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OTC-26639-MS

Behind Casing Inspection Using Active Gamma-Gamma Technique


Yike Hu, and Weijun Guo, Halliburton

Copyright 2016, Offshore Technology Conference


This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference Asia held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2225 March 2016.
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
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Abstract
During the completion of well drilling, cement is pumped into the annulus behind the casing to provide
zonal isolation and a pressure barrier. The cement integrity inside the annulus is crucial for environmental
and safety concerns. This paper describes a subsurface evaluation technique to evaluate the cement
integrity behind the casing using an active gamma-gamma technique.
The target was a layered structure consisting of single or multiple layers of casing, cement in the
annulus, and formation. The tool in use includes a radioactive gamma source and a gamma ray detector,
which is designed to be sensitive only to the annular space away from the inner casing. Monte Carlo
N-particle (MCNP) simulation based on high-energy photons transport was conducted to simulate the
energy spectrum that would be measured by the gamma ray detector. Cement channels were represented
by the void located in the annulus, which is characterized in volumetric terms and the localized area
coverage of the voids. The detector responses change with different cement integrities. There are two
attributes describing the gamma ray spectrum: count rates (CR) ratio and dipping point value. Through
extensive computer modeling, the correlation between cement integrity and spectrum information was
established, which are in terms used when generating equal CR-ratio curve and equal-dipping point curves.
When investigating cement of unknown integrity, its gamma ray response is recorded by the detector and
processed by algorithms. The dipping point value (Edip) and count rates ratio (CRratio) can be computed from
the as-recorded gamma ray spectrum, and a volume-position chart can be generated in which the equal CR-ratio
curve and equal-dipping point curve are plotted. The cement integrity information, the amount and the position
of the void, are found simultaneously as the intersection of those two curves.
As compared to the conventional acoustic methods used in cement evaluation, this paper proposes an
evaluation method using nuclear technology. The new method provides a data processing methodology to
determine the void amount and position inside the cement, which could be used to image the void channel
inside the cement.

Introduction
During the cased-hole completion operation, cement is placed behind the steel pipe to create the barrier
to prevent pressure communication between the formation and wellbore. The quality of the cement inside
the annular space is of critical importance to meet the health, safety, and environment (HSE) standards.
The monitoring of the cement integrity plays an undisputable role in the well economics and management

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plan. To maximize production efficiency, the proper zonal isolation requires a full coverage of cement in
the annular space without channeling. Poor cement integrity could also lead to well corrosion. It is
important to provide high-quality indicators for operators to make early intervention decisions without
incurring a large operational cost.
The cement quality issue may occur for the following reasons:

Poor bonding between the inner steel casing and cement


Channeling or cracks within the cement annulus
Void space between the cement and formation or poor bonding between the cement and outer steel
casing for scenarios of multiple casing

In this paper, the research study of using an active gamma-gamma measurement to determine the
location and amount of cement void is presented. The theory section describes the fundamental physics
behind the measurement technique. The modeling section defines the problem in detail and discusses how
to simulate the gamma ray spectrum using computer modeling. The analysis of the modeling results
reveals the connection between the spectrum characteristics and cement integrity. Two attributes are
defined to evaluate cement integrity given a gamma ray spectrum. The measurement results for both
regular and thick steel casing are reported in a large borehole completion environment. A new spectroscopy feature of dipping point is illustrated to show its effectiveness to solve for both the void/crack
amount and location behind casing.

Theory
With a chemical radioactive source, such as Cs-137, the high-energy gamma ray can penetrate through a
thick wall of dense materials and still return a meaningful signal. The high-energy gamma ray interacts
with material in three major ways: photoelectric absorption, Compton scattering, and pair production. Pair
production occurs at energy higher than 1 MeV, which is beyond the energy range of the Cs-137 source.
The photoelectric absorption and Compton scattering are the two relevant interactions. The photoelectric
absorption occurs when the incoming gamma ray interacts with atoms, which strongly depend on the
gamma ray energy and the atomic number (Z) in the material. The Compton scattering is the interaction
between high-energy photons and individual electrons.
The probability of interactions is described by a constant called cross section. The cross section
depends on the energy of the incoming radiation, the type of interaction, the material, the angle between
the incoming radiation direction, and the resultant radiation direction. The interactions result in the
attenuation law of gamma ray intensity:
(1)
Where N is the existing number of photons, e is electron density of the materials, and x is the distance
gamma ray travels. This attenuation law is the fundamental physics governing the tool measurement.
When the high energy photon enters the materials in front of the source, its energy is reduced as a result
of the scattering process, and the number of photons decreases because of the photoelectric absorption.
Some of the photons finally escape the materials and get scattered into the detector. The energy spectrum
recorded in the detector is an energy distribution of count rates.
The material information is embedded in the spectrum. The distinctive features of the spectrum are the
amplitude and shape. An equivalent description of amplitude is the total count rates. It sums the total
number of photons within an energy range. When there is certain void existing inside cement, the overall
cement volumetric properties change. Depending on where the void is located, the void affects the shallow
layer (close to casing) or deep layer (away from casing) differently, which means there is nonuniformity
in material distribution in the radial direction. As the photons travel from shallow layers into deep layers
and some of them get scattered back, they contain the volumetric information along the entire travelling

