Introduction to Casing

After each section of hole has been drilled a string of casing is run to line the inside of the wellbore. The main reasons for casing off the open hole are:
‡ to prevent caving of the wellbore, as if unsupported, the hole may be liable to fall in upon itself; ‡ to provide support for weak or fractured formations from mud weights which may cause these zones to break down; ‡ to isolate zones of abnormal pressure; ‡ to seal off zones of lost circulation (i.e. thief zones where mud or cement slurry etc enters the formation); ‡ to provide a means of completing and producing the well efficiently; ‡ to provide structural support for wellheads and blow-out prevention equipment

Different Casing Strings .

eg: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Must withstand expected loadings Availability of different casing types Cost of material / casing-type options Operational problems in running the casing Be able to handle expected formation pressures Be functional for the anticipated lifespan of the well Be flexible enough to allow additional string to be run if operational difficulties are unexpectedly encountered ‡ With a view to ultimate abandonment . so great care must be taken to design a casing string which will satisfy the requirements of each well.Casing Programmes Casing makes up a considerable part of the overall well cost (<20%).

Inner Casing String Casings have to be cemented in place to ensure a competent pressure control system Outer Casing String Cement Sheath Cement being injected More about cementing later. ...

Types of Casing We¶ll now have a look at: ‡ Conductor Casing ‡ Surface Casing ‡ Intermediate Casing ‡ Production Casing ‡ Liner .

consequently has the largest diameter protects seabed formations .continuous fluid circulation will likely create large ³washouts´ through erosion also protects surface formations which may have low frictional strength which could easily be exceeded by the hydrostatic pressures exerted by the drilling fluid when drilling a deeper section of the wellbore provides a conduit for mud returns ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ..Conductor Casing Conductor casing (sometimes called ³pipe´) is the first casing string to be run ± often driven into the formation using large hydraulic jack-hammers.. It .

and . as the control equipment will need to be capable of withstanding that pressure.. If the casing is set too high there may not be sufficient formation strength at the shoe to handle a kick when drilling the next section .Surface Casing ‡ The main functions of surface casing are to seal off any fresh water sands.. ‡ to provide structural support for the blow-out preventer (BOP) and wellhead equipment In an area where abnormal pressures are expected the setting depth is important.

Intermediate Casing ‡ Intermediate. or µprotection¶ casing is used to isolate any troublesome formations which would/could cause drilling problems in the wellbore . not protected) from the drilling fluid .e. if rock formations are stable. drilling can be undertaken for relatively long periods of time prior to the setting of casing ‡ The setting depth depends on a knowledge of pore pressures and fracture gradients ‡ During drilling operations the mud weight controls pore pressures. but must not exceed the fracture strength of shallower zones not cased (i.a few examples: í sloughing shale í lost circulation í high pressure zones ‡ Several strings of intermediate casing may be required depending upon the number of problems encountered.

Production Casing This is usually the last string of casing to be run in the wellbore and is either run through the pay zone (reservoir) or set just above the pay zone (for an µopen hole¶ completion). Its main purpose is to: í isolate the production interval from other formations such as water bearing sands. if the casing withstands that pressure it is expected to be capable of withstanding higher pressures . Usually the casing will be pressure tested to around 60% of its specified burst pressure. and í to protect the completion tubing (through which the reservoir fluids will be transported to the surface) Production casing should be thoroughly pressure tested.

Liner A liner is a short string of casing which does not extend back to the surface.000 feet long. Overlap is somewhere in region of 200±500 feet and it is essential that the liner overlap is gas tight . a tie back string can be run to extend the liner back to the wellhead ‡ A liner is usually less than 5. It is run back inside the previous casing string to provide some overlap ‡ Liners may be used either as an intermediate or production string ‡ The liner has the advantage of being much cheaper than a full length casing string ‡ If required.

. their pore fluids cannot always escape and must then support the total overlying rock column... The pressure of fluids within the pores of a reservoir (usually hydrostatic pressure) or the pressure exerted by a column of water from the formation's depth to sea level When impermeable rocks (such as shales) form as sediments are compacted.You¶ll hear a lot about . ³Pore Pressure (Pf)´ It is .. leading to anomalously high formation pressures .

‡ Thus the pressure at which the formation fracture will occur is called as ³FRACTURE PRESSURE´ and is needed to be calculated at all depths in the well. ‡ This means that there is a maximum depth into the abnormally pressure zone to which the well can be drilled safely without cementing another casing string in the well. . the density of the drilling fluid must be increased to maintain the wellbore pressure above the formation pore pressure to prevent the flow of fluids from permeable formations into the well.³ Fracture Pressure (Pff)´ ‡ When abnormal formation pressure is encountered. since the wellbore pressure must be maintained below the pressure that will clause fracture in the more shallow. exposed formations just below the casing seat. there is a maximum drilling fluid density that can be tolerated. relatively weak. ‡ However.

