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DRILLING OPERATIONS MANUAL

DRILLING PRACTICES

CASING AND CEMENTING OPERATIONS


7.0 CASING AND CEMENTING

7.1 Casing Design

7.1.1 Casing Setting Depths


7.1.2 Wellbore Geometry
7.1.3 Collapse Resistance
7.1.4 Burst Strength
7.1.5 Axial Tension
7.1.6 Buckling Stability Analysis
7.1.7 Bi-Axial Stress Effects
7.1.8 Casing Wear Allowance
7.1.9 Corrosion Considerations

7.2 Cement Slurry Design

7.2.1 Primary Cementing


7.2.2 Squeeze Cementing
7.2.3 Kick-off and Abandonment Cement Plugs

7.3 Casing Installation and Cementing

7.3.1 Hole Conditioning


7.3.2 Pre-Job Checks
7.3.3 Casing Installation
7.3.4 Casing Cementing
7.3.5 Casing Pressure Testing

7.4 Casing and Cementing Checklist

7.4.1 Pre-Job Checks


7.4.2 Hole Conditioning Prior to Cementing
7.4.3 Tripping Out To Run Casing
7.4.4 Cementing Casing

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7.0 CASING AND CEMENTING

This section is intended to serve as an operations guide for the Drilling Supervisor as well as
a design tool for the Drilling Engineer. The material contained in this section provides general
guidance for the planning and execution of casing and cementing operations conducted by
Occidental.

7.1 Casing Design

Casing design is to be performed on a well by well basis. There are no universal casing design
procedures that will enable mechanical determination of an acceptable casing program for a
particular well. However, a certain degree of standardization is usually possible in the case
of single site, multi-well development drilling projects where many of the "unknowns" are
well defined and casing programs can be developed more on the basis of completion geometry
than on anticipated drilling problems.

The need to treat each casing design as unique cannot be overstated. This is particularly true
in exploration areas where the chosen casing program can have a significant impact on well
control operations. The purpose of this section is to provide a drilling professional with
sufficient practical information to form the basis of a well designed casing program.

7.1.1 Casing Setting Depths

Casing setting depths are to be established following determination of the pore


pressure and fracture pressure profiles for a particular well. For exploration wells, the
well data is to be based upon the best available data. Once these two pressure profiles
have been defined, selection of casing setting depths is usually a routine procedure.
In addition, offset well data is to be closely scrutinized for problematic intervals that
may be encountered in the planned well. Information of particular interest would be:

- zones of whole mud losses and the loss mechanism (e.g., permeability, natural
or induced fractures, depleted pore pressure)

- tight hole sections, suggesting fluid sensitive shales or overpressure

- zones susceptible to differential sticking

- intervals of high formation gas that may impact successful primary cementing

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This information, together with the planned mud density schedule for the well, should
enable selection of optimum casing setting depths. Once the casing setting depths
have been determined, the following calculation is to be performed for each casing
setting depth to determine if adequate kick tolerance will be available to drill to that
particular casing point.

K = (Dc/Db) x (FG - SF - MW) - Tm

Where: K = kick tolerance at depth of interest, ppg EMW


Dc = depth of previous casing shoe, TVD
Db = depth of interest, TVD
FG = fracture gradient at casing shoe, ppg EMW
SF = safety factor, ppg EMW
MW = mud density at depth of interest, ppg
Tm = trip margin, ppg

In general, the safety factor and trip margin are to be determined in accordance with
the guidelines established in Section VI, Well Planning - Mud Density, which are
as follows:

A. A minimum overbalance pressure of 0.5 ppg EMW is to be specified from the


mudline to +/- 7500' TVD RKB. Below 7500' TVD RKB, a minimum
overbalance pressure of 200 psi is recommended when formation strengths
permit.

B. A trip margin, in excess of overbalance pressure, is to be specified for all


depths and should take account of wellbore geometry, annular clearances,
drilling fluid density and rheological properties, and pipe tripping speeds. In
general, a minimum trip margin equivalent to the anticipated swab pressure
is to be used. However, this value is to be increased if dictated by well
specific conditions.

Using these guidelines, if the calculated kick tolerance at each new casing point is less
than 0.5 ppg EMW, the casing setting depth is to be altered until the kick tolerance
is equal to or greater than 0.5 ppg EMW. Use of the kick tolerance equation is
illustrated as follows.

Well Data (Vertical Well):

13-3/8" casing set at: 6500' MD RKB


Leak-off test at casing shoe: 15.3 ppg EMW
Next casing point: 10,500' MD RKB

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Mud density at next casing point: 12.7 ppg
Estimated trip margin: 0.25 ppg EMW
Safety factor at 9-5/8" casing point: 200 psi

Calculate Kick Tolerance:

Safety Factor in ppg EMW = 200/(0.052 x 10500) = 0.366 ppg

K = (Dc/Db) x (FG - SF - MW) - Tm

= (6500/10500) x (15.3 - 0.366 - 12.7) - 0.25

K = 1.13 ppg EMW, which is acceptable.

7.1.2 Wellbore Geometry

Wellbore geometry can vary significantly between land and offshore operations.
There can be many variations of the wellbore geometry between wells because of
formation characteristics, formation pressures and depth of the well. The
nomenclature for a casing string should be compatible with the Occidental reporting
system and data base. The nomenclature will be derived based upon the number of
casing strings that are planned or are included as a contingency.

The following is a typical example of an offshore well.

Structural Pipe : 30" diameter

Conductor Casing : 20" diameter

Surface Casing : 13-3/8" diameter

Intermediate Casing : 9-5/8" diameter

Production/Drilling Liner : 7" diameter

Production Liner : 7" or 5" diameter, as required

The combinations of this casing program are illustrated in Figures 7.1 and 7.2. Final
wellbore geometry must take into account total project economics. In addition,
selection of wellbore geometry must take into account the following considerations,
which will have a significant impact on realizing planned objectives.

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Figure 7.1: Example Exploration Casing Program

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Figure 7.2: Example Development Casing Program

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A. Structural and conductor casing must be of sufficient strength to provide
adequate support for the following externally applied loads:

1. Environmental loads due to wind, waves, current, and temperature.

2. Axial loads due to the weight of casing strings, blowout preventer


stacks, wireline equipment, coiled tubing units, and snubbing units.

3. Bending moments due to the lateral movement of axial loads or


through the application of external forces; for example, bending
moments exerted on subsea wellheads due to rig offset.

B. Casing diameters must allow for adequate clearance between rotary drilling
tools and the inside diameter of the casing. In addition, allowance must be
made for the annular clearance necessary to use standard fishing tools.

C. Having decided on an acceptable wellbore geometry, the expected annular


pressure losses and surge and swab pressures for each hole section must be
determined. These calculations should be performed using the planned drilling
assemblies and drilling fluids program for each hole section.

D. The final casing program must take into account the planned completion
configuration, which will, in many cases, automatically define the casing
program. If the well will not be held for production, then the primary concern
will be to ensure that well testing objectives can be realized within the
confines of the planned wellbore geometry.

E. When planning exploration wells, sufficient allowance must be made for


unanticipated drilling problems that would require the installation of a
protective string of casing. This requirement will often result in the use of
larger than necessary casing diameters, but may avoid the need to redrill a well
due to the limited hole size available to reach the planned objective. As more
experience is gained in a particular area, the need to allow for contingency
protective pipe can be relaxed.

7.1.3 Collapse Resistance

The collapse resistance of tubular goods is ordinarily expressed in terms of the


minimum external pressure that must be applied in order to initiate permanent
deformation of the pipe body. The means of determining the collapse resistance of
tubulars is dependent on a number of factors including API grade, outside diameter,
wall thickness, and minimum yield strength. The API has developed a number of

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methods for calculating the collapse resistance of pipe using both practical and
theoretical techniques. While no attempt is made in this section to delve into these
techniques, the reader should be aware that the collapse failure mechanism will not
be the same in all cases. While the difference between these failure mechanisms will
not adversely impact the vast majority of casing designs, critical service applications
should be closely scrutinized to ensure that the possibility of unexpected failure in
collapse does not occur.

Collapse loadings can be exerted on a section of pipe under the following conditions,
which may or may not occur simultaneously.

A. Applied Differential Pressure

Applied differential pressure is generated through application of surface


pressure to the annular void space of a string of pipe in excess of the pressure
present on the inside of the pipe. This condition is most critical during BOP
and wellhead pressure testing operations where failure of an annulus pack-off
seal could result in applying sufficient pressure to cause the pipe to collapse.

B. Differential Hydrostatic Pressure

Differential hydrostatic pressure is produced due to a difference in average


fluid density between the inside and outside of a string of casing. This
condition is a critical concern for gas lifted wells where, under certain
conditions, the equivalent fluid density inside the casing can be reduced to
nothing more than a gas fluid gradient. Hydrostatic pressure below a packer
in an electrical submersible pump should be assumed to be zero as this
condition often occurs on pump start up.

C. Wellbore Curvature

Changes in hole angle that result in bending of the pipe body produce loading
conditions that reduce the collapse resistance of tubulars. This condition is
seriously aggravated through intervals of high angle change (i.e., high dogleg
severity).

D. Formation Matrix Flow

This condition is characterized by plastic flow of the rock matrix against the
outer surface of the pipe body resulting in severe stress loading of the tubular.
Salt flows are widely known to produce this condition, although flows of
claystone formations and active faults can produce similar results.
E. Heating of Confined fluids

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The heating of fluids confined in annular void spaces (for example, between
a casing x casing cement top and wellhead pack-off) can generate pressure
increases of sufficient magnitude to collapse casing. Ordinarily these pressure
increases are not large enough to cause concern. However, the wide variance
in temperature profiles generated under drilling and production conditions
dictates that the magnitude of anticipated pressure increase be evaluated for
every well.

