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Cement Bond Logging

This variant of acoustic logging makes use of the observation that on acoustic
logs run inside casing with good cement bonding, the amplitude of the signal
detected at the receiver is much reduced, while in unsupported casing the signal
remains strong. The log format may include a gamma ray and casing collar log
for depth control, a transit-time curve, and an amplitude measurement for
evaluation of bonding. There may also be a "signature" or a "variable density"
display of the actual waveforms. These displays aid both quality control and log
evaluation. In Figure 1 , a typical cement bond log presentation, GR and casing
collar logs are omitted.

Figure 1

Measurement Principle A cement sheath bonded to the casing can be intuitively

predicted to attenuate sound propagation in the pipe. CBL tools are able to
differentiate between "no cement" and "solid cement." In the in-between range,
however, these tools are not yet able to provide unambiguous answers to the
question, Will the cement job prevent high-pressure fluid flow in the annulus?
Even so, the tool is a valuable and much-used adjunct to completion work.

Cement bond logs began as auxiliaries to the acoustic log, run with tools designed
for D-type logging. The information supplied was important enough to motivate
development of special CBL tools, which now do the majority of the bond-logging

The chief problem with acoustic-type CBL tools is that the casing-signal
attenuation is not directly related to the degree of hydraulic sealing provided by
the annular cement. Hence, no matter how accurately the attenuation is
measured, answers are still in terms of probabilities, except in the extreme
conditions of perfect or no bonding.

Figure 2 illustrates the interplay of cement presence, bonding, signature, variable

density display, and amplitude.

Figure 2

A CBL log should always include a section above the presumed cement top, where
the pipe is completely unbonded. This gives one endpoint for the log; the
amplitude curve should never read higher than this. The other endpoint is given
by the zero point on the log scale. The curve never reads zero, but comes close
(2-3 mv) in well-bonded pipe.

The paradox of acoustic-amplitude-type CBL logging is that the signal of most

interest is zero or near it, but the equipment triggers on a finite signal in normal
operating mode. As the signal approaches zero, it gets harder and harder to fine-
tune the system to pick up the right signal. To correct this, the more
sophisticated tools allow a detection window set at a selected time interval after
the first pulse. This time is normally close to the casing transit time.
As with normal interval transit time logging, good quality control with the CBL
requires the use of an oscilloscope picture. With most equipment, this is the only
way to be sure that the amplitude measurement is made on the first-arriving
half-cycle of acoustic energy, essential for meaningful interpretation. Figure 3
illustrates this concept.

Figure 3

In normal logging mode, the system triggers on the first arriving (E l) half-cycle,
measuring both its single-receiver travel time (time from transmitter to receiver)
and its amplitude. Two things can prevent this: (1) weak signals in well-bonded
pipe can go below the detection threshold and (2) in hard-rock country, it is
possible for formation signals to arrive ahead of casing signals. In the first case,
cycle skips appear on the log ( Figure 4 ), and the amplitudes recorded in the
"skip" intervals are not interpretable.
Figure 4

In the second case, the transit-time curve departs from the fairly straight-line
value of casing transit time, and begins to follow formation variations. The scale
is not directly correlatable, since the CBL transit time is a 3-ft single-receiver
measurement and is not borehole-compensated. Normal casing transit time is 3 ft
X 57 sec/ft plus the travel time from tool to casing and back again, usually
around 250-260 sec.

Most CBL tools assume in-phase arrivals through all sides of the casing, meaning
that the tool must be centered. The degree of centering can be judged from the
transit-time curve. A poorly centered tool produces shorter transit times.
Centering may be virtually impossible in deviated holes or large casings.