Case History

Cement Returns to Surface Using Cost-Savings Spacer Technology

United States

In the Permian Basin, full cement returns to the surface are not typically achieved, especially in Loving County, Texas. In one 15,408-ft. well with 5.5-in. casing, the plan was to pump cement back to the surface. Prior attempts, even those utilizing light-weight beaded slurries, were not successful.


Conventional spacer with light-weight slurries did not work and the cement service company needed a better solution to get cement back to surface. The cement service company selected the SHIELD BOND spacer system and the SHIELD BOND LC3k additive. Built on proprietary Wellbore Shielding® chemistry,the SHIELD BOND® loss-prevention spacer system goes beyond the traditional spacer functions of separation and mud displacement. SHIELD BOND is specially formulated to allow cement circulation to the programmed top of cement (TOC) where the equivalent circulating density (ECD) window is tight, or in fragile and fractured formations.


With the SHIELD BOND spacer system pumped ahead of the cement, not only was the cement circulated to the surface, but it was done with a less costly 10 lb/gal lead slurry instead of the costlier 9.5 lb/gal recipe that had been standard in that area. In this example, 100-bbls of 9.7 lb/gal SHIELD BOND spacer system was pumped ahead the cement. The spacer was designed with 20-lb/bbl of spacer concentrate and an additional 10 lb/bbl of the SHIELD BOND LC3k. Along with the physical observation of cement returns to the surface, proof of spacer effective-ness can be gathered from
Figure 1 through examination of the smooth and steadily increasing pressure curve during the displacement period (15:50 – 16:45) after the bottom plug lands (see little spike) until the final spike (created when the top plug lands and seats with 5000 psi.Further proof of the complete circulation achieved with SHIELD BOND can be drawn
from the comparison of the pre-job simulated displacement pressure (that which is required to lift the cement; 245 minutes to 290 minutes) and the actual displacement pressure measured during the job. Losses are not taken into account during this prejob simulation. If losses were occurring during the job, the lift pressure would decrease and there would be a divergence between the two pressure curves. In Figure 2, both pressure curves remain remarkably parallel, until the plug lands. By circulating the cement to surface on the first try, substantial savings were achieved by eliminating the rig time and cementing costs associated with a top job, and the time and cost for a bond log.