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path. And the deeper it penetrates, the lower the energy remains when the photons are scattered back. To
obtain good statistic precision and keep substantial depth of investigation, the count rates of photons in
an intermediate energy level are chosen to extract volumetric information. On the other hand, the spectrum
shape describes a change of photon number with respect to energy. For the photons traveling into deep
layers of material, less energy was deposited in the detector. Suffice it to say that the spectrum in the
high-energy end corresponds to photons travelling in the shallower layer in the material. The high-energy end
of the spectrum contains radial distance information (material distribution in the radial direction). The change
in the number of photons with respect to energy reflects the material property change in the radial direction.
Although both the count rates and spectrum shape are influenced by the material volumetric property and the
nonuniformity of material distribution in the radial direction, as demonstrated below, they are not equally
affected, which provides a unique method to identify the void volume and position simultaneously.

Model and Methods


Monte Carlo N-particle modeling (Briesmeister 2000) has been widely used in the well logging
industry to generate the detector response in downhole situations (Watson 1983; Moake 2011) thanks to
its convenience to vary wellbore parameters and credibility in simulating real-world results. In the
application of gamma-gamma technique, it accounts for the transport process of high-energy photons by
modeling the tool body, casing, cement, and formation behind.
The tool used in the cement evaluation is a nuclear tool, consisting of a radioactive source (Cs-137),
a scintillator crystal detector [NaI(Tl)], and necessary shielding, which prevents high-energy photons from
transmitting through the tool body to arrive at the detector without interactions with surroundings. The
entire tool body is packaged inside a pressure housing to meet the temperature and pressure requirement
for downhole application. Openings in the housing (collimator) are properly designed to allow the high- energy
photons to pass through. When the high-energy photons are emitted from the chemical source, they interact
with materials in front of the tool, that is, casing, cement, and formation. A portion of the high-energy photons
are scattered into the scintillator crystal and are detected. By changing the design parameters of the tool body,
the detected high-energy photons contain information about the cement only, so-called formation-independent
cement evaluation. The tool design features short-detector source spacing, small-detector collimator size, and
downward-angled detector collimator. More details about the tool design can be found in Hu and Guo (2015).
Fig. 1 is the schematic of one such tool placed in a cased-hole environment.

Figure 1Schematic of tool design used in the formation independent cement evaluation.

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This paper studies the void, its volume, and its position inside the cement sheath behind the casing. It
aims to provide a method to derive information about how much void exists inside the cement sheath and
where it is located. The detector responses were modeled for a series of void structures. In this paper, the
word position and location are used interchangeably. The word amount and volume are also used
interchangeably.
The void structures are associated with two attributes: position and amount. To define the position of
a void inside the cement sheath, the annular space behind the casing is segmented into 10 parts. Each part
takes up 10% of the annulus thickness. The void position is defined as the location of the front surface
of a cement void (the side closing to casing). The grid lines mark the positions. The outer casing surface
is defined as position 0. Position 0.1 is defined as 10% of the cement thickness away from the outer casing
surface. Position 0.2 is defined as 20% of the cement thickness away from the outer casing surface. As
on the positions continue, the final position, which is on the end of the annular space, is at position 1.0.
The grid lines are shown in Fig. 2. With this definition, any void located inside the cement sheath can be
labeled with a position. For example, when the front surface of the cement void is located at a distance
of t1 away from the casing outer surface, it is gives this cement void a position label , where t is the
total thickness of the annular space behind casing. Likewise, the cement position label indicates how much
cement lies in front of the void space. For example, when a certain cement void locates at x position inside
the cement sheath, it means the front surface of the cement void is located at a distance of x t from the
casing outer surface.

