The project goal is to demonstrate how real-time sensing of Nanite™ can improve long-term wellbore integrity and zonal isolation in shale gas and applicable oil and gas operations. Nanite is a cementitious material that contains a proprietary formulation of functionalized nanomaterial additive to transform conventional cement into a smart material responsive to pressure (or stress), temperature, and any intrinsic changes in composition. Nanite’s electrical, radiometric, and acoustic properties; improved chemical and physical properties; and durability have the potential to ensure long-term wellbore integrity and zonal isolation.
Oceanit, Honolulu, HI 96813
Well integrity and performance failures occur for different reasons, one of which is poor cementing. Cementing is a crucial step in drilling safely for oil or natural gas; however, it is an inherently uncertain process and prone to frequent failures such as the one that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental protection regulations generally require that cement extend to 150 ft. below the deepest water well in the area in order to protect aquifers from wellbore fluids. Thus, the fracturing process is not supposed to begin until the wellbore has been properly cased and cemented. However, contractors often rush the casing and cementing process and what may at first appear to be a good cement job or casing connection ends up being degraded by the pressure exerted during the fracking process, which causes the casing to fail at the connecting joints or cement cracks. The cracked cement or failed casing then allows wellbore fluids (including fracking fluids and natural gas) to contaminate aquifers or the surface.
Conventional techniques (such as sonic and ultrasonic) used by industry to inspect the integrity of cementing behind multiple casing strings have proven to be inaccurate, insufficient, and unreliable, and continuously monitoring the integrity of cement plugs throughout their lifetime using conventional approaches is not a viable option. Hence, there is imminent need for new cement evaluation technologies and approaches to improve the effectiveness of existing technologies to assess cement integrity. Oceanit’s Nanite will be tailored to address key challenges faced during oil and gas cementing.
The cementing process was developed well over a century ago and the cementing material currently being used has not undergone any significant improvement or innovation since that time. The proposed research utilizes nanotechnology to address persistent cementing issues such as wellbore integrity and zonal isolation. A smart, sensing, durable cementing material such as Nanite will significantly improve the economics of drilling by helping to prevent blowouts and resolving environmental concerns.
Based on the results of this project, Oceanit has identified steps forward to develop and commercialize Nanite technology in the oil and gas industry, and beyond. Through close collaboration with industry partners, additional use cases and field test opportunities have been identified. Future work includes design and deployment of interventional and continuous monitoring systems for Nanite field testing and further development of concepts for applications such as: top of cement measurement, plug and abandonment long term integrity, and behind multiple casing presence and quality assurance.
The period of performance has ended for this award and Oceanit has completed all project tasks. The final report is available below under "Additional Information".
Final Scientific/Technical Report [PDF] (May 2017)
Nanite For Better Well-bore Integrity and Zonal Isolation [PDF] (Aug 2016)
Presented by Vinod Veedu, Oceanit Laboratories, 2016 Carbon Storage and Oil and Natural Gas Technologies Review Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA