“The New Science Behind Foamed Cement”
Barbara Kutchko, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Foamed cement is used across a variety of applications for oil and gas well cementing including; deep-water riserless cementing, low fracture gradient cementing, horizontal well cementing, steam injection well cementing, and High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) cementing. When using foamed cement, laboratory testing is utilized to assess the performance of foamed cement slurries that are designed for applications in wells. It is common knowledge that there are significant differences in the methods used to generate foamed cement in the laboratory and those used to generate foamed cement for field applications. The implications of these differences on foamed slurry characteristics (e.g. bubble size distribution) and performance properties (e.g. stability, permeability, mechanical properties) has not been well analyzed or well understood until this study.
This presentation provides an account of a multiphase research endeavor that was undertaken through a joint effort between the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the API Sub-Committee 10 to examine the differences between foamed slurries generated with laboratory equipment and field foamed cementing equipment. Results of laboratory testing indicate a direct correlation between foam quality, bubble size distribution and physical behavior. Results of X-ray Computed Tomography scans of field-generated foamed cement show that collection processes have a dramatic influence on the structure and properties of the cured foamed cement, ultimately highlighting key differences between laboratory and field-generated foamed cements. This research is providing operators and service companies the ability to predict the behavior of foamed cements under in situ conditions when compared to laboratory generated foamed cements.
Dr. Kutchko is a research scientist with the National Energy Technology Laboratory specializing in wellbore isolation, cement, and subsurface materials characterization. She has a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering and a MS in Geology from the University of Pittsburgh. She works with oil and gas companies, government agencies, and universities to evaluate practices and research needs to ensure the safe placement of cement. She served as an objective expert in the federal litigation over the Macondo incident. She is the recipient of a 2016 Pittsburgh Women in Energy award, a 2015 Pittsburgh Energy Award in Upstream, and a 2014 Federal Executive Board Excellence in Government Award.
Door prize provided by Owen Oil Tools, a Division of Core Labs.
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