Figure 2Define the position grids inside cement sheath. The entire cement sheath is segmented into 10 parts. The casing outer
surface is defined as position 0. Position 0.1 is defined as 10% of annular spacing away from the casing outer surface. Position 0.2 is
defined as 20% of annular spacing away from the casing outer surface. As on the position continues, position 0.9 is defined as 90%
of annular spacing from the casing outer surface. The last grid coincides with the end of the annular space, which is defined as position
1.0.

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Figure 3A certain amount of void locates inside the annular space. The void amount is characterized as a percentage of the annular
volume.

The amount of cement void is defined as a certain percentage of the total cement volume filling
the annular space behind the casing. For example, 20% of cement void means the void takes up 20%
of the annular space volume. This assumes the cement void is continuously distributed in the
azimuthal direction in the field of view of the tool and in the longitudinal direction between the
source and detector spacing.
To determine how much void locates at which position inside the annular space, the MCNP codes
were used to simulate the gamma ray spectra from a series of structures with increasing amount of
voids at different position. Since the void position is defined as the front surface of the void volume,
the maximum amount of void is limited by its position, shown in Table 1. Fig. 4 illustrates how the
void amount is propagating at a given position. Position 0.2 is set as an example. The void amount
begins increasing from 10% void gradually to 80% of void. The maximum amount of void allowed
at position 0.2 is 80%.

Table 1Structures of different cement integrities used in


MCNP modeling.
Void Position
0
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9

Void Volumetric Amount


0% (Full-cement)
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%,
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%,
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%,
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%,
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%,
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%,
10%, 20%, 30%, 40%
10%, 20%, 30%
10%, 20%
10%

50%,
50%,
50%,
50%,
50%,
50%

60%,
60%,
60%,
60%,
60%

70%, 80%, 90%, 100%


70%, 80%, 90%
70%, 80%
70%

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Figure 4 Schematics for increasing void amount a given position inside the cement annular space. Voids in this example have a
position of 0.2.

For the convenience of discussion, the amount and positon combination associated with a void is
labeled as (x%, y). It means that the void takes up x% of the annular space with its front surface (the side
closing to casing) located at position y. Take cement integrity (40%, 0.2) for example; it is a void that
takes up 40% of the annular space locating at position marker 0.2.
A few parameters were chosen for the well completion profile in the modeling. The casing thickness
is 0.5 in. The cement annular spacing is 1.5 in. The casing OD is 9 5/8 in. The casing weight is 53.5 lb/ft.
Although in a real situation the void space could be filled with brine, mud sediments, or water, for the
purpose of illustration, the void was filled with fresh water in the MCNP modeling.

Results
The spectrum measured in the detector depicts the energy distribution of count rates. It contains
information about the materials with which the high-energy photons interact during their traveling path.
Fig. 5 illustrates two representative cases of cement integrities: good cement (full cement inside the
annular space) and bad cement (cement with certain amount of void inside). The simulated spectrum from
each scenario is presented in the left panel of Fig. 6.

Figure 5Schematic of different cement integrities in cased-hole. The left depicts a good cement situation: full cement inside the
annular space. The right depicts a bad cement situation: some void space inside of the cement.

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Figure 6 Left panel: gamma ray spectra from the two cement integrities shown in Fig. 5. Right panel: Transformation of spectrum in
the left panel to amplify the spectrum feature.

