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Offshore Industry Gets a Fresh Look at Foamed Cement

Image courtesy of National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Bearing the resemblance of a distant nebula galaxy, high-resolution computerized tomography scans of foamed cement samples generated at elevated pressures are helping the oil and gas industry understand how this critical technology performs under downhole conditions. The upper left image is a grayscale rendering of a cement sample. In the other images of the same sample, the red dots are the largest gas bubbles that make up 10% of the volume followed by sequentially smaller yellow, green, blue,

An ongoing research project started nearly 3 years ago by the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is shedding new light on what really happens to foamed cement as it is pumped deep down offshore wells during completions.

The genesis of the research was the 2010 subsea blowout of the Macondo well in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and claimed 11 lives. In the aftermath, the industry faced tough questions about the limits of its technology and the US government tapped NETL to improve the safety of offshore development.

After 6 months of interviewing experts in the offshore industry, lead researcher and NETL scientist Barbara Kutchko, who served as an objective expert in the federal litigation over the Macondo incident, decided to focus on foamed cement based on the clear need for more information about how the technology performs outside of the laboratory.

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Offshore Industry Gets a Fresh Look at Foamed Cement

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

01 January 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 1

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