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Scmietyof Petrolalml


SPE 25323

J,C, Hibbeler and Gino DiLullo,* BJ Services Co. (S) Pte, Ltd,, and Michael Thay,
Sarawak Shell Bhd , Sabah Shell Peiroleum Co. Ltd.
SPE Members

Copyright 1SS3, Society of Petroleum Enginwrs, Inc.

Thi8 paper was prepared for prewntation at the SPE Aeia Pacific 011 & Gas Conference & Exhibition held in Singapore, 8-10 Februery 1993.

Thle paper was wlacted for prewnlatlon by an SPE Prcgram Commlttw following rewlew of information contained in an abstract submitted by the aulhof(s) Conte!W of the paper,
ae prawnI&, h$vc ..-, Mn fev~w~ by the &jcIe~ Of petrOlem En@neere end are $bj~l to correction by the author(a), The meterief, ee preeented, does not necessarily reflect
any peaitlon of liw SMaty of Petroleum Engineere, its ottlcers, or membme. Papers praaented at SPE meetings ara subject to nublicetion review by Edltoriel Committees of the SccIety
of Petroloum Era@nwra, Parmlesion to copy is reslrictad to en abalracf of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be crzlad, The abstract should conlaln conap!cuous acknowledge
men! of where and by whom the paper Ie prewrdad, Wrile Llbrarlan, SPE, P.O. SON 833S3S, Richerdeorr, TX 7S0S3.3S36, U.S.A. Telex, 163245 SPEUT.

ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to illustrate, via case

study, the cost effectivenessof surfactant ecment
Gas migration during primary %=enting has been when used for gas control purposes. A brief
the subject of numerous studies and is well overviewof annular gas flow causes, conventional
dommentedin referencedIitmture. Methodologies aspectsof gas control slurrydesign, and description
to prediet gas flow potential have been devisedand of surfactant gas control mechanisms are also
various systems have been offered to prevent the presented.
phenomenon. However,high mat associatedwith
these systemshas made them unattractivefor many
well candidates having marginal potential for gas
flow, This prompts the possibly unsafe choice INTRODUCTION
betweenmerit and economics. With this in mind, a
cost effkcti!. slurry was developed, incorporating Annular gas or fluid flow occurs when hydrostatic
surfactsntto preventannulargas flow, pressurein the annulus falls below fomxttion pore
pressure, This can take place within the cement
Surfactantcementis a conventionalslurry to which matrix due to gcl strength development, volume
a foam generating surfactant is added. Originally reductionand fiuid loss or at the cement interfaces
developed in 1973 by the Institute Francais du due IOfree water, poor mud removal, and micro
Petrol, surfactsnt cement has been utilized in annulus generation, Migration of gas may bc to
several applications worldwide. Surfactant zones of high permeabilityand low pressureor all
immobilizes formation gas by converting it to a the wayto surface.
highly viseoualow mobilityfoam, The addition of
surfactant also Iowcrs a slurrys surface tension, As dcseribedpreviouslysurfactantslurries have two
thereby preventing bubbles from coalescing and mechanismsfor gas centrol, However,lab testing
becoming mobile. The combinationof these two has shown that for any gas control system to be
mechanisms combined with thoughtful slurry successful,certain other criteria must be met. It is
design will greatly reduce [hc risk of annular gas beyondthe scope of this paper to reviewthe many
flowaftercementing, studies and papers on the subject of slurry design
for gas migration so a brief summary of specific
factors related to the following case studies is
presented. Six factors which increase the
probi)bilityof gas flowwere identified.

