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Digital Cement Integrity: A Methodology for 3D Visualization of Cracks and Microannuli in Well Cement

Abstract

Leakages of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide from wells, may have considerable environmental consequences. Although much emphasis is currently put on understanding well barrier failures, and thus, preventing well leakages, especially for an important barrier material as cement, there are still several knowledge gaps and unknowns. However, a step-change in well integrity understanding may be obtained by applying advanced characterization techniques and scientific approaches to studying well barrier materials and their failure mechanisms. This paper describes the development of an experimental methodology that uses X-ray computed tomography to obtain 3D visualizations of cracks and microannuli in annular cement sheaths. Several results are included that demonstrate the value of using such digital methods to study well cement, and it is shown that such experimental studies provide an improved understanding of cement sheath integrity. For example, it is seen that radial cracks do not form in symmetrical patterns and that microannuli do not have uniform geometries. Such experimental findings can potentially be used as benchmark to validate and improve cement integrity simulation tools.

Category

Academic article

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 203525

Language

English

Author(s)

Affiliation

  • SINTEF Industry / Petroleum

Year

2020

Published in

Sustainability

ISSN

2071-1050

Publisher

MDPI

Volume

12

Issue

10

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