Wellbore Integrity: An Integrated Experimental and Numerical Study to Investigate Pore Pressure Variation during Cement Hardening under Downhole Conditions


Understanding the cement hardening process and determining the development of the state of stress in the cement under specific downhole conditions are challenging but fundamental requirements to perform an accurate prediction of wellbore integrity. As an essential component of the state of stress, the temporal variation of cement pore pressure is a critical factor that affects the occurrence of cement failure. In this study, we present a novel laboratory setup to measure the cement pore pressure variation during hardening under representative downhole conditions, including the pressure, temperature, and water exchange between the cement and formation. The pore pressure measurements are further incorporated with a staged finite element analysis (FEA) approach to investigate the state of stress development during cement hardening and to evaluate cement failure under different operations and after different wait-on-cement (WOC) periods. The laboratory measurements show that the external water supply from the formation significantly impedes the pore pressure drop in the cement. The numerical results indicate that the accelerated pore pressure decrease obtained without considering downhole conditions elevates the contact pressure at the cement-formation interfaces significantly and moderately increases the von Mises stress in the cement. The numerical results further predict that the accelerated pore pressure decrease leads to an overestimation of shear failure during pressure testing and steamflooding operations but an underestimation of debonding failure during severe fluid loss and injection-related cooling processes. Based on the results of the integrated laboratory and numerical approach, qualitative and quantitative suggestions are provided for field operations to inhibit wellbore integrity risk during the wellbore life cycle.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


This work was supported by the CO2 Capture Project consortium.

Keywords and Phrases

Reservoir Geomechanics; Pore Pressure; Downhole Condition; Wellbore Design; Cement; Reservoir Characterization; Upstream Oil & Gas; Variation; Shear Failure; Setup

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Feb 2022