Additional mechanisms leading to collapse failure can occur due to a


combination of dynamic loading conditions that are ordinarily addressed
within the context of buckling failure analysis. These failure modes will not
be discussed here, but rather are deferred to a subsequent part.

Each of the collapse loading conditions discussed above must be addressed on


a well by well basis. It is simply not adequate to accept a particular casing
design for broad application within an operating area. Adopting such an
approach increases the likelihood that catastrophic equipment failure will
eventually occur, which could, in certain cases, result in unmanageable
consequences.

When designing for collapse resistance, the following guidelines are to be


followed.

1. A minimum design safety factor of 1.125 should be used in all cases.


This will result in the casing being subjected to a maximum of 88.88%
of its rated collapse resistance under worst case conditions. This safety
factor must be maintained when allowance has been made for all of the
loading conditions mentioned above. In addition, allowance must be
made for anticipated casing wear (Part 7.1.8) and the reduction in
collapse resistance due to bi-axial stress affects (Part 7.1.7).

2. The annulus fluid should be assumed to have a density equivalent to


the highest anticipated fluid density while drilling the previous hole
section. The fluid column for design calculations is to extend from the
surface to the casing shoe. The physical properties of the annulus
fluid are to be used in calculations to determine the impact of wellbore
heating.

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3. The fluid inside the casing is to be assumed to be gas with a fluid
gradient equivalent to 0.150 psi/ft, unless overwhelming technical
evidence can support the use of a higher or lower value. For wells
that will be gas lifted, the production casing collapse design
calculations are to be performed assuming a gas fluid gradient inside
the casing of zero psi/ft. This will allow for the possibility that gas lift
pressure could be completely bled off to zero.

For wells that will be pumped with submersible pumps, the hydrostatic
pressure inside the casing below the production packer should be
assumed to be zero psi/ft.

4. The anticipated static collapse loading following primary cementation


of each casing string should also be taken into account. This is
particularly important for large diameter tubulars which have
inherently low collapse resistance.

7.1.4 Burst Strength

The burst strength of tubular goods is expressed in terms of the minimum internal
pressure that must be applied in order to initiate permanent deformation of the pipe
body. The expressions "burst strength" and "burst resistance" are really misnomers
because the pipe generally will not fail at the API specified minimum internal yield
pressure. As the definition states, the minimum internal yield pressure is the minimum
pressure at which initial permanent deformation of the pipe wall begins to occur - it
is not the point at which failure occurs.

Burst loads are typically generated under the following circumstances:

A. Applied Internal Pressure

Applied internal pressures are commonly generated during pressure testing


operations and well testing (e.g., for the operation of downhole tools). In
general, the application of these pressures can be closely controlled to limit
the potential of accidental pipe body failure.

B. Differential Hydrostatic Pressure

This condition is produced when the average fluid density inside the casing
exceeds the average fluid density on the outside of the casing. Although this
condition is usually not of critical concern, when taken in combination with
applied internal pressure, the need for careful design review is clearly evident.
Considerations should also be given to lost circulation reducing the
hydrostatic pressure outside the casing.
C. Unexpected Release of Formation Pressure

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This condition generally occurs during well testing operations when the
primary test string fails, resulting in flowing wellhead pressure being exerted
on the production casing. Generally this does not present a problem since the
production casing is ordinarily designed to tolerate such a condition.

D. Packer Setting Forces

Packer setting forces can produce excessive burst loadings on tubulars,


particularly when the slip load area is small relative to packer setting forces
and casing strength.

In addition to these burst loading conditions, the designer must thoroughly


consider all possible modes of burst loading that may be produced during the
useful life of a well. This is generally a straightforward procedure in the case
of exploration wells; however, long term production wells generally
experience multiple operating scenarios which must be addressed at the design
stage.

When designing for burst resistance, the following guidelines are to be


followed:

1. In general, a minimum design safety factor of 1.1 should be used. This


will result in the casing being subjected to a maximum of 90.9% of its
minimum internal yield pressure rating under worst case operating
conditions. This safety factor must be maintained when allowance has
been made for all of the loading conditions mentioned above. In
addition, allowance must be made for anticipated casing wear (Part
7.1.8).

2. The annulus fluid should be assumed to have a density equivalent to


connate water. For most offshore operations a static fluid gradient of
0.4446 psi/ft (8.55 ppg EMW) is to be used. For most land
operations a static fluid gradient of 0.465 psi/ft. (8.94 ppg EMW) is
to be used.

3. The fluid inside the casing is to be assumed to be gas with a fluid


gradient equivalent to 0.150 psi/ft, unless overwhelming technical
evidence can support the use of a higher or lower figure.

4. The maximum wellhead pressure during drilling operations is to be the


lesser of the following calculated pressures:

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a. The pressure produced by the maximum anticipated formation


pore pressure for a particular hole section less a gas gradient
to the wellhead.

b. The pressure produced by the maximum anticipated leak-off


pressure at the casing shoe, less a gas gradient to surface.

5. For exploration wells, the maximum burst loading is to be determined


based on the assumption that the well is tested and a leak develops in
the test string at the wellhead. The drill string safety valves fail to
operate, and the pressure trapped at the wellhead is then transmitted
throughout the entire annular fluid column to the test packer. This
loading condition superimposes a static surface pressure on top of the
differential pressure resulting from the difference in fluid densities
between the inside and outside of the casing. As a result of this
superposition of pressures, the burst loading above the packer may
exceed the burst loading at the wellhead.

6. For development wells, the burst design criteria discussed in (5) may
be relaxed. The worst case burst loading is to be determined using the
maximum wellhead pressure determined in (4) unless well specific
conditions indicate more stringent requirements.

7.1.5 Axial Tension

Axial tensile loads are produced by forces acting along the longitudinal axis of the
casing. Resistance of tubular goods to tensile failure is expressed in terms of pipe
body yield strength and joint strength. In most cases, the joint strength for a
particular tubular product meets or exceeds the pipe body yield strength, but this is
not always the case. The designer must be certain to use the lesser of joint strength
or pipe body yield strength when specifying tubulars acceptable for a particular
application.

Tensile loads are generated in tubulars under the following well condition, which may
or may not occur simultaneously:

A. Suspended String Weight

This is the load generated along the axis of the pipe due to its own weight.
Ordinarily, this loading does not impose any adverse design constraints.
B. Applied Internal Pressure

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Applied internal pressure tends to balloon the casing and generates
incremental tensile loading throughout the full length of the pipe. A more
severe condition is created during primary cementation when the top
cementing plug lands and excessive casing pressure is applied. Under these
conditions incremental tensile loading is superimposed onto the static weight
of the casing, producing high axial loads.

C. Applied Tensile Loads

Applied tensile loads are generated in a number of ways including:

1. Overpull to free stuck pipe

2. Incremental surface tension to prevent buckling

3. Packer slack-off weight (in uncemented pipe)

4. Liner hang-off weight (in uncemented pipe)

D. Induced Tensile Loads

Induced tensile loads are produced through a number of mechanisms which,


in many cases, are not accounted for in the typical casing design. These loads
can result in a net increase or decrease in the magnitude of casing tension. The
following are examples of conditions which increase or decrease the
magnitude of tensile loading :

1. An increase or decrease in the average wellbore temperature through


intervals of uncemented pipe.

2. An increase in mud density during subsequent drilling operations that


is in excess of the mud density in the casing annulus.

3. Bending of tubulars through intervals of hole angle change.

4. Shock loads induced by rapid deceleration of pipe and setting of slips


while running casing.

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E. While the above loading conditions will cover the majority of tensile forces
experienced in practice, well specific conditions may impose additional,
unexpected forces. It is the responsibility of the casing designer to thoroughly
understand the anticipated operational characteristics of a well, and the
consequences these characteristics have for acceptable tensile design
conditions.

When designing for tensile strength, the following guidelines are to be


followed.

1. The minimum acceptable design safety factor in tension is to be 1.6.


This will result in the casing being subjected to a maximum of 62.5%
of the joint strength or pipe body yield strength, whichever is lower.

2. Calculation of the maximum anticipated tensile loading is to take


account of the following forces acting simultaneously :

Casing Weight: Total unbouyed weight of casing with


allowance for hole angle.

Pick-up Drag: Maximum anticipated pick-up drag taking


account of hole geometry.

Bending Force: Maximum anticipated bending force for the


planned hole geometry.

Overpull Allowance: The planned degree of available overpull to free


the casing in the event of sticking.

3. Pipe running loads induced by wellbore deviation are to be taken into


account. In particular, the effects of hole drag (both up an down) are
to be taken into consideration. For floating rig operations, the degree
of uncontrollable up-drag may significantly impact casing design.

4. The degree of shock loading induced by the planned casing running


speeds is to be determined. If these loads are sufficiently high, the
planned casing running speeds are to be reduced until an acceptable
loading condition is obtained. In certain cases, it will be prudent to
substitute shock loading for pick-up drag in the maximum anticipated
load calculation performed in (2) above.

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5. For water injection wells, or wells programmed for injectivity testing,
the degree of incremental casing tension induced by the cooling effect
of injection water is to be determined. This force is to be added to the
static wellhead tensile force without consideration for dynamic
loading.

