Technical Paper: Proactive Novel Approach and Design Strategies to Zonal Isolation in a Highly Challenging Deep Water Environment

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 170977
Presentation Date: 2014
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In September 2010 a decision was made to expand the current Mars field development with a second 24 slot TLP structure in a water depth of 3000 ft. This new development includes higher pressured deeper pays below the existing brown field Mars pays. The new structure will install wells with multiple casing strings across stacked sand packages that are both depleted and virgin pressured ranging from 10,500 ft to 23,000 ft TVD in depth. This in combination with other challenges such as extremely tight annuli clearances, depletion zones greater than 5000 psi, multiple stacked sands at varying degrees of depletion, and risk of borehole stability failure/ballooning presents a unique set of zonal isolation challenges that requires proactive novel approaches and design strategies. Zonal isolation is a regulatory requirement and a key component of project success in order to secure maximum field recovery and future wellbore utilization within the estimated field life.

Zonal isolation methodology and design does not have a single focus but explores all parameters that affect placement and isolation while not losing focus on striving operational simplicity. This paper discusses the engineering approach to zonal isolation requirements in an extremely challenging environment utilizing a step wise methodology with increasing complexity and also elaborates on how this approach led to the identification and ultimately the development of new technologies.

Design methodologies will be discussed as well as resulting technologies identified as a "must haves" for development to ensure maximum probability of zonal isolation success. Technologies discussed will include reverse cementing tools, 50 (+) year seals for stage collars, and connection requirements. Statement of Requirements (SORs), basic tool descriptions, and preliminary results of these developments will also be included. Discussions on why certain placement techniques or approaches were not integrated into the zonal isolation project plan will also be discussed.

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