Rcfcrcnccsand illustrationsat cnd of piiper,



Lab testing shows that static gel strengths Mutichannelsare definedas mud columnsresulting
indicating slurty transition can happen within from incompletedisplacement of drilling fluid by
minutesafter slurryplacement, Transitiontime has the cement slurry, As studies have shown mud
been definedas the period during which the slurry channelswill tend to form on the narrowside of an
changes from a true hydraulic fluid to a highly eccentricannulus where shear stress is least. Like
viscous mass exhibiting some solid characteristics. free water channels, after cement has set, mud
Duringthis transitionperiodthe sluny will begin to channels are relatively underp,essured and gas
supportitself,there@reducingthe slurrysabilityto invasionis likely.
transmit hydrostaticpressure.
SLURRYHYDRATION: Studieshave shownthat formationgas can become
Volume reduction of cement occurs during slurry mobile in a micro annulus. A micro annulus is
hydration. The initial set of cement is an formedby the expansionand contractionof casing
exothermic reaction involving the hydration of and can be classified in three ways produced,
individual cement particles. A crystalline pore inducedor thermal. A producedmicro annulus is
Wucture is quickly formed as mix water is formedwhen pressureis applied to the casing prior
consumed. During this time a slurrysbulk volume to the cement being set. This can occur when
can be reducedby up to 3xY?/o. This bulk volume testing BOPSor casing after a job. An induced
reductioncausesa shiny pore pressuredecreaseand micro anmdus is formed when casing fluid is
correspondingreductionin pressureon formation. changedto a lowerdensityfluid prior to the cement
being set. Lower weight fluid reduces hydrostatic
FLUIDLoss: pressure and allows the casing to contract. A
Volumereductionis also causedby loss of filtrate. thermalmicro annulus results from the exother-
Loss of filtrate occurs when the pressure of the mic reaction of setting cement. Casing is heated
cement sluny is greater than the adjacent during this reactionand later contractswhen heat is
formation. Accordingto some authors, the most lost to the formation.
importantaspectof gas flow preventionis fluid loss
control. Slurries with high fluid loss may Figure 1 graphically summarizes the above
completely dehydrate across permeable zones, mentionedcausesof annular gas flow,
bridge the anmdus, and cause an underbalance
situation below. Also, dehydrated nodes within a
cement column will set with higher et%ctive CONVENTIONALDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS
permeability to gas thus leaving the annulus
susceptible to Mum gas migration andlor fluid The previously discussed causes for annular gas
communication, flow can be addressed by conva.tional slurry
design. The followingis a summaryof such design
HIGHFREE WATER: criteria which was implemented along with the
Excessivefree water in a slurry can cause cracks introductionof surfactantcement:
due to differential settling or voids resulting from
water accumulation at the Cement/casing or LowGel Strength <10 lbs,f/100w@,Yp
cementiformationinterface, These cracks or voids * Fluid LossControl<50 cc/30min. AN
form a channel which is underpressuredrelativeto LowFreeWater a 10A,Oif horizontal
the surmmding fonmation fluids and allows Min Transition <20 min. 40-100 Bc
migrationto take place, Fme waterwhen associated * StaggeredIT > 1hourdifference
with deviated or horizda.1 wells has a high
propensityfor channel formation, Any free water LOWGELSTRENGTH:
whichseparatesfromthe cementslurrywill migrate Slurnes with low gel strength will transmit more
upwarddue to buoyanq. Whenfree water reaches hydrostaticpressure. It is crucial to insure that a
the cementlfonnation interfaceit begins to collect sluny does not reach a viscous plateau prior to
and flowupwardalong the high side of the annulus setting, Ideally,a slurry shouldstay within the 5 to
creatinga channel. 15Bc rangeuntil initial set.


SPE 025323 J. Hibbeler,G. Di Ltdlo,M. Thay 3

FLUIDLOSSCONTROL: slurry it must pass through the surfactant invaded

To migrate into a cementedanmdus, formationgas zone. In doing so, the formationgas will create a
must displace the fluids occupyingthe pore space foambarrier. The cementseffectivepermeabilityto
between cement particles. Fluid loss additives gas will be reducedby foamviscosityand the effects
viscos~ interstitialfluids, decreasingtheir mobility of two phaseflow.
and thus decreasing the potential for gas flow,
Cementwith verygoodfluid loss controlwill not in By definition, a surfactantor surface active agent,
itselfpreventannulargas flow,however,it is highly reducessurfacetension. When gas migratesto the
recommendedthat any slurry to be placed across iii barrier, low surfacetension prohibits bubbles
charged gas formations have 50 cc/30 min. API from coalescing,becominglarger and therebymore
fluid lossor less. buoyant,