7.1.6 Buckling Stability Analysis

Buckling stability analysis is critical to ensuring the success of any drilling operation.
It is not enough to perform the design calculations required for burst, collapse, and
tension only to ignore the possibility that the pipe will fail due to buckling instability.
Buckling instability is generally a condition that presents itself long after the casing
has been cemented, and frequently after the rig has moved off location. Tubular
failures attributed to buckling instability occur without warning and with catastrophic
results.

Well conditions leading to buckling instability generally occur following primary


cementation of a string of casing. The primary factors contributing to buckling
instability are as follows:

- Changes in fluid densities inside and/or outside a string of pipe.

- Changes in surface pressure inside and/or outside a string of pipe.

- Changes in average well temperature.

- Uncemented casing through intervals of significant hole enlargement.

Other factors to be considered are:

- Compressibility rating of a connection with buoyancy effects and/or hanging


up when running in the hole.

The time to assess the need for preventative measures to deal with buckling is during
the planning stages for a particular well. Buckling instability can generally be resolved
through application of any one, or a combination, of several simple techniques during
the primary cementing operation. However, in the case of subsea operations, once
the cement takes an initial set, the opportunity for corrective action has been lost.

Common techniques for eliminating the possibility of buckling stability failure are:

A. Raise the column of primary cement above the calculated neutral point. It
should be noted that the neutral point in this context is not the point of zero

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axial stress. The neutral point in buckling stability analysis is the point at
which the axial stress is equal to the average of the radial and tangential
stresses.

B. Maintain internal pressure on the casing while the primary cement takes an
initial set. The magnitude of applied pressure must be calculated to suit the
specific well conditions.

C. For surface operations, where "throw in" slips will be used to suspend the
casing, application of a suitable overpull prior to setting the slips will normally
remedy a buckling stability problem. The degree of overpull must be
calculated based on specific well conditions.

D. Ensure that the casing is adequately constrained from lateral movement


through the use of positive stand-off centralizers. This technique is the least
desirable of the four techniques mentioned here and should be used only as a
last resort.

Based on the above discussion, it is apparent that one of the most vulnerable points
in a well, relative to buckling failure, is the rathole section below the previous casing
shoe. In many cases, cement is not brought up inside the previous casing shoe in
order to prevent the possibility of pressure build-up in the confined casing annulus
during subsequent operations. Although the desired pressure relief valve is now
available (i.e., formation leak-off pressure at the casing shoe), the ideal conditions for
buckling failure have been created. The decision to not cement inside the previous
casing shoe must be a considered one, following careful design analysis.

7.1.7 Bi-Axial Stress Effects

Combined loads due to tension and pressure can produce in-service conditions where
the performance properties of tubulars are exceeded, although design calculations
suggested that this would not be the case. This is due to common casing design
procedures which evaluate tubular loading conditions in one dimension; i.e., tensile,
collapse and burst loads are all considered independently. This design procedure is
encouraged by specifications for tubular performance properties, which are generally
given in one dimension with no allowance for combined loading conditions.
In certain well applications, tubular performance properties are so adversely effected
by simultaneous loading conditions that allowance must be made for loss of strength.
This is particularly true with respect to collapse resistance. If collapse resistance is
critical to the success of a particular project, then the reduction in collapse resistance
due to bi-axial stress must be determined.

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The API has developed a technique for determining the reduced collapse resistance
of tubulars manufactured according to API specifications. The procedure is beyond
the scope of this manual, but the reader is referred to API Bulletin 5C3, Bulletin on
Formulas and Calculations for Casing, Tubing, Drill Pipe, and Line Pipe
Properties, for guidance on application of the technique to a particular casing design.

7.1.8 Casing Wear Allowance

Casing wear in drilling operations is due primarily to the rotation of drill pipe tool
joints against the casing wall. In highly deviated wells the drill pipe body will begin
to contact the casing wall, but pipe body induced wear is generally negligible
compared to tool joint wear.

The degree of drill string induced casing wear is critically dependent on the type of
hardbanding (also called hardfacing) applied to the tool joints in use on a particular
well. Care must be exercised in the selection of hardbanding materials and in the
process of application to tool joints. In all cases, a smooth weld, flush with the
outside diameter of the tool joint, should be selected. Flush hardbanding will result
in a more uniform load distribution along the length of the tool joint, thereby reducing
the severity of casing wear.

When planning operations to limit the degree of drill string induced casing wear, the
following practices are to followed:

A. Plan directional wells to limit the degree of dogleg severity. In general, the
dogleg severity for conventional directional wells should not be planned to
exceed 3.0 degrees/100 feet.

B. Use tool joints with smooth overlay hardfacing. If possible, "wear in" new
pipe in the openhole section of the well.

C. Minimize the volume of sand and coarse formation solids retained in the
drilling fluid through active use of the solids removal equipment. These
materials aggravate the degree of drill string induced casing wear and should
not be tolerated. In particular, maintain the sand concentration at less than
0.5 percent.
D. The effects of drill string induced casing wear should be accounted for by
using heavier wall casing. Casing design programs are on the market that will
calculate casing wear.

7.1.9 Corrosion Considerations

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All casing designs should include a thorough assessment of the degree of corrosion
protection required to ensure that minimum acceptable casing performance properties
are maintained throughout the useful life of a well. Frequently, as in the case of major
field developments, this will require considerable laboratory testing of casing materials
under simulated well conditions.

Corrosive agents that impact casing design include produced hydrogen sulfide, carbon
dioxide, and connate water, as well as surface injected materials including
hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid and oxygen. The concentration of these
reactants, and the tubular metallurgy selected to cope with production conditions, will
have a direct impact on total project economics and the long term mechanical integrity
of the wellbore.

Factors that effect the degree of corrosion include: concentration of the corrosive
reactants, temperature and pressure, and the velocity and pH of fluids passing over
the material surface. Since corrosion reactions are very complex processes, there are
no universal guidelines for assessing the performance of steels when subjected to a
particular set of well conditions. However, there is a growing body of information
on designing for corrosion resistance, and this material has been summarized in this
section.

Hydrogen Sulfide Induced Corrosion

The selection of tubular steels for use in hydrogen sulfide environments is critical to
maintaining the performance properties of these materials. H2S induced casing
failures are usually catastrophic, resulting in the expenditure of considerable time and
money to reinstate a well to operational status.

The mechanisms and conditions under which hydrogen sulfide leads to mechanical
failure of oil-field tubulars are still not completely understood. Materials that have
proven to be acceptable in one application, often fail under similar conditions in
another area. Although general guidelines exist for the evaluation of H2S resistant
materials, project specific laboratory testing of casing material coupons must be
performed in critical service applications. These tests should closely model the
anticipated well conditions with particular attention given to the partial pressure of
gases, composition of the liquid phase, flow conditions, test coupon geometry, and
material surface finish.

Hydrogen sulfide induced failures normally fall under three broad classifications:
sulfide stress cracking (SSC), stress corrosion cracking (SCC) and hydrogen
embrittlement (HE). Sulfide stress cracking results in failure due to brittle fracturing
of high strength steels. Stress corrosion cracking leads to failure of tubulars due to

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high levels of localized corrosion and stress. Hydrogen embrittlement is normally
associated with failures that occur at stresses below the specified yield strength of a
particular material due to a loss of ductility.

The National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) has issued standards for
the selection of materials resistant to hydrogen sulfide induced failure. The reader is
referred to NACE Standard MR-0175-94, section II on Drilling and Well Service
Equipment, for further guidance.

When using NACE Standard MR-0175-94, the reader should not interpret
qualification to this standard as granting universal acceptance of a particular material
for all H2S environments. Rather, the standard sets very narrow limits of acceptability
and only states that sulfide stress cracking should not occur within the specified
operating limits. Do not read more into MR-0175-94 than is actually there.

In general, when assessing the suitability of steels for H2S environments, the following
guidelines (as per NACE MR-0175-94) are to be adhered to:

A. For sour gas production, if the anticipated partial pressure of H2S exceeds
0.05 psi, tubular goods are to be selected for resistance to H2S.

B. For sour oil and multi-phase systems, H2S resistant materials are to be selected
under the following conditions:

1. The maximum gas/liquid ratio is 5000 scf/bbl or higher.

2. The gas phase contains a maximum H2S concentration of 15% by


volume or greater.

3. The partial pressure of H2S in the gas phase is 10 psi or greater.

4. The surface pressure is 265 psi or greater.

C. Specify materials with a maximum hardness on the Rockwell C scale of 22.


However, it should be noted that certain steel metallurgies may be acceptable
up to HRC = 26. Therefore, don't rule out a particular material on the basis
of Rockwell hardness alone.

It is commonly accepted that the suitability of most grades of steels for H2S service
improves with increasing temperature. The research supports this view with respect
to hydrogen embrittlement (HE) induced failure, where higher in-service temperatures
tend to diffuse absorbed atomic hydrogen out of the steel matrix. However, high

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temperatures enhance the susceptibility of steels to stress corrosion cracking
(SCC). For this reason, the reader should have a complete understanding of the
failure mechanism(s) at work under a given set of well conditions. Contact the Oxy
Corrosion - Materials Specialist for the right material selection.

Chloride Induced Corrosion

The presence of chlorides in produced well fluids tends to accelerate or enhance the
degree of all other corrosion reactions. As a stand alone corrosive agent, chlorides
will promote a high degree of general corrosion, pitting, and crevice corrosion. These
corrosion mechanisms are further accelerated in the presence of oxygen. For this
reason, injected solutions high in chloride ion concentration should be adequately
treated to remove entrained oxygen. This is critically important in water injection and
well stimulation operations. As with most corrosion reactions, the rate of chloride
induced corrosion increases with increasing temperature. In general, the degree of
chloride induced corrosion can be alleviated through control of oxygen content and
by alloying steels with chromium and nickel.

