An Experimental study of silicate polymer gel systems to seal shallow water flow and lost circulation zones in top hole drilling

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2012
Ay, Ahmet
Shallow water flow and lost circulation are frequently encountered problems during drilling top holes of oil, gas or geothermal wells. Plenty of methods have been applied to overcome these problems. Placement of silicate based gel systems is one of the oldest methods to seal such undesired zones. For this study, sodium-silicate based gel system is investigated experimentally. This gel system is deliberately delayed multi-component system mixed as a uniform liquid at the surface but desired to form strong gel where it is placed in the well. The experimentally analyzed system is composed of distilled water, sodium-silicate solution, polymer solution, lost circulation materials, weighting agent and organic initiator. In this study, effect of these components on gel time, gel quality and gel strength at room temperature is investigated as a function of their concentration. To be able to compare gelation time of different compositions, gel time tests were performed by following the developed method in this study. Observation codes were defined to be able to compare the gel qualities of different compositions. For gel time and quality tests, sodium-silicate concentrations from 3.5% to 15% were studied and the concentrations between 7.5% and 10% were found as optimum. Gel time is getting higher as silicate-initiator ratio (SIR) increases for these optimum concentrations. It was also determined that, addition of polymers reduces the gel time and increases the elasticity of the resulting gels. Long term gelation process was investigated by monitoring turbidity (NTU) of the mixtures and plotting NTU versus time curves. Viscosity development curves obtained from rotational viscometer at various constant shear rates indicated reduced gelation times with increasing shear rate. Furthermore, by using modified High-Pressure, High-Temperature filter press cell, it was determined that, addition of lost circulation materials increases the extrusion pressure.