LOWFREE WATER: Formation tlow capacity (FFC in md. ft.) is a

Field studies have shown that zero free water critical parameter in the analysis of gas flow
slurries eliminate flow a!ter cementing in many potential. It has been shown that for increasing
cases. Low free water is desirableon any cement formationpermeabilityand thickness,gas migration
job, but is especiallyimportantwhencementing gas potential increases directly. This illustrates a
zones For vertical wells less than 10/0free water is featurewhich is unique to surfactantcement, That
recommended.For horizontal wells zero free wtter is, the gas control mechanism (surfactant laden
is recommended. leakofl)is placedwheregas migrationis most likely
to occur- at highly permeablethick formations,
A short transitiontime aids in gas controlby simply Figure 2 graphically summarizes surfactant gas
reducingthe time a slurry is subjectedto hydrostatic controlmechanisms,
losses resulting from gel strength and slurry
hydration. Though it is more closely related to
cement propertiesrather than thickening time, gel DEVELOPMENTOF SURFACTANT
strength effkets can be greatly reduced by short
transition time. The term right angle set is used Foamgeneratingsurfactantsare availablein various
loosely,thereforea criterionwas set at 40 to 100Bc chemical compositions. For this particular
units in 20 minutesor less. application,cementchemistrydictatesthe choiceof
surfactant. An anionic Ethoxylated Lautyl Ether
STAGGEREDTHICKENINGTIME: Sulfate(ELES),was found to have the best overall
Thickening time of lead and tail slurries can be performancewhen mixed with the cement used for
tailored to increasehydrostaticpressure. If cement the casestudiespresented.
sets first acrossa gas producingzone below,while
cement at higher elevations remains in a !iquid Asidefrombeing compatiblewith specificcements,
state, higher confhing pressure will be exerted on a surfactantused for this application must also be
the matrix pore space. The cement will set with a tolerant of the high calcium / Ph environment of
higher pore pressure and more cement - to - cementingand demonstrategas blwking abilityat a
formation pressure will be applied, This can be rangeof temperaturesand pressures.
achievedby using a lead slurry with 1 to 1.5 hours
longerthickeningtime, Another considerationwhen developinga suitable
surfactant was effect on slurry transition lime,
Somesurfactantscausedlong transition times. The
SURF ACTANTGAS CONTROLMECHANISM ELES demonstrated right angle setting at
temperaturesfrom 120 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit,
In placing a surfactant slurry, a certain volume of Other surfactantssuch as EthoxylatedNonylPhenol
surfactant laden filtrate fills the pores of the (ENP) were tested but found to be less effectivein
immediatewellbore,If annular pressurefalls below controllingpa, ENP also caused longer transition
formationpore pressuregas will migratetowardthe time and slightly higher free water, A
wellbore. However,beforeformationgas entersthe concentrationrange6? 1,0to 2,5% by volumeof