Carbon Dioxide Induced Corrosion

Carbon dioxide, which forms carbonic acid when mixed with water, is a highly
corrosive material in the presence of oil-field tubulars, even at low concentrations.
Carbon dioxide ordinarily produces general weight loss corrosion, although in the
presence of chlorides, severe pitting corrosion and stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
can occur.

CO2 corrosion attack is primarily a function of the partial pressure of the gas in the
produced flow stream. In addition, corrosion rate is particularly sensitive to
temperature, being accelerated at elevated temperatures. Small increases in either
CO2 partial pressure or temperature, can produce an order of magnitude increase in
corrosion rate.
CO2 corrosion attack is particularly severe in thread areas, across material sections
where there has been an abrupt change in metallurgy (e.g. tubing and nipples of
dissimilar metallurgy), and in areas where there is a significant change in the flow
characteristics of the produced fluids (e.g., through couplings, downhole safety
valves, and nipples).

In general, CO2 corrosion attack of oilfield tubulars is treated with the selection of the
right tubing. This could be full body normalized tubing or tubing with increased levels
of Chromium which is known to resist CO2 flow induced corrosion.

Effect of pH on Corrosion

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While pH, in and of itself, is not a direct cause of corrosion, the level of pH (whether
acid or base) will have a direct impact on the rate of corrosion and the type of
corrosion reaction(s) (i.e., pitting, general weight loss, stress corrosion cracking, local
attack, etc.). Low pH leads to an increase in general corrosion rates and increases the
susceptibility to stress corrosion cracking and sulfide stress cracking.

While little can be done to alter the pH of produced fluids, treatments to reduce pH
are generally accomplished through downhole chemical injection systems. However,
the pH of drilling and completion fluids left behind pipe can be adjusted as the fluid
is spotted in place. In general, the pH of fluids left behind pipe for prolonged periods
should be elevated to a minimum value of 10.0.

Sulfate Reducing Bacteria, (SRB's)

All surface waters (i.e. drilling fluids and completion fluids) contain SRB bacteria
which are known to enhance H2S production. To avoid contamination of SRB's and
H2S in the wellbore or reservoir all drilling fluids left behind the casing and all
completion fluids left inside the casing should be treated with a suitable biocide to
eliminate SRB bacteria.

Dissolved Oxygen Corrosion

Oxygen in water increases general and pitting corrosion by a factor of x 8. Therefore


all drilling fluids left behind the casing and all completion fluids left inside the casing
should be treated with an oxygen scavenger to avoid pitting corrosion.

For 1 p.p.m.v. of oxygen, 8 p.p.m. of oxygen scavenger should be used.

7.2 Cement Slurry Design

Planning for cementing operations, and the design and specification of acceptable cement
slurries, must be performed based on project specific well conditions. To adopt standardized
cement slurry formulations is generally a recipe for disaster, since there will always be the one
well that does not fit the standard mold. Furthermore, well by well planning should lead to
technical optimization of cementing programs which will generally result in the most cost
effective slurry formulations. This section is designed to offer general planning guidelines for
realizing technical and economic objectives.

7.2.1 Primary Cementing

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Primary cementing operations offer the greatest opportunity for minimum cost zone
isolation. This can only be accomplished through careful evaluation of all variables
effecting the operation including zones of lost circulation, formation damage
sensitivity, rheological properties of the cement slurry and spacer, hole conditioning,
and wellbore geometry, to mention a few. This section offers specific guidelines for
the design of cementing programs which will increase the probability of realizing
planned objectives.

A. Lead Slurry Design

Lead slurries are generally thought of as scavenger slurries designed as a type


of "pre-flush", and used to condition the formation and casing surfaces prior
to placement of the tail slurry. This is true to a certain extent; however, the
lead slurry performs several other critically important functions, including:

1. Providing mechanical support for the upper section of the casing string
to prevent buckling failure during subsequent drilling and/or
production operations.

2. Isolating potential cross-flow between shallow zones that would


otherwise produce adverse corrosion and potential long term casing
failure.

3. Reducing the degree of potential collapse loading that can be exerted


on the casing during subsequent drilling and/or production operations
by isolating the hydrostatic head of drilling mud above the cement top.
Once the cement sets, hydrostatic pressure due to the drilling fluid
can no longer be transmitted below the cement top.

B. Tail Slurry Design

Tail slurries are designed to provide maximum early and ultimate compressive
strength. The mechanical integrity of the solidified tail cement is generally
critical to successful execution of subsequent operations whether they be
continued drilling or completion for production. The primary functions and
characteristics of the tail cement are as follows:

1. To provide mechanical and hydraulic isolation between permeable


intervals through formation of a solid, low permeability cement sheath
between the wellbore and casing.

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2. To provide adequate mechanical support of the formation and casing
to permit subsequent drill-out or production operations. This is
particularly important with respect to mechanically weak producing
formations that would otherwise slough into the wellbore.

3. To retain adequate mechanical strength following perforating


operations to maintain support of the casing and provide for continued
zone isolation.

C. Cement Slurry Design Guidelines

Whether designing lead or tail slurries, several properties and design


considerations must be reviewed to ensure job success. The following list
provides general guidance for the design and planning of successful cementing
operations. When reporting cement slurry test results, the reporting format
given in Table 7.1 is to be followed.

1. Thickening time tests are to be performed at the maximum anticipated


bottom-hole circulating temperature for the casing size under
consideration. If field measurement of bottom-hole circulating
temperature is not possible, then this figure is to be estimated using
the API circulating temperature tables given in API Specification 10.
It should be noted that these tables are only an approximation based
on compilation of a considerable amount of field data. Therefore, it
may be appropriate in critical situations to consult with offset
operators or the cementing contractor to determine if more accurate
downhole temperature data is available.

For all thickening time tests, the elapsed time to 80 and 100 Bearden
units of consistency (Bc) is to be measured in hours and minutes, with
the 100 Bc figure taken as the measured thickening time. The
difference between the 100 Bc and 80 Bc times is to be used as an
indication of the time period during which the cement slurry changes
from a pumpable to an unpumpable condition. Both the 80 Bc and
100 Bc measurements are to be reported on all thickening time tests.

2. Thickening time is to be specified to allow for mixing and placement


of slurries, plus an allowance for possible equipment failure and
downtime. In general, slurry mix rates of 6-8 bbl/min should be
allowed for in design calculations. If the cement density is +/- 14 ppg
or higher, then use 6 bbl/min. For lighter weight slurries in the +/-12.0
ppg range, use 8.0 bbl/min. These rates are based on maximum

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pumping rates that can be reasonably achieved in the field with a
conventional re-circulating mixer, while still maintaining uniform
slurry density. On this basis, thickening time requirements are to be
calculated as the sum of the following:

Thickening Time = Total lead slurry mixing time +


(lead slurry) Total tail slurry mixing time +
Time to launch top plug +
Spacer pumping time +
Displacement time +
Equipment breakdown time

As a rule of thumb, 15-30 minutes should be allowed to launch the top


cementing plug, and one hour should be allowed for equipment
breakdowns. The other time elements will have to be calculated based
on the fluid volumes to be pumped and the planned pumping rates.

Tail slurry thickening time can be calculated using the equation above,
but with the lead slurry mixing time set equal to zero.

3. Fill-up height is to be based on the size of casing to be cemented,


casing stability requirements and collapse loading considerations. If
cement is overlapped into the previous casing shoe, then it must be
ensured that the collapse resistance of the casing being cemented is
not exceeded as the mud in the annulus above the cement top is heated
during subsequent drilling and/or production operations.
For 30" and 20" casing as applicable on offshore wells, fill-up is to be
specified to the mud-line. The fill-up height for all other casing strings
is to be determined on the basis of well specific requirements.

4. Displacement rates are to be specified based on the maximum pumping


rate that can be obtained without exerting sufficient annulus pressure
(due to circulating pressure losses) to break-down the formation and
lose returns. Computer modeling of allowable pump rates is to be
performed as part of the planning process to enable accurate
specification of cement rheological properties to meet this
requirement.

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5. Cement additive concentrations are to be determined to ensure
adequate pumping time and optimum rheological properties.
Rheological properties of the cement are to be specified to ensure that
the cement is in turbulent flow during placement in the casing annulus
at the rates established in (4) above.

6. For slurries that will contact producing formations, slurry design must
include the addition of fluid loss additive to limit the degree of filtrate
invasion into productive intervals. For the applications described
below, API fluid loss determined at 1000 psi differential pressure
should be as follows:

a. To prevent gas channeling, specify 20 ml/30 minutes, or less.

b. For liners, specify 50 ml/30 minutes, or less.

c. For primary cementing of casing through productive intervals,


specify 250 ml/30 minutes, or less.

d. For primary cementing of casing through non-productive


intervals, specify 250-500 ml/30 minutes.

Each fluid loss test should be performed at the anticipated bottom-


hole circulating temperature, with the exception of the slurry designed
to prevent gas channeling, which should be tested at the anticipated
bottom-hole static temperature.

7. The API free water content of all slurry designs shall be 1% or less,
except in the case of slurries designed to prevent gas channeling, in
which case the allowable free water shall be zero percent. This applies
to vertical as well as inclined free water tests.