As the left panel of Fig. 6 shows, compared to the good-cement spectrum, the sample spectrum from
cement with some void is different in amplitude and shape. The amplitude difference can be captured by
summing the count rates in the intermediate energy range from 150 keV to 250 keV. The other
not-so-obvious feature in this plot is that the spectrum shape at 300 keV to 500 keV is also different. A
transformation is required to amplify the difference, as shown in the right panel of Fig. 6.
The transformation takes the following steps:
1. Normalize both spectra to make the total count rates under the curve equal to 1.
2. Take the normalized full-cement spectrum as the standard spectrum.
3. Subtract the standard spectrum from the normalized sample spectrum. The difference is defined as
spectrum difference. This technique highlights the shape change, as shown in the right panel of
Fig. 6.
The most striking feature in the spectrum difference plot is that there is a dipping point in the sample
spectrum curve at the high-energy range. The dipping point is defined as the energy Edip where the
spectrum difference value is at a minimum. Mathematically speaking, the dipping point is the turning
point where the first order derivative of the spectrum difference curve changes from negative to positive.
In other words, the dipping point is the point where the first order derivative of the spectrum difference
curve equals zero. In this case, the high-energy range is chosen to be from 300 keV to 500 keV.
In order to systematically study the correlation between the spectra characteristics and cement
integrities, the simulated spectra for a series of voids of different amounts at different positions are plotted
in the following figures.
Fig. 7 plots the spectra for a series of void amounts at position 0. The spectrum from full-cement with
legend 0-0 per is also plotted as reference. At position 0, the void amounts can be increased from 10%
all the way up to 100% by 10% volume increments. The 100% void amount is equivalent to a no-cement
situation. The left panel in Fig. 7 presents the simulated spectra. The major feature in this plot is that the
magnitude for the spectrum from 150 keV to 250 keV is clearly different as the cement void amount
changes. The sum of the count rates at this energy range increases as the void amount increases. Using
the transformation discussed above, the spectra are transformed to spectrum difference and shown in the
right panel in Fig. 7. As expected, each spectrum difference curve has a dipping point. Moreover, the
dipping point is moving as the cement void amount changes. In particular, it shows the dipping points are
moving toward smaller values when the amount of void increases inside cement.

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Figure 7Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 0. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

The same data processing was applied to the spectra simulated at other positions when the cement void
amount increases, as shown in Figs. 8 through 16. Similar to what were observed in Fig. 7, there are two
key findings:
1. At a given position, when the amount of void increases, the total count rates within the energy
range from 150 keV to 250 keV are increasing.
2. At a given position, when the amount of void increases, the dipping point value Edip decreases.

Figure 8 Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 1. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

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Figure 9 Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 2. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

Figure 10 Detector spectra from cased-hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 3. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

Figure 11Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 4. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

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Figure 12Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 5. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

Figure 13Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 6. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

Figure 14 Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 7. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

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Figure 15Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 8. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

Figure 16 Detector spectra from cased hole with different amount of voids inside cement at position 9. The left panel plots the
simulated gamma ray spectra. The right panel plots the normalized spectra subtracted by the normalized full cement spectrum.

Those two findings hold true for all the spectra modeled at all positions inside cement.

Discussion
The observations from the modeling results are quantified further. First the count rates in the intermediate
energy range from 150 keV to 250 keV for each spectrum are summed.
(2)

As the full-cement situation describes good cement integrity without any void inside, the spectrum
from the full-cement situation is chosen as the standard spectrum.

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(3)

A new parameter can be defined as CR-ratio, which is the ratio of the summed count rates of the
previous two equations.
(4)
Taking the ratio of count rates between any spectrum and the standard spectrum rescales the count rates
in the intermediate level for all spectra to a value around 1.0.
Fig. 17 shows a plot of the CRratio versus the cement void amount at each position. To avoid confusion,
the cement void amount is labeled by percentage while the void position is marked by number. As the
figure shows, for the same position when the void amount increases, CRratio increases. For the same
amount of void, when its position increases (moving away from casing), CRratio is decreasing. This
indicates that a given CRratio could correspond to either a large void amount at a large position or a small
void amount at a small position.

Figure 17Count rates ratio versus cement void amount at each position inside the cement sheath. (Casing thickness: 0.5 in.)

Next, the dipping points Edip from all cement void amounts at every position are plotted in Fig. 18. For
the same position when the cement void amount increases, the dipping point value Edip decreases. For the
same cement void amount when its position increases (away from casing), the dipping point Edip
decreases. This indicates that a given dipping point value could correspond to either a small void amount
at a large position or a large void amount at a small position.

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Figure 18 Dipping point value versus cement void at each position inside the cement sheath. (Casing thickness: 0.5 in.)