mixwater (IWOW) of ELES surfactantwas found to the 13- 3/8 shoe and built up to 82 degreesby the
be optimum. Concentrationsover2.5%bvow 9- 5/8 shoe. A horizontal section of 3,050 feet
resulted in increased free water and in extreme was drilled and a 7 liner set. Gas producingsands
cases caused slurry segregation, Concentrations are located from 6,000 to 8,350 feet MD and are
below 1.0%bvowdid not pass the gas flowtest. associatedwith a large sandhde sequence. Gas ,
oil and water gradients are 0.066, 0.317 .nd 0.435
A slight modification to API slurry preparation psi/fl respectivelywithin target zones. These zones
procedureswas adopted for surfactant slurries to have pore pressures from 0.43 to 0.58 psil!l and
avoid excessivefoaming. Specifically, surfactant porosityrangingfrom 10to 15%.
is addedaftercementat 1000RPM and mixedfor
15seconds, For the Erb West well, EW-129, 9-5/8 inch casing
slurry design focusedor, the followingfive points:
1) fluid loss control2) low gel strength 3) minimal
FIELDAPPLICATION transition time 4) zero free water and 5) gas
ccntrolvia surfactantinjection. Fluid loss control is
As with the specializedlab testing, sluny mixing in achieved via PVAP which exhibited better foam
the field must also be modified for surfactant stabilizing propertiesthan stan&rd HEC fluid loss
slurries. Speeifkally, surfactant must be injected additives, Note that at higherconcentrationsPVAP
into the sluny downstream of the mixing jet. If alone will controi gas. The abovecriteria was met
surfactant wem premixed in mix water, excessive by the followingslurry:
fomningwould result and the slurry wouldbecome
Gcement + 0,58 gahx PVAP
For the purpose of surfactant injection a hole was + 0.12 galhx dispersant
drilled in the cementunitssuctionmanifoldlocated + 0.05 gal/sx retarder
betweenthe mixing jet and high pressure pumps. + 2.0+0
bvow ELES
Injectionrate is critical, as lab tests establishedthat
over-injectedslurry caum segregationwhile under- Density : 820 lbs/1000ft
injected slurry does not stop gas flow. A 314 Mix water : 4.50 gps (sea)
twbine flow meter was used to measure injection Total fluid : 5,35gps
rate. Adjustments in injection rate are made by Yield : 1.19CuWsx
simplyreducingair pressureto the air drivenpump.
TVD,MD : 6970, 8404 feet
Deviation : 82 deg.
BHCT : 146deg. F
Thus far, surfactant cement ims been,used for gas P. G, : l,31dcg F/100fi
control in three gas fields locatedoffshoreof East
Malaysia. Each field required slightly different
slurrydesigns to addressspec~lc potentialgas flow CASESTUDY-2
problems. Surfactant cement has also been used in the
exploratory B11 gas field located offshore of
CASESTUDY-1 Sarawak,East Malaysia, The B11producesgas and
The Eti West development gas field, located small amounts of condensate from a massive
offshore of Sabah, East Malaysia, has several carbonate. The structure has stringers of dolomite
overpwured sandstone formations which have but is predominatelylimestone. Pore pressures in
crowd annular S+S migration after cementing, producing zones range from 0.45 to 0.68 psi/ft.
Some of the problems associated with this have Porosities in these zones are highly variable and
beenpoorcementbonds,and ZOnalcommunication. range from 5 to 2 lXOO In this field, annular gas
The typical Erb Weal well averages 11,000 to control as well as excellentbonding is required to
13,000feet MD and latest completionshave been safelyisolatehigh H2S/Co2zones, Pore pressurein
horizontal, For the EW-129kickoffwasjust below the H2S/Co2zonelocatedjust 40 feetbelowpay


oPE025323 J, Hibbeler,G. Di Ltdlo,M. Thay 5

zoneswas 0,70 psi/ft. Preventionof zonai cmnrnu- Gcement+ 0.58 galkx PVAF
nieation between these and producing zones was + 0.18 gallsxdispersant
consideredessential, + 1,00V0bvowELES

For the B11.2 well, 7 inch easing slurry design Density : 820 lbs/1000ft.
focusedon gas controland enhancedbonding. Gas Mix water : 4.53 gps (sea)
controlwas needed, not only for producinggas but Totidfluid : 5,35 gps
also for H2S and C02, Four points were Yield : 1.19cufVsx
ad~, 1) fluid loss control 2) turbulent flow
rheologyto enhanee mud removal3) low transition TVD, MD : 5250, 5335feet
time, and 4) gas controlvia surfaetantcement. The BHST : 160deg.F
followingslurry met thesecriteria: BHCT : 120deg. F

