Technical Paper: Innovative Computer Model Increases Success Rate When Placing Deep Kickoff Plugs in Southern Mexico

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 119415
Presentation Date: 2009
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Traditionally, service companies have had to place several consecutive cement plugs to successfully kick off wells deeper than 3,500 meters. Within the scope of integrated projects in Southern Mexico where wells are usually deeper than 5,000 meters, the low success rate for traditional balanced plug cementing has jeopardized operational efficiency and financial results. Several plug failures made it clear that the volumetric calculations and other known engineering best practices that were implemented were not sufficient to bring the success rate to an acceptable level. In our field study, we implemented an innovative simulation and design method that allows for engineered optimization of the plug placement design and that shows how a 100% success rate in plug cementing can be achieved in wells as deep as 5,720 meters, with hard formations and an OBM environment. The value of this new method resides in a live analysis and display of the fluid interfaces, mixing both while traveling down the pipe and up the annulus and resulting in the output of an estimated top of uncontaminated cement after pulling the pipe out of the hole. The new workflow reveals the effect of each variable affecting the amount of contamination of the cement slurry downhole and gives the engineer the opportunity to optimize the plug placement design before job execution to reach the highest possible top of uncontaminated cement after execution. The results obtained with the new engineering tool and a precise operational field execution has moved the theory of plug placement from the best practice library to the reality of the plug placement operations.

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