The observations from Fig. 17 and Fig. 18 are critical as they provide clues to determine the amount
of void and its position simultaneously from its gamma ray spectrum. The logics are as follows:
1. The gamma ray spectrum from a full-cement situation of a well completion profile is chosen as the
reference spectrum.
2. The gamma ray spectrum is measured from structure of unknown cement integrity of the same
well completion profile.
3. CRratio and dipping point value Edip is obtained from the gamma ray spectrum of the unknown
structure.
4. For a given CRratio, its corresponding void amount monotonically increases as the position marker
increases. This curve is called the equal-CR-ratio curve, which can be extrapolated from Fig. 17
5. For a given dipping point value, its corresponding void amount monotonically decreases as the
position marker increases. This curve is called as the equal-dipping point curve, which can be
extrapolated from Fig. 18.
6. Plot the equal-CR-ratio curve and the equal-dipping point curve in a volume-position plot. The
intersection of both curves gives the value for the amount and position of the void.
7. A few boundary conditions are required to help ensure a physically meaningful result: the cement
void amount should be larger or equal to 0% and smaller or equal to 100%, the cement void
position should be larger or equal to 0 and smaller or equal to 1, and the sum of void amount and
void position marker should be less than or equal to 1.
Take the cement integrity (40%, 0.2) for example; it has a CRratio of 1.15 and dipping point value Edip
355 keV. For a CRratio of 1.15, from Fig. 17, it could correspond to cement integrity combinations such
as (25%, 0), (30%, 0.1), (40%, 0.2) and (60%, 0.3). For a dipping value of 355 keV, from Fig. 18, it could
correspond to cement integrity combinations such as (15%, 0.4), (30%, 0.3), (40%, 0.2), (60%, 0.1) and
(70%, 0). The equal-CR curve and equal-dipping point curve can be drawn in the same volume-position
chart, as shown in Fig. 19. Clearly those two curves intersect at one point, of which the coordinate is (40%,
0.2). This means the spectrum with a CRratio of 1.15 and a dipping point of 355 keV corresponds to cement
integrity of 40% of void amount locating at a position marker of 0.2. This is exactly the cement integrity
used in this example.

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Figure 19 Equal-CR-ratio curve and Equal-dipping point curve for a gamma ray spectrum with dipping point at 355 keV and CR-ratio
of 1.15.

A more sophisticated method is required to obtain the position and amount for cement void accurately.
It is herein described as follows:
In Fig. 17, the curve for every position can be fitted with a second polynomial,
(5)
Eq. 5 establishes the relation between the CR-ratio and void amount.
In Fig. 18, the curve for every position can be fitted with a linear approximation,
(6)
Eq. 6 establishes the relation between the dipping point value and void position.
The fitting coefficients from Fig. 17 and Fig. 18 are listed in Table 2. With those coefficients, one can
compute the void amount and position combination for every CRratio and every dipping point value Edip,
which in turn plots the equal-CR radio curve and equal-dipping point curve in a volume-position chart.
Table 2Coefficients for CRratio void amount dependence and
dipping point (Edip) void amount dependence.
Position

c1

c0

0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8

-0.3767
-0.3637
-0.3516
-0.3073
-0.2877
-0.2314
-0.334
-0.3141
0

0.7255
0.6282
0.5307
0.4262
0.3453
0.2551
0.2407
0.1811
0.0693

-60.0
-30.0
-33.0
-48.0
-68.6
-70.7
-78.9
-72.0
-78.9

324.0
327.0
336.0
350.4
368.0
378.9
393.6
397.7
412.4

In the volume-position chart, the intersection point of equal-CR-ratio curve and equal-dipping point
curve is the void inside cement. Since the void amount has physical meaning, the void amount should
always be within the range from 0 to 1. The fundamental physics rule requires the equal CR-Ratio to be

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monotonically increasing with void position and the equal dipping-point curve to be monotonically
decreasing with void position. This helps guarantee that there will only be one intersection (or minimum
distance point) between those two curves, so only one solution exists.
This method is explained in further details in the case studies.

Case One
A series of test structures were simulated to verify this method.. The cement integrity from the test
structures is identified as the void amount and void position combination, labeled as (void amount, void
position). They are A: (15%, 0), B: (35%, 0.2), C: (15%, 0.4), and D: (20%, 0.35). The simulated gamma
ray spectra are shown in the left panel of Fig. 20. The spectrum difference is shown in the right panel of
Fig. 20. The CRratio and dipping point Edip for each spectrum are summarized in Table 3.

Figure 20 Simulated spectrum and spectrum difference for a series of tested structures.
Table 3CRratio and Dipping point value (Edip) for the tested
structures. (Casing thickness: 0.5 inch)
Structure

CRratio
Edip (keV)

1.102
399

1.140
363

1.049
357

1.067
357

For a given structure, based on the CRratio, the amount of void at each position can be computed using
Eq. 5. The void amount and void position dependence generated for each CRratio value is called the
equal-CR-ratio curve. For a given structure, based on the dipping point value Edip, the amount of void at
each position can be computed using Eq. 6. The void amount and void position dependence generated for
each dipping point value is called the equal-dipping point curve. Both curves are plotted in the
volume-position chart, as shown in Fig. 21.