Gcement + 0.70 gaUsxPVAP Table 1 summarizestest resultsfor easestudies,

+ 0.20 gaUsxdispersant
+ 0.05 gaUsx retarder

Density : 820 lbs/1000R, l%us fw svrfactan;cement has been used on eight

Mix water : 4.37 gps (sea) jobs. The averagecost savings has been $US 8.76
To@ fluid : 5.36 gps per cubic foot of slurry, or 50Yo,
when comparedto
Yield : 1.19euft/sx p~evious jobs using styrene/butadienecopolymer
iatex (SBR). This varied from a maximum of $US
Depth : 10,500f@t 12.14for easestudy-2, to a minimumof $US 4.94
BHST : 250 deg.F for ease study -3. The cost variance is directly
BHCT : 200 deg.F related to bottom hole temperature. That is, the
higher the temperature, the more the cost
differential. See Figure 3 for a summag of cost
CASESTUDY-3 savings.
Recently, surfaetant cement has been used in a
second exploratory gas field, the M,1. The main
target is a single 650 foot chalky limestone. CONCLUSIONS
Geology of target zone is much like that of the
B11,2,that is, variablepermeabilityand boundedby Surfactant cement has enjoyed success in three
tight shales, Within the target are distinct gadoil differentgas controlapplications. In the jobs done
and oilhvaterrmntaetswhich must be isolated. Gas with surfactantno abnormalannular pressureor gas
and oil gradient are 0.079 and 0,252 psi/ft was reporledat surface.
_vely. Pore pressuresin gas zone range from
0,67 !S 0,75 pstifl. Porosity in the gas zone Surfactant : buries provide gas control in a cost
averages 10 pereent. A 250 fbot overpressured effectivemanner. To date, surfactant cement has
Gas Chimney mists approximately 1,200 f=t saved the operator over $US 200,000, assuming
above the top of target carbonate and requires substitution for previous SBR latex gas control
cementingwith gas controlto preventmigration, systems,

For well M-1.3 surfktant was used on the 7 liner Surfactant cements gas control meehanism is
to preventgas migrationof the GasChimneyand unique in that it blocks gas flow at the
within the target gas bearing limestone. Good ee.ment/forrnationinterfaee, This provides better
cementbonding is neededto isolatethe variousgas bonding within individualgm bearing formations.
and fluid eontaets, Slurry design f- on 1) Systems,suchas SBRlatex, requiregas migration
fluid losscontrol, 2) turbulentflowrheology,and 3)
gas controlvia surfaetantcement.



into the cemented anmdus to activate gas control 3, RP,A,R van Kleef, F,C. Schoutten and G.
mechanisms. TM can leave gas, oil and Wter Aberson : SurfactantCement - A Cost Effective
cmtacts within a formation poorly bonded and !?dutionto Gas Migration Problems, May - June
vulnerableto communication. 1989.

The addition of ELES surfactantreducesa slurrys 4. L, Sabines, J.M. Tinsley and D.L. Sutton :
plastic viscosity and yield point while increasing Transitiontime of Cement Slurries Between the
thickeningtime. A defoamercan be used to con- Fluid Stateand Set State, SPE 9285, 1990.
trol normal surfacef~ng without Sactilcing the
downholefoamingabilityof surfactanto 5, C.E. Cook, M.P. Kluck and R Medrano :
Field Measurements of Annular Pressure and
Injection of surfactant is a relatively easy field Temperature During Primary Cementing, SPE
practice and incrementalequipment costs are low. 11206.1982.
Injection rate can be adjusted and monitored
accuratelyvia flow meter and field data acquisition 6. G. Carter, C. Cook, and L. Snelson :
units. Cementing Research in Directional Gas Well
Completions,SPE4313, 1973

