministry of Education,
Qingdao 266580, China;
School of Petroleum Engineering,
China University of Petroleum (East China),
Qingdao 266580, China
e-mail: lb1702009@s.upc.edu.cn

Hualin Liao

Key Laboratory of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development,
(China University of Petroleum (East China)),
Ministry of Education,
Qingdao 266580, China;
School of Petroleum Engineering,
China University of Petroleum (East China),
Qingdao 266580, China
e-mail: liaohualin2003@upc.edu.cn

Long Zeng

Key Laboratory of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development,
(China University of Petroleum (East China)),
Ministry of Education,
Qingdao 266580, China;
School of Petroleum Engineering,
China University of Petroleum (East China),
Qingdao 266580, China
e-mail: zenglong1995@126.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received November 10, 2018; final manuscript received March 26, 2019; published online April 17, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Ray (Zhenhua) Rui.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(10), 102901 (Apr 17, 2019) (9 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1832; doi: 10.1115/1.4043338 History: Received November 10, 2018; Accepted March 28, 2019

Annulus pressure buildup (APB) is still a serious problem in offshore gas wells, which threatens the safety of wells for the entire phases of drilling, completion, and production. The existing methods for mitigating APB are technically complex and highly costly. Setting top of cement (TOC) below the outer casing shoe to mitigate APB is easy to implement and can significantly reduce costs. However, there are no unified methods of determining TOC for this purpose. Nevertheless, existing petroleum standards give ambiguous regulations on the setting of TOC. This article brings a new and cheap method of mitigating APB by determining best TOC settings using a mathematical model for calculating APB from both annulus fluid expansion (AFE) and sustained casing pressure (SCP). Field data from gas well X are inputted to the model to describe how it serves this purpose. Calculation results for well X show that setting TOC's above and below the upper casing shoes for production and intermediate casings annuli, respectively, can greatly avoid the problem of APB and the costs associated with the existing mitigation methods. This technique can be used to other wells following the same procedures. The developed model reduced greatly the ambiguity of TOC determination as it helps to get the clear TOC combinations that control APB at the lowest cost of well construction while maintaining good and safe well operation.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Typical wellbore structure in a deepwater oil/gas well showing uncemented part of annuli A, B, and C, and heat flow from tubing to the formation. Hot fluid flows from bottom to surface [27].

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Fig. 2

Flowchart showing the procedures for calculating APB

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Fig. 3

Temperature distribution along the tubing, well annuli, and formation for well X (1400 m is the mudline level)

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Fig. 4

Effect of production rate on the annulus pressure for well X

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Fig. 5

Effect of TOC on the annulus pressure when all annuli A, B, and C are closed

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Fig. 6

Effect of TOC on the annulus pressure when annuli A and C are closed but B is open

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Fig. 7

Effect of TOC on the annulus pressure when annuli B and C are open, but A is closed

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Fig. 8

Effect of TOC on the annulus pressure when annuli A and B are closed but C is open

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Fig. 9

Cement permeability affects only the buildup rate of SCP, but the stabilized pressure converges to the same pressure of ∼20.5 MPa

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Fig. 10

SCP in B-annulus increases with decreasing annulus fluid density but still did not surpass the 29.6 MPa from the APB model

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Fig. 11

Cement compressibility affects only the buildup rate of SCP, but the stabilized pressure converges to almost the same pressure of 20 MPa

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Fig. 12

Effect of four selected TOCs on casing pressure of annulus B. Raising TOC results in increased SCP.

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