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Figure 21The equal-CR_ratio curve and equal-dipping point curve for all tested structures in the volume-position plot. The
intersection point corresponds to the void amount and void position for the tested structure.

The void amount and position for the unknown structure are identified as the coordinates of the
intersection point. The results are listed in Table 4, and the errors compared to the true values are also
presented. The error is shown as the percentage of the full annular spacing. As Table 4 shows, all errors
are well within 2% of the entire annular spacing.
Table 4 The void amount and position estimated using the
volume-position plot for testing structures. (Casing thickness:
0.5 inch)
Structure
A
B
C
D

Position

Amount

Position error

Amount error

0.01
0.21
0.40
0.37

16%
37%
16%
21%

1%
1%
0
2%

1%
2%
1%
1%

Case Two
Discussion above was based on the modeling results from 0.5-in. casing. The applicability of this method
was also studied for thick casing (0.8-inch.). Similar to the 0.5-in. casing situation, a series of structures
of different void amounts at different positions were modeled. The count rates ratio (CRratio) versus

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cement void amount at each position is presented in Fig. 22. The dipping point value (Edip) versus cement
void amount at each position is presented in Fig. 23. The three observations from 0.5-inch casing situation
are still valid in the 0.8-in. casing situation.
1. For a given CRratio, its corresponding void amount monotonically increases as the position marker
increases. This curve is called the equal-CR-ratio curve.
2. For a given dipping point value Edip, its corresponding void amount monotonically decreases as
the position marker increases. This curve is called as the equal-dipping point curve.
3. As the CRratio and the dipping point value are obtained from the same structure, it only corresponds
to one void amount and position combination. Therefore, the cross point from the equal-CR-ratio
curve and the equal-dipping point curve gives the amount and position for the void.

Figure 22Count rates ratio versus cement void amount at each position inside the cement sheath. (Casing thickness: 0.8 in.)

Figure 23Dipping point versus cement void at each position inside the cement sheath. (Casing thickness: 0.8 in.)

From Fig. 22, the equal-CR-ratio curve can be extrapolated for a given CRratio. From Fig. 23, the
equal-dipping point curve can be extrapolated for a given dipping point value Edip. And the void
information is obtained from the volume-position chart, which plot both of the equal-CR-ratio curve and
equal-dipping point curve.

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A series of test structures of different cement integrities were modeled using the 0.8-in casing. They
are A: (15%, 0), B: (35%, 0.2), C: (15%, 0.4), and D: (20%, 0.35). Using the method described in Case
1, the position and void amount for each structure are estimated and listed in Table 5. As it shows, the
accuracy in the estimation does not decrease because of the increasing thickness of casing. The
measurement sensitivity is maintained even with thicker casing.
Table 5The void amount and position estimated using the
volume-position plot for testing structures. (0.8 inch casing)
Structure
A
B
C
D

Position

Amount

Position error

Amount error

0
0.2
0.39
0.37

16%
35%
15%
22%

0
0
1%
2%

1%
0
0
2%

Conclusion
This paper studied how to use the spectrum from a gamma-gamma technique to evaluate the cement
integrity in cased-hole situations. A series of structures of different amount of cement voids located at
different position inside cement sheath were constructed to represent different cement integrities. Monte
Carlo N-particle simulation was utilized to model their gamma ray detector response.
Analysis reveals that there are two attributes characterizing the gamma ray spectrum feature, count rates
ratio (CRratio) and dipping point value (Edip). Using the full-cement spectrum as the reference spectrum, the
count rates ratio (CRratio) is a value obtained by dividing the sum of count rates of a given spectrum in an
intermediate energy range by that of the reference spectrum. The dipping point value is the energy corresponding to the turning point of spectrum difference (normalized sample spectrum subtracts the normalized
reference spectrum) at a high energy range. Together, CRratio and dipping point Edip describe the entire
spectrum shape. For a given cement integrity inside the cased-hole, a CRratio and Edip can be computed from
its gamma ray spectrum. For a given well completion profile, the CRratio dependence on void amount and void
position, and the Edip dependence on void amount and void position can be pre-established through computer
simulation or lab measurement. The equal-CR_ratio curve and equal-dipping point curve are extrapolated from
the database and plotted in a volume-position chart. The amount and position of the void can thus be
determined simultaneously. From case studies, the error of determining the void amount and void position with
such method is less than 2% of the entire annular spacing.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank Halliburton for allowing the publication of this work.

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