NOME NCLA- 7, R.M. Beirute and A, Tragesser : Expansive

and Shrinkage Characteristics of Cements Under
HEc = Hydroxyethylcelhdose ActualWellConditions,SPE 40911973.
ELES = EthoxylatedLaurylEther Sulfate
ENP = EthoxylatedNonylPhenol 3. R. Cheung and R.M. Beirute : Gas Flow iii
SBR = StyrendButadienecopolymer Cements,SPE 11207,1982.
PVAP = Copolymerof VinylA3cohcd
MD = Measured depth 9. W.W. Websterand J.V. Eikerts : FlowAfter
EC = Beardonunits of consistent Cementing- A Field Laborato~ Study,SPE 8259,
PG = PsuedoGradient 1979.
= (BHST-80 F) / MD in 100sof feet
FFc = Permeability Formationheight 10. R.P. Matson, M.J. Rogers, V,C. Go Boncon
P@ = Poundsper thousandfeet and R.G. Gandy : The Effects of Temperature,
w = Gallonsper sackof cement Pressure,and Angleof Deviationon Free Waterand
bvow = Byvolumeof mix water CementSlurryStability,SP1322551, 1991.
l-r = ThickeningTime
11, L. Sabines and D,L. Sutton : The
Relationshipof ThickeningTime, Gel Strength,and
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS CompressiveStrengths of Oilwell Cements, SPE
The authors would like to thank Sarawak Shell
Berhad and BJ Servicesfor permission to publish 12, D,L, Levine, E,W, Thomas, H,P, Pemcr, and
this paper. G.C. Tolk : Annular Gas Flow After Cementing:
A LookAt PracticalSolutions,SPE 8255, 1979.
13, J.M, Tinsley, E,C, Miller, F,L, Sabines, and
1! P. Rae, and D. Wilkins: A New Approach10 D,L, Sutton : Study of Factors Causing Annular
the Prediction of Gas Flow After CementintT, Gas Flow Following Primary Cementing, SPE
SPWIADC 18622. 8257, 1980.

2. C. Harder, R Carpenter, W, Wilson, E, 14, G, Di Lullo and J, Tan : An Evaluation of

Freeman, and H, Payne : Surfactant/Cement Gas ControlAdditives,OSEA92167, 1992.
Blends Improve Plugging Operations in Oil-Base
Muds,IADC/SPE23928, 1992.


SPE 025323 J, Hibbclcr,G. Di Lullo,M. Thay 7

_ . .
.. . -
~Fltjld 10s S
I 1) ~atrength ! ;Hydration volume lost


I 1,
, [
,. I

1 ~-.-. .._=
..-.. ...
I --
Poor mud removal Micro annulua
2) High free water
. J~ ,

,i ,
,0.004 in, ,
1 \\! +

i- -
i: I
:,? L ;
..; . :
-. .
.- .. -. _ ... .. ---- .. .. . .. . .--
-. . - .
_.. . . - ... ..


Summaryof gas flowcausesvia ccmcntmatrix (row I). and ccmen( interfaces (row 2).

....-_. -........ .... . -. -. .

$urfectant laden filtrate leaks off
paaaea through the filter cake and
createe a vlacoua foam barrier when
contacted by Iormation gaa.

Surfactant reduces surface tension

thus preventing small formation qaa
bubblaa from coals aoing, becomminri
larger and therefore more likely to
migrete upward.

light zone

.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ! . . . . . .. . .. . .. .

,.:;+ * :
! Cia* zono ~ %o?matlon gas
.. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .. .. .

1 1

Figure -2

SummaT of SurfacMnls gas control mwtwisms,



1 2 3

Figure -3

Cost comparisonof SurfactantCementsystemvs SBRlatexsystem.


C&SESTUDYN(3. 1 2 3
SLURRY13ENS~ (pptf) 820 820 820
BHCT(degF) 146 200 120
DISPERSANT (gps) 0,12 020 0,18
RETARDER(gps) 0.05 0,05
PVAP(gps) 0.58 0!70 0.58
ELES (% bvow) 2,00 2.00 I ,00
GAS CONTROL(1,000 psi hydrostatic,500 psi fmtn.) YES YES YEs
API FLUID LOSS (c.e/30rein) 54 58 42
FREE WATER (V, @ bhct) 0,30 0.50 TRACE
RHEOLOGY (farm rdgs @ bhct)
300 RPM (W/ELES , W/O ELES) 43,52 38,46 48,60
200 RPM 30,35 27,32 33,38
100 RPM
40 Bc (w/ ELES , w/o ELES)
70 Be
226, 172
238.188 I 313,240
320,256 I 280, 149
290, 162