8. The cement slurry density should be specified to be as high as possible


throughout the cemented interval without causing formation
breakdown during placement. In general, the cement density should
be a minimum of 1.0 ppg heavier than the drilling fluid density in the
hole at the time of cementing.

9. For tail cements, the slurry is to be designed to develop high early and
ultimate compressive strength. If the casing shoe is to be drilled out

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and the well deepened, then cementing additives are to be adjusted to
produce a minimum of 500 psi compressive strength prior to pressure
testing or drill out operations. In addition, 2000 psi of compressive
strength must be reached prior to perforating any well for production.

Lead cements are to be designed to develop a minimum early


compressive strength of 500 psi within 24 hours of placement,
provided the lead slurry is not required to support casing loads. If
tension is to be applied to the casing as part of a casing landing
procedure (e.g., surface installations), then it must be ensured
that the cement has developed a minimum compressive strength
of 500 psi prior to tensioning the casing.

For liner cementing, compressive strength development must be


determined not only at bottom-hole conditions, but also at the thermal
conditions present at the liner lap. It must be ensured that the cement
in the liner lap develops at least 500 psi compressive strength prior to
conducting any pressure testing to evaluate hydraulic integrity. With
long liners, it may be necessary to adjust cementing additives to
produce sufficient compressive strength at the liner lap.

10. Lead slurries are to be designed to allow for a minimum contact time
of 10 minutes across zones of critical cement bonding performance.
This will require determination of a minimum slurry volume
requirement for the planned pump rate and wellbore geometry.

11. For wells with anticipated bottom-hole static temperatures of 230


degrees F or above, the cement slurry is to be designed to prevent
cement strength retrogression. This is to be accomplished through the
addition of 35% by weight of silica sand or silica flour. Silica flour
ground to 325 mesh is to be used for slurry densities up to 16.0 ppg.
For higher density slurries, silica sand ground to 200 mesh is to be
used. In all cases, compressive strength performance at static bottom-
hole conditions over a minimum period of 14 days is to be determined.

12. At temperatures above 250 degrees F, do not specify the use of


bentonites, diatomaceous earth or expanded perlite at concentrations
in excess of 5% - 15% without adding +/- 20% silica flour.

13. For cements to be used across massive salt sections, slurry


formulations incorporating 20% - 31% salt, are to be used.

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D. Cement Spacer Design

Planning for the success of any primary cementing operation is not complete
without thoroughly addressing the design of the cementing spacer. These
formulations serve several important functions, including:

1. Separation of incompatible fluids - in this case the drilling mud and


cement.

2. Displacement of the drilling fluid ahead of the lead cement slurry. As


part of this process, built-up filter cake must be removed from the
formation face.

3. Water wetting of the formation and casing through the action of water
wetting surfactants. This function is particularly important in the case
of oil base drilling fluid displacement.

E. Spacer formulations to achieve these requirements can be obtained from each


of the major cementing contractors and also the mud companies. However,
there are significant differences in the performance characteristics of spacers,
and it is the responsibility of the cementing program designer to ensure that
the most technically effective spacer is selected for a particular application.

Frequently, it is more cost effective in terms of total well cost to purchase a


more expensive cementing spacer from a firm other than the cementing
contractor, rather than spend considerable time and money on remedial
cementing operations to repair a poor primary cement job attributed to poor
spacer selection. To ensure that the cement spacer will perform as required,
the following guidelines are to be closely adhered to:

1. All spacers should be designed to be in turbulent flow at the planned


displacement rate for a particular cement job. In this respect, spacers
that achieve turbulent flow at low pump rates are preferred.

2. The spacer should be weighted to a density at least 0.5 -1.0 ppg


heavier than the mud density being displaced. However, the spacer
density should not exceed the density of the cement slurry. If the
cement and mud densities are very close, then the spacer density
should be taken to be the average of the two.

3. The spacer should be formulated to water wet the formation face and
casing surface. This should not be a problem with water base drilling

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muds and spacers; however, spacers used in the presence of oil base
muds will require the addition of sufficient water wetting surfactants
to ensure a water wetting characteristic.

4. The spacer should be completely compatible with the drilling mud and
lead and tail cement slurries. A compatibility test is to be performed
at room temperature and also at the anticipated bottom-hole
circulating temperature.

5. The spacer should have good solids suspension characteristics. This


will ensure the capacity to suspend weighting material. The solids
carrying capacity of the spacer must also be tested.

6. The spacer should be designed to produce a minimum of 10 minutes


surface contact time through intervals of critical cement bonding.
This requirement is critically important and must not be under-
designed.

7. In addition to the requirement of (6) above, the spacer volume should


be sufficient to yield a minimum fluid height of 500 feet in the
casing annulus.

8. All spacers should be batch mixed in the field using a dedicated mud
pit. The pit selected for preparing the spacer must have adequate
agitation to avoid inadvertent settlement of weighting material.
Usually a pit with a combination of paddle and jet mixers will be
acceptable.
F. Other Design Parameters Effecting Primary Cementing Success

In addition to the subject areas discussed above, numerous other factors


impact the success of the primary cementing operation. These design
considerations are no less important to the success of the cement job than
those discussed previously.

1. Through intervals of critical cementing performance (e.g., zone


isolation, casing support, production intervals), the well should be
drilled as straight as possible; i.e., the dog-leg severity should be as
near to zero degrees/100 ft as possible. This will enable maximum
casing stand-off and minimize the number of centralizers required
through these intervals.

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2. Casing stand-off through critical sections should be a minimum of
70%. This is generally accomplished through the use of positive
stand-off centralizers. If it is necessary to use spring bow type
centralizers, then centralizer placement to achieve this stand-off can
be determined using computer modeling or the techniques outlined in
API Specification 10D, Specification for Casing Centralizers.

Note: To enhance casing stand-off through production zones,


positive stand-off centralizers are to be used. Refer to General
Drilling Program for spacing requirements.

3. Based on the anticipated drilling fluid rheology while running casing,


maximum casing running speeds are to be specified that will
avoid formation break-down and/or loss of whole mud to weak
zones.

4. For large diameter casing strings, it will be necessary to determine if


the force exerted on the bottom of the casing due to hydrostatic
pressure and annular pressure losses will be sufficiently large to cause
the casing to be pumped out of the hole during cementing operations.
If it is possible for the casing to be pumped off bottom, then cement
slurry density and/or displacement rates will have to be adjusted to
ensure the casing remains on bottom.

5. Casing float equipment is to be specified to ensure the success of


primary cementing operations. In general, the following float
equipment specifications are to be followed:
a. For 30" and 20" diameter casing, use a positive acting, single
valve float shoe assembly. The use of a float collar will not be
required unless dictated by well specific conditions. Inner
string cementing may be used on non-floating rigs as
appropriate.

b. For 13-3/8" casing, use a positive acting, single valve float


shoe and a positive acting, single valve float collar spaced two
pipe lengths apart.

c. For 9-5/8" casing, use a single valve, positive acting float shoe
and a single valve positive acting float collar positioned at
least two pipe lengths apart.

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d. For 7" and 5" liners, use a double valve, positive acting float
shoe and a conventional liner wiper plug landing collar
complete with a profile to accept a latchdown wiper plug.
Float shoe and landing collar are to be positioned at least two
pipe lengths apart.

6. Cement wiper plugs are to be used with casing sizes 13-3/8" and
smaller according to the following schedule:

a. 13-3/8" and 9-5/8" casing:

If using subsea cementing system, only run a top plug. If


cementing conventionally with full bore landing string to
surface, use a top and bottom non-rotating plug system.

b. 7" and 5" liners:

Run a single liner wiper plug complete with latch down facility
for landing/latching in landing collar.

For casing sizes requiring the use of two cementing plugs, the bottom
plug is to be launched following the spacer and/or pre-flush. The top
plug is to be launched behind the tail slurry with allowance for +/- 2.0
bbls of cement on top of the plug.

In certain critical well applications it may be necessary to use both a


top and bottom cementing plug for the 13-3/8" casing. This will have
to be decided on a well by well basis. In addition, under certain
circumstances it may be advisable to use more than one bottom plug
to ensure segregation of spacers and/or flushes. Again, this
requirement is to be reviewed based on well specific requirements.

7.2.2 Squeeze Cementing

Squeeze cementing operations are typically performed as part of a remedial operation


(e.g., repair of a poor primary cement job, repair of a poor casing seat, or isolation
of water channeling). As with primary cementing, the success of squeeze cementing
operations (on the first attempt) requires considerable job planning. Detailed below
are job planning considerations that must be adequately addressed before project
implementation in the field.

A. Squeeze cement slurries should be weighted to +/- 16.0 ppg and treated with
appropriate additives to ensure adequate thickening time at the anticipated

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circulating bottom-hole temperature. Refer to the thickening time calculation
guidelines in Part 7.2.1.

B. The API fluid loss for squeeze slurries should be specified to be in the range
of 50-200 ml/30 minutes at 1000 psi differential pressure. For slurries that
will be used as part of a circulation squeeze technique, the API fluid loss
should be reduced to +/- 50 ml/30 min., while conventional squeezes are to
be performed with a fluid loss at the higher end of the range specified above.

C. The free water content for all squeeze cementing slurries is to be zero percent.

D. All squeeze cementing formulations should be prepared in a batch mixing tank


to ensure uniform rheological properties prior to pumping downhole. Surface
density should be checked using a pressurized mud balance. Once the cement
has been completely blended, a sample of cement is to be tested to determine
if the API fluid loss is within acceptable limits. Double the volume of filtrate
obtained at 7.5 minutes duration and use this figure as an estimate of the
filtrate volume that will be produced after 30 minutes. Pump the cement
downhole based on the 7.5 minute test result.