Casing vs. Bit Size (illustrative) AG1 Casing Size ~20´ ~13-3/8´ ~9-5/8´ ~7´ ~ 5´ Bit Size (Typical) 24´ < 26´ 16´ < 17-1/2´ 12-1/4´ 8-3/8´ < 9-7/8´ ~ 6´ .

7/11/2006 .Slide 14 AG1 Tugwell.

Examples: Casing Programs .

WELL HOLE SIZE COMBINATIONS .

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Chart for Casing and Hole Sizes .

as far as possible. The shoe must be set deep enough to give an adequate sump for logging.Casing setting Depth ‡ The initial selection is based on the pore pressures and fracture gradients anticipated in the wellbore ± pressures at which fluid will come out of the formation and the pressures at which pumped fluid will fracture the formation. and completion requirements. perforating. and to enable testing of the reservoir fluids . is driven by logging. that relevant offset data has been considered in the estimation of pore pressures and fracture gradients. and hence the setting depth of the production casing or liner. and the effect of hole angle on offset fracture gradient data has also been considered ‡ The total depth of the well. testing. The drilling engineers should ensure.

However.1) Draw the mean pore pressure gradient curve along with the lithology.4) Move identifies the weight requirement curve at Point the which determinesA across to Point E 4. and the setting depth criteria for those strings are discussed later .3) depths ± settingMove across to (actuallyPointitC which run First: 300±400 feet weight Enter theup todeeper) mud mud Point D 4. a structural and conductor casing are required.5) Move (Total Depth (TD)) for that depth preferred settingto identify the mud depth for the surface casing/ weight required at that intermediate string depth 4.2) Move up to Point B which determines the initial estimated setting 4) To determine initial 3) Draw the predicted depth casing estimates of for the fracture gradient curve intermediate casing 4. if the mud 2) Drawavailable weight curve. The mud weight curve should include a 200 to 400 psi trip margin 4.6) Point E is the normal pressure range and no further casing is required to withstand the associated mud weight.

. ‡ if lost circulation zones are encountered. drilling should stop. casing may have to be set .. operations must stop and casing must be set. ‡ formation stability: if the formation is sensitive to the mud weight over time.Other factors may affect the casing design programme. mud returns should be checked and Lost Circulation Material (LCM) pumped downhole before the mud is conditioned to a more suitable rheology. The zone will then need to be drilled before casing can be set. ‡ if shallow gas zones are encountered whilst drilling.

particularly if a long section of 171/2´ hole is required . and the level of torque. enabling a side-track in 12-1/4´ hole. For example. have to protect drinking water. Long open hole sections may require casing to reduce the occurrence of stuck pipe. ‡ side tracking requirements as specified in the drilling programme. and not contaminate it with drilling fluid.e.‡ directional well profile: it is important to line out the well trajectory before setting casing and attempt to achieve a consistent survey ahead of a tangent. ‡ fresh water sands: i. ‡ hole cleaning. the 13-3/8´ casing may be set high enough to allow 9-5/8´ casing to be cut and pulled.

but this should be documented . be set in competent formations. where practicable..g.‡ salt sections. require a margin related to confidence limit when setting close to a permeable formation. Best source for this information is offset well data or area experience. should be drilled round rather than through. invariably associated with a good reservoir. ‡ casing shoe shall. ‡ high pressure zones. ‡ uncertainty in depth estimating e.

the kick tolerance associated with those depths should be determined. area experience and geology .Kick tolerance Once the initial casing setting depths are selected. capacity of rig equipment for kick detection and operator/driller¶s experience. Start from TD up to the surface to determine the kick tolerance and preferred setting depth for each casing string. The acceptability of kick tolerance values of less than 100 bbls should always be justified ± by a review of the type of well.

The pay zone should be analysed for its flow potential and the drilling problems that will be encountered upon reaching it. The opposite approach can result in a well that limits the production capacity of the pay zone . The well should be designed from bottom-to-top.Design ³Bottom-to-Top´ A design should be developed by well planning that provides for economic production from the pay zone consistent with safety requirements.

Large diameter strings are preferable for good flow rate. The required completion characteristics must therefore be taken onto account when designing the casing string .Design of the Completion Tubing The design of completion tubing strings must be given consideration relative to its ability to transport oil or gas to the surface at economical rates. therefore small diameter tubing is to be avoided. Small diameter tubing chokes the flow rate due to high frictional pressures. and workover activities more complicated. Small completion tubing can also lead to operational problems due to reduced radial clearances making tool placement operations more difficult.

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