Design and construction of test facility for evaluation of swell packers in cased and open holes

Tasneem Pervez, Sayyad Zahid Qamar*, Maaz Akhtar, Moosa Al Kharusi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the petroleum industry, packers refer to the components/products which are used to isolate one section in a formation from others, or to isolate the outer section of a production tubing from the inner section, which may be a casing or a liner or the wellbore itself. Mechanical packers are installed through some form of tubing movement. Permanent packers are low in cost and provide better seal. Retrievable packers have lower sealing capability but are re-usable after repair, and therefore expensive. More innovative packers made of swellable elastomers are rather new. These elastomers swell when they come in contact with different types of fluids (mostly water and oil). Like a casing, these new packers are lowered to the desired depth and allowed to swell before production or injection operations begin. Various studies have been published about the swelling and mechanical response of these elastomers. However, many questions remain about the sealing performance of swell packers, and their effectiveness in actual wellbores of rough and random profiles. This paper describes the design and development of an experimental unit for performance testing of a mix of inert and swelling elastomer seals under realistic well conditions. Actual swell packers and petroleum tubulars are housed in a concrete block that replicates open-hole and cased-hole wells through layers of varying roughness. This is a one-of-its-kind unit providing full-scale demonstration about the working of swell packers against outer casing or rock formation in a wellbore. It is also a complete testing apparatus to investigate the behavior of swell packers made of fast-swell and medium-swell elastomers, and how they seal off irregular boreholes. This work can provide basic understanding and visual corroboration to petroleum engineers and students, swelling elastomer application developers, and academic and research personnel.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Cased-hole
  • Design and construction
  • Formation roughness
  • Oil-swell
  • Open-hole
  • Swell packer
  • Swelling elastomer
  • Testing-demonstration unit
  • Water-swell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy(all)

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