E. Maximum surface squeeze pressures should be carefully calculated taking into


account the current formation fracture pressure, which may be less than
original conditions in permeable zones if reservoir pressure has been drawn
down. In addition, the applied squeeze pressure should take account of the
hydrostatic pressure exerted by the cement slurry and drilling/completion
fluid. Job success will generally be improved if the final squeeze pressure is
limited to less than formation fracture pressure less an allowance for a safety
factor of +/- 250 psi.

F. Dehydration of the cement slurry on the formation face may require


re-application of the final squeeze pressure before the pressure bleed-off rate
is reduced to zero. In general, the final squeeze pressure should be stable for
a period of 30 minutes before the squeeze is termed "successful" and squeeze
pressure is released.

G. The use of downhole squeeze tools is to be specified on a well by well basis.


In certain instances it will be more technically and economically desirable to
use a drillable cement retainer, whereas in other situations a retrievable packer
would be indicated. The specification of these tools will be at the discretion
of the job designer based on well conditions and desired results.

H. As with primary cementing slurries, the cement is to be separated from the


drilling/completion fluid by an acceptable spacer or wash fluid. In the

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case of squeeze cementing in oil base fluids, the spacer must produce water
wetting of the formation and casing ahead of the squeeze slurry.

I. Prior to drilling out cement to pressure test the squeezed interval, the cement
is to have a minimum compressure strength of 500 psi.

7.2.3 Kick-off and Abandonment Cement Plugs

As with all cementing operations, thorough planning and close adherence to good
operating practices are necessary to ensure job success on the first attempt. The
common belief that multiple cement plugs will probably have to be spotted before one
"takes", simply is not true. In most cases, failure to obtain an acceptable cement plug
on the first attempt can be traced to incorrect slurry formulation or poor placement
practices. This section is intended to provide the program designer and field
supervisor with sufficient technical guidance to obtain a successful plug on the first
attempt. The guidelines outlined below should be closely reviewed prior to
implementing these operations.

A. Kick-Off Plug Design and Placement

1. In general, the density of kick-off plugs is to be +/- 17.0 ppg or higher


if required to be more dense than the well fluid.

2. Prior to setting open hole cement plugs, a 200' viscous pill (funnel
viscosity of 100 + sec/qt) is to be spotted in the open hole below plug
setting depth. If the cement plug is to be spotted inside casing as well
as open hole (e.g., kicking off below 13-3/8" shoe after cutting and
pulling 9-5/8" casing), a bridge plug is to be installed inside the 9-5/8"
casing prior to cutting the casing for recovery. The cement plug is to
then be spotted on top of the bridge plug.

3. Prior to setting open hole cement plugs in old wells (i.e., previously
cased off interval), the open hole section is to be underreamed through
the interval that is to be cemented.

4. Plug slurries are to be formulated to allow for adequate thickening


time at the anticipated bottom-hole circulating temperature at the
bottom of the plug. The thickening time must allow time to spot the
plug and pull clear, with allowance for a safety factor of
approximately one hour.

The following formula can be used as a guide for determining an


acceptable thickening time:

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Thickening time = time to mix cement slurry +


time to launch wiper plug +
time to pump spacer/wash behind +
time to displace plug +
time to break-off cementing head +
time to pull pipe clear of plug +
safety factor

In general, a safety factor of one hour should be more than adequate.

Do not over-retard the slurry to extend thickening time. Over-retarded


slurries will only increase the amount of time required to generate
early and ultimate compressive strength, and may result in premature
drill-out of a good plug.

For all thickening time tests, the elapsed time to 80 and 100 Bearden
units of consistency (Bc) is to be measured in hours and minutes, with
the 100 Bc figure taken as the measured thickening time. The
difference between the 100 Bc and 80 Bc times is to be used as an
indication of the time period during which the cement slurry changes
from a pumpable to an unpumpable condition. Both the 80 Bc and 100
Bc measurements are to be reported on all thickening time tests.
5. Slurries must be formulated to develop high early and ultimate
compressive strength. For applications below a static bottom-hole
temperature of 230 degrees F, neat slurries (without sand, lost
circulation materials, etc.) should be used. Above 230 degrees F, the
slurry formulation must include 35% by weight of silica flour or silica
sand. Silica flour ground to 325 mesh is to be used for slurry densities
up to 16.0 ppg. For higher density slurries, silica sand ground to 200
mesh is to be used.

6. API fluid loss should be controlled to be in the range of 200 - 250


ml/30 minutes at 1000 psi differential pressure. For slurries that must
be set across highly permeable intervals, the fluid loss is to be reduced
to less than 50 ml/30 minutes. This is to prevent dehydration of the
cement, which could result in annular bridging and sticking of the
work string. In all cases the free water (both vertical and inclined) is
to be less than 1.0 percent.

7. The cement slurry should be designed to be in turbulent flow at the


planned displacement rate. In addition, the slurry should be
viscous, and gel rapidly once pumping has stopped.

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8. Sufficient cement volume is to be pumped to produce a plug height of


300 - 500 feet once the work string is removed. For kick-off plugs set
in hard formations, the plug length requirement will be greater than for
plugs set in softer formations. This is due to the amount of cement
plug that will have to be drilled to establish the kick-off.

9. The plug is to be spotted in a section of gauge hole with minimum


washouts. If necessary, a caliper log is to be run to ensure an
acceptable plug setting interval. If plug spotting in a washed out
section cannot be avoided, then allowance should be made for excess
cement volume.

10. The cement slurry is to be separated from the drilling fluid by a spacer
that is compatible with the mud and cement. When using low density
(9.5 - 10.5 ppg) drilling muds, a water base wash is recommended.
For higher density muds, a conventional weighted spacer is to be used.
Spacer density is to be specified to be a minimum of 0.5 - 1.0 ppg
heavier than the drilling fluid density. If spotting the plug in oil base
mud, the spacer must contain a water wetting surfactant to water wet
the formation face ahead of the cement slurry.

11. To ensure best results, particularly in oil base drilling fluids, the
spacer should be sized to produce 500' - 800' of height in the
annulus ahead of the cement slurry. When using wash spacers, it
must be ensured that the annular height of the wash does not reduce
the hydrostatic pressure in the well sufficiently to cause the well to
flow.

12. All plugs are to be spotted in a hydrostatically balanced condition. This


means that the height of spacer and cement on the outside of the work
string must be equivalent to the height of spacer and cement inside the
work string. This will require accurate calculation of the spacer and
slurry volumes as well as the volume of mud pumped to spot the plug
in position.

13. The drill string should be rotated at 20-30 rpm throughout the
cementing operation. This should also be performed as the mud is
circulated and conditioned prior to mixing and pumping the cement
slurry. In addition, once +/- 5 bbls of cement has rounded the end of
the work string, pick-up 2'-3' to avoid cement contamination from
mud in the rathole.

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B. Abandonment Plugs

Abandonment plugs are to be formulated and spotted largely in accordance


with the guidelines given above for kick-off plugs. However, there are a few
exceptions, and these are given below.

1. For cement plugs that are not to be drilled out, a minimum plug
length of 250' should be used. This holds true for open hole as well
as cased hole plugs.

2. For cement plugs set inside casing, the need for fluid loss control can
be eliminated. However, free water content must still be maintained
at less than 1%.

7.3 Casing Installation and Cementing

The material contained in this section is intended to provide general operating guidelines and
practices for casing installation and cementing. Under certain operating conditions it may be
necessary to supplement these guidelines. In all cases, the casing and cementing section of
the Drilling Program is to be consulted for well specific requirements.

7.3.1 Hole Conditioning

Prior to running a particular string of casing, the following operations are to be


performed:

A. Once casing setting depth has been reached, the hole is to be circulated clean
of formation cuttings. Any mud conditioning for cementing should be
performed as the hole is being drilled to casing point.

B. Prior to logging operations or installation of casing, the bit is to be short


tripped to the previous casing shoe and then run back to bottom to be certain
the well will remain open. If necessary for hole stability, the drilling fluid
density is to be increased. Additional short trips are to be performed until the
wellbore is confirmed to be stable.

C. Following completion of open-hole logging, the drilling assembly is to be run


back to bottom and the drilling fluid circulated and conditioned for cementing;
although this requirement can be relaxed in the case of short logging runs (+/-
12 hours) provided hole condition during logging has been acceptable.

7.3.2 Pre-Job Checks

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Planning for a safe and successful casing operation is just as important as actually
performing the work. Thorough planning will usually lead to identification of some
equipment or material deficiency which would have seriously impacted job
performance. It is the responsibility of the drilling supervisor to ensure that all pre-job
checks have been performed.

Prior to installation of the casing, the following pre-job inspections and operations are
to be preformed.

A. Complete the Casing and Cementing Check List contained in Part 7.4 at the
end of this section.

B. The drill string (i.e., drill pipe and bottom-hole assembly) is to be strapped
with a steel derrick tape on the last trip out of the hole prior to logging. If any
discrepancies occur, then strap out again on the conditioning trip following
logging. Pipe measurements are to be taken from the tool joint seal face at
the top of each stand, to the seal face on the pin end at the bottom of each
stand. The pipe is not to be measured using average stand lengths, previously
measured BHA component lengths, finger board height plus pipe stick-up, or
any other measurement technique.
C. All tubulars are to be visually inspected for thread and/or body damage, drifted
(Refer to General Topics for API drift specifications), and tallied prior to
being installed in a well. ALL PIPE TALLIES SHOULD BE CHECKED
BY AT LEAST TWO RESPONSIBLE PERSONS. Any discrepancies in
the joint count, when compared to the cargo manifest, are to be reported.

Thread protectors are to be removed, and the threads cleaned of thread


compound and grease using varsol, or other suitable solvent. The threads are
then to be cleaned with a high pressure jet washing system, followed by high
pressure air to remove residual water.

Once the threads are thoroughly clean, a suitable thread compound is to be


applied to both the box and pin ends. If it is necessary to re-install any thread
protectors prior to running the pipe, the thread protectors are to be
thoroughly cleaned before use. Any pipe not passing wellsite inspection is to
be set to one side and appropriately labeled. Refer to Section V, Part 2.7 for
labeling requirements of damaged pipe.

D. For casing strings requiring the use of mandrel type casing hangers and
associated running tools, the casing hanger and running tool assembly is to be
made-up and racked back in the derrick prior to running the casing. During
this operation the hanger and running tool are to be inspected for damage and
then function tested.

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E. The cementing head and cementing plugs are to be carefully inspected to


ensure compatibility with the casing string to be run. Be certain the plugs are
designed to pass through the heaviest weight of casing being run.

F. The positioning of cementing aids, including float equipment and centralizers,


is to be determined prior to running the casing. Centralizers to be held in
position using stop collars, and positive stand-off centralizers, are to be
installed on the pipe deck prior to running casing.

G. The float shoe and float collar joints are to be visually inspected by the Drilling
Supervisor or Drilling Engineer to ensure that the float shoe and float collar
have been installed using thread locking compound. In addition, it must be
ensured that all thread locked couplings have both end of the coupling thread
locked even if it is necessary to remove the coupling with the casing joint set
on slips in the rotary table. If a casing coupling is removed in the rotary,
be certain to install a safety clamp on the casing before attempting to
back-off the coupling.
H. A schedule of anticipated hook load as a function of casing footage run should
be prepared and posted on the drill floor. If drill pipe is to be used as a
landing string, it must be ensured that the anticipated drill pipe loading does
not exceed 80 percent of the drill pipe tensile rating. Anticipated drill pipe
loading is to be calculated as follows:

Drill pipe loading = Buoyed weight of casing @ setting depth


(Maximum)
+ Pick-up drag force

+ 100,000 lbf over-pull allowance

I. The casing handling tools are to be carefully inspected for signs of wear. Slip
insert dies should be new and tightly retained within the slip wedges. For
heavy duty spider assemblies, be certain the split bushing retaining pin can be
easily removed to enable spider assembly installation when required. Remove
any hardware that must be removed to install the spider around the casing.
Check functioning and fit of single joint pick-up elevators on a joint of casing.
Be certain the elevator latch is fitted with a safety pin.

J. All lifting appliances required during casing installation are to be furnished


with valid load certificates. Load certificates are to be inspected by the
drilling supervisor to be certain they are current. Items which require a load
certificate include:

1. All elevators, slips and spider assemblies

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2. Single joint pick-up elevators and handling slings

3. All casing handling slings

4. Wire rope slings used as snubbing lines

5. Load cells used in conjunction with power tongs

K. The operational status of the cementing unit is to be checked well in advance


of the job start time. This is to be done even if the unit was serviced following
the previous cement job. Pressure test all lines and valves on the unit, as well
as the cementing line to the drill floor, including any high pressure flexible
cementing hoses. Consideration should be given to mixing a trial batch of
cement to test the mixing system if capabilities are in doubt.

L. Check to be certain the drill floor has been made ready for running the casing.
The following equipment and materials should be available at the start of the
job.

1. Mud fill-up line. This should be a permanent fixture, complete with


a swiveled arm and down-spout to enable casing fill-up between
joints. The line should be equipped with a valve positioned near the
end of the swiveled arm to permit operation by the casing crew.

2. Elevated work platform. The platform should be constructed to


enable the casing crew to work at a comfortable elevation above the
heavy duty spider assembly.

3. Casing dope and brushes. Use only API modified casing dope and a
new dope brush.

4. Five gallon bucket of barite and a wire brush. To be used to clean and
dry threads prior to applying thread locking compound.

5. Length of 1" - 1½" diameter rope (depending on pipe size) to restrain


casing as it enters the V-door.

6. Restraining line to hold power tong out of the way when not in use.

7. Fully operational stabbing board equipped with safety harness and


emergency braking system.

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7.3.3 Casing Installation

Casing installation operations are to be closely supervised by the drilling supervisor,


particularly during initial rig up, and while running casing equipped with cementing
aids (float equipment, centralizers, etc.).

The operating procedures and practices outline below are to be closely followed while
installing casing.

A. If the casing is being run on a floating rig, be certain the rotary table is
positioned over the wellhead prior to running casing. In addition, once
the casing hanger has been picked up and is in a position above the BOP
stack, space out the landing string such that the casing hanger can be run
through the BOP stack and landed in the wellhead in one motion. Do not
allow the casing hanger to be suspended in the BOP stack under any
circumstances.
B. Rotary slips and side door collar type elevators may be used at the beginning
of each casing job. 30" casing is usually run using pad-eyes. These tools may
be used for string weights up to 60% of the load rating of the side door collar
type elevators. Once this limit has been reached, use a slip type elevator and
spider.

C. A safety clamp is to be installed on the casing while making connections until


sufficient casing weight is available to ensure the slips are biting and the casing
will not fall. This should occur when +/- 20,000 lbf of casing weight has been
run.

D. Apply thread locking compound to bottom casing joints as specified in the


Drilling Program. If the bottom joints of casing have not been furnished with
one end of coupling already thread locked, remove casing couplings as
required to apply thread locking compound. Be certain to install safety clamp
to pipe body prior to removing coupling.

E. The power tongs are to be installed in a position that will allow easy
movement from make-up to set-back position. In addition, the snub line is to
be secured such that the angle between the snub line and the tong arm is at 90
degrees and level when the tong is in the make-up position. This will ensure
correct make-up torque readings for torque gauges equipped with load cells
attached to the snub line.

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F. Pipe running speeds are to be controlled to avoid breaking down the casing
shoe or other weak formation. If a maximum safe running speed is not
specified in the Drilling Program, limit pipe running speed to 20 seconds per
joint. Monitor mud returns from the well to ensure that the correct volume
of fluid is being returned for the volume of casing that has been run.

G. The casing is to be filled with mud at regular intervals to avoid excessive


collapse loading. If the mud fill-up line is positioned correctly, mud can be
added between connections without loss of rig time. For casing strings
equipped with auto-fill float equipment, the float valves are to be tripped at
the casing shoe prior to running out into open-hole.

H. Once the casing has been landed, circulate and condition mud, pumping the
greater of either casing capacity or annular capacity. Pump at the maximum
rate planned for during the cementing operation. Monitor well for whole mud
losses.

I. While running casing, any spacer fluids that will be required during the
cementing operation are to be prepared in an isolated mud pit. If weighting
material is required in the formulation, this material should be added close to
the time when the spacer is required in order to avoid material settling in the
mixing pit.

7.3.4 Casing Cementing

Primary cementing operations can be performed in a routine manner if adequate


planning and equipment checks have been performed. Since primary cementing offers
the greatest opportunity for obtaining overall job success, the following guidelines are
to be followed closely.

A. Check that the liquid additive system is functioning properly and that the
additive fluid levels indicated on the metering tanks are correct for the planned
slurry formulation.

B. Check the functioning of the bulk cement transfer system. Be certain all
shipping lines are clear. To avoid bridging, "Fluff" the cement prior to
initiating bulk cement transfer through the shipping lines. Be prepared to
switch shipping lines in the event the primary shipping line plugs-off.

C. Be certain to avoid over filling the bulk cement tanks in order to prevent
subsequent difficulties that may be experienced "fluffing" the cement.

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D. Have sufficient sample containers on hand to catch at least two dry cement
samples and two blended cement samples from the lead and tail cement.

While mixing and pumping cement, slurry density checks are to be


performed at least once every five minutes. The slurry density should be
measured with a pressurized mud balance using a sample recovered from the
bottom of the mixing tub. Atmospheric mud balances are too inaccurate for
cementing operations and should not be used.

E. It is imperative that the drilling supervisor monitors the volume of cement


slurry mixed and pumped. This is to be done by maintaining a record of mix
water consumption at the cementing unit. In addition, a job record should be
maintained including the following data: time, slurry density, pump rate, pump
pressure, mud return rate and current operation.

F. For most 30" and 20" casing and all liner cementing, displacement of the
cement slurry is to be performed using the cementing unit. Accurate
placement of these slurries requires that displacement volumes be measured
using the cementing unit displacement tanks. For all other casing strings, the
top cementing plug is to be displaced to the float collar using the rig's mud
pumps. On conventional surface drop cement wiper plugs, if the plug
dropping indicator showed the plug left the plug dropping head, continue
pumping until the plug bumps. On liner and stage cementing plugs, do not
pump more than the calculated displacement. On liner and stage cementing
jobs, it is much easier to drill up a small volume of cement left inside the
casing, than to repair a poorly cemented casing shoe due to over-displacement
of cement.

Calculation of the total mud pump strokes to displace the top plug to the
float collar should be based on the contractor's record of pump
displacement efficiencies measured during previous cement jobs. It must
be remembered that displacement efficiency will be a function of liner size,
pump rate, and pumping pressure. If the displacement efficiency is not
known, assume an efficiency of 97% as a first approximation. If the plug does
not bump at the calculated number of strokes, on liner and stage cementing
jobs do not over-displace the cement. The actual displacement efficiency can
be checked when the drill out assembly is run and tags the top plug.

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G. For cementing programs requiring the use of a two plug system, the bottom
plug is to be released once the lead spacer has been pumped. The bottom
plug is to be followed by the lead and tail cement slurries. Prior to
displacement of the tail slurry from the cementing lines to the rig floor, the top
plug is to be released. The volume of cement remaining inside the cementing
lines is then to be displaced on top of the top cementing plug. The cement left
above the top cementing plug may aid in drilling the top plugs.

H. If mud returns are being taken to surface while cementing, a constant record
of mud return volume is to be maintained by the mud loggers and checked
against the theoretical volume of mud returns. Remember, when the casing
is on a vacuum, the volume of mud returned to the surface will exceed the
theoretical volume of mud returns (based on the actual volume of cement and
mud pumped at surface). When the cement U-tube balances, the mud return
rate may go to zero as the displacement fluid catches up with the cement. This
phenomenon may produce a complete loss of mud returns; however, it should
not be confused with whole mud losses to the formation.
7.3.5 Casing Pressure Testing

Casing pressure testing procedures and test pressures will be specified in the Drilling
Program for a specific well. However, it is the responsibility of the Drilling
Supervisor to check the figures at the wellsite to ensure that the casing is not burst or
collapsed through negligence.

Casing and liner pressure testing is to be performed as outlined below. Do not


pressure test the casing when the top plug bumps during cementing operations.

A. All casing strings are to be pressure tested in conjunction with pressure testing
of the BOP stack blind/shear rams. This is to be performed as the last
pressure test during the BOP test sequence (except as noted in (B) below).
Casing test pressures are not to exceed 80% of the internal yield pressure
of the casing or 80% of the casing connector pressure rating, whichever
is lower. If the Drilling Program calls for use of a higher test pressure,
consult with Drilling Superintendent, Engineer, or Manager to confirm test
pressures.

B. If it is required to run a cement evaluation log (CBL or CET), then pressure


testing of the casing and blind/shear rams is to be performed following
completion of the logging run.

C. The casing pressure test is to be staged up in 500 psi increments, with each
successive pressure increment held for a brief period to ensure no leaks. The

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final holding period at test pressure is to be for a period not less than 15
minutes.

D. Under no circumstances should the casing test pressure exceed the working
pressure rating of the ram preventers or the pressure rating of the wellhead
spool section exposed to the test pressure, whichever is less.

E. With surface wellhead systems, the annulus outlet for the casing string being
tested should be opened and monitored for fluid leaking past the casing
hanger pack-off element. If this is not possible, install a pressure gauge on the
casing annulus outlet and monitor for a pressure increase during the casing
pressure test.

F. All casing test pressures are to be applied and removed slowly to avoid
adverse dynamic loading.

G. All pressure tests must take account of the annulus fluid density relative to the
fluid density inside the casing. The annulus fluid density should be assumed
to be equivalent to drilling fluid down to the cement top, then sea water when
offshore or formation water when on land from the cement top to the previous
casing shoe.

H. A chart recording pressure gauge must be used on all casing pressure tests.
This gauge can be supplemented by a more accurate, conventional bourdon
tube pressure gauge, if required for operational reasons.

I. For all casing pressure tests, a record of applied pressure versus barrels of
mud pumped is to be maintained. This information is particularly useful
during subsequent formation pressure testing. Figure 7.3 can be used to
determine the approximate volume of mud to be pumped to achieve a
particular test pressure. Alternatively, the equations below can be used.

For water base drilling fluids, use the following equation to estimate the
volume of fluid that must be pumped to achieve test pressure.

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Figure 7.3: Volume of Fluid Required To Pressure Up Casing and Open Hole

V
m

V
c

(2.8 x 10-6 Fw + 0.2 x 10-6 Fs)

Where: Vm = volume of mud pumped, bbl


P = applied pressure, psi
Vc = volume of mud in casing, bbl
Fw = volume fraction of water, dimensionless

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Fs = volume fraction of solids, dimensionless

Similarly, for oil base drilling fluids, the following equation can be used to
estimate the volume of fluid that must be pumped to achieve test pressure.

Vm = P x Vc x (2.8 x 10-6 + 5.0 x 10-6 Fo + 0.2 x 10-6 Fs)

Where: Vm = volume of mud pumped, bbl


P = applied pressure, psi
Vc = volume of mud in casing, bbl
Fw = volume fraction of water, dimensionless
Fo = volume fraction of oil, dimensionless
Fs = volume fraction of solids, dimensionless

7.4 Casing and Cementing Checklist

The checklist given below is to be completed prior to and during all casing and cementing
operations.

7.4.1 Pre-Job Checks

A. Review Section V, Part 7.3 of Drilling Operations Manual.

B. Review Casing and Cementing section of Drilling Program.

C. Immediately after taking any casing at the rig site, count the number of joints
and compare with the number that should have been shipped based on the
cargo manifest. Any discrepancies are to be recorded and reported to supply
base.

D. Lay out casing on pipe rack in the correct order for running, taking account
of different weights and grades and the required running order. When
stacking pipe, be certain successive layers are supported by 2" x 4" wooden
sills spaced + 10' apart. Be certain sills remain aligned on successive layers
to avoid pipe bending.

E. Position casing pup joints in casing string as specified in Drilling Program. The
same holds true for any radioactive marker beads that may be required.

F. For casing run with mixed threads, be certain at least two crossovers are
available for each crossover point. Check dimensions of crossovers to ensure
compatibility with casing dimensions.

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G. Check condition of single joint pick-up elevators. Latch elevators on a joint
of casing and check fit. Be certain elevator latch is fitted with a safety pin.
Check condition of lifting sling and shackles.

H. Review casing make-up procedure with casing crew. Check Drilling Program
for optimum make-up torque and acceptable minimum and maximum torques.

Make up of Buttress Casing

Proper make up of a buttress connection will give a gas tight seal. A triangle
is stamped on the pin end of the buttress casing. Allowing for tolerances in
the cutting of the threads in the pin and box, correct make up is when the end
of the coupling is between the base and the apex (i.e., top) of the triangle.
The procedure to make up buttress casing is as follows:

1. Make up the bottom joints requiring thread lock to 1/2 way between
the base and the apex of the triangle stamp on the pin.

2. After threadlock connections are made up and run, make up 4 or 5


connections with the required thread compound (i.e., pipe dope) to
1/2 way between the base and apex of the triangle. Count the turns
and torque to make up these joints.

Note: A click will be heard from the power tongs at the same point
on each revolution.

3. Use the average of the turns and torque recorded in number 2 above
to make up the rest of the string.

Note:
a. If the weight/foot of the casing varies in the string,
repeat steps 2 and 3 for each casing weight/foot
change.

b. The common practice of making up buttress casing to


the bottom of the triangle can lead to joints with
insufficient make up. This would be true if pin thread
crests on the low end of tolerance and box thread
crests on the low end of the tolerance.

I. Check with drilling contractor on anticipated mud pump displacement


efficiency even if it is planned to displace the cement with the cementing unit.

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This will enable switching to an alternate pump in the event of an equipment
break-down.

J. Discuss casing installation and cementing procedures with drillers,


toolpushers, mud engineer, cementer, casing crew, and any other personnel
directly involved in the operation.

K. Assign personnel to perform the following tasks:

1. Cement sample catching during cementing operation.

2. Cement slurry density measurement while mixing cement.

3. Mud volume gain/loss monitoring during cementing.

7.4.2 Hole Conditioning Prior to Cementing

A. At casing point, circulate hole clean of formation cuttings and gas and
condition mud for cementing. The mud is to be free of cuttings and of
uniform density.

B. Short trip bit to previous casing shoe, reaming any tight spots as required.

C. If hole remained open during short trip and is hydrostatically stable, strap out
of hole with drill string. Compare pipe tally with drillers tally and correct
drilled depth as required. Following logging run, compare drillers depth with
loggers depth. If a significant discrepancy exists, strap out again following
conditioning trip.

7.4.3 Tripping Out To Run Casing

A. Closely monitor hole fill-up volume on last trip out of hole prior to running
casing. Hole must be completely stable and taking correct fill-up volume.
B. Check work areas affected during casing installation to be sure they are clear
of all non-essential equipment, debris, etc.

C. Re-fuel diesel powered hydraulic power units.

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D. Conduct final briefing with casing crew. Check that planned coupling make-
up procedure is correct, including make-up torque schedule.

E. PULL WEAR BUSHING

7.4.4 Cementing Casing

A. Witness the loading of all cementing plugs. Under no circumstances is the


bottom wiper plug to be slit with a knife because of doubt that it will
rupture when bumping the float collar.

B. Pressure test all cementing lines and the cementing manifold with water prior
to pumping any fluid into the casing. Test pressure is to be at least 1000 psi
above maximum anticipated pumping pressure during cementing operations.

C. While cementing, perform the following:

1. Check cement slurry density at 5 minute intervals.

2. Periodically check actual mud returns vs. anticipated mud returns.

3. Continuously monitor surface pumping pressure.

4. Catch samples of dry cement, mixed cement, and mix water, as


required.

5. Check position of tattletale on cementing head once top cementing


plug has been released.

D. For surface wellhead systems, monitor casing annulus for pressure build-up
while cement sets.

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