Plug Setting

At some point in the life of the well, even if only at the end of life, a chemical (cement or resin) plug will be used.  The particular challenge of setting a chemical plug is that a relatively small volume of cement or resin is placed in a wellbore already containing a large volume of fluid.  Considerations for achieving a successful plug operation include (but are not limited to): temperature, stability of the well architecture, stability of the formation, displacement of existing fluid, avoiding contamination of the chemical material, compatibility with existing fluids, a reasonably short wait-on-set time, achieving sufficient mechanical and chemical strength and long-term resiliency. 

Cementing plugs are used for:

  • Securing formation fluids in the originating strata and sealing off selected intervals of
    • A depleted well;
    • An exploration well;
    • A dry hole;
    • To meet regulatory specifications for plug-to-abandon.
  • Stabilizing the whipstock tool or simply setting a kick-off plug used to guide a change of direction for the drill bit
    • Toward an otherwise inaccessible target;
    • For shoreline drilling;
    • Relief-well drilling;
    • Sidetracking;
    • Drilling under salt domes;
    • Enhanced reservoir contact.
  • Isolation of a specific zone that presents a concern such as
    • A water zone
    • A zone prone to lost circulation such as a depleted zone or an unconsolidated formation strata
  • Formation testing when the reservoir zone is significantly above the bottom of the well and it is not practical or possible to set a bridge plug or a sidewall anchor in the open-hole section below (if it is a long open hole section).

Plug Setting Challenges

Cement Plug-Setting  Challenges If Unaddressed
Efficiently achieve all regulatory barrier requirements (such as plug locations throughout the wellbore, effective coverage area of plugs, plug integrity, etc.) for plug-to-abandon while maintaining economical material and operational costs.

Additional rig time and costs, increased material costs; potential safety and environmental risks.

Successfully isolating formation fluids to their original stratum eliminating crossflow and/or preventing escape to the surface.  This may include successfully sealing the flow paths through gravel packs and perforations.

Additional operational costs until all conduits are sealed; potential loss of production; potential safety and environmental risks; possible fines and penalty fees.

Avoid plug material becoming contaminated from existing wellbore / formation fluids.

Loss of mechanical integrity resulting in leaks; additional rig and material costs; potential safety and environmental risks.

Successfully direct drill string on the intended or alternate trajectory.

Non-productive time. 

Plug placement. 

Plug movement and/or not achieving plug set in the planned location.

Solutions for Plug Setting

Chemical Plugs

FlexPlug® Lost Circulation Service
Quick and cost effective engineered, chemical solution for stopping lost circulation in natural or induced fractures, vugs, channels in weak zones, or flowing over-pressured zones.
STEELSEAL® Lost Circulation Material
Resilient, dual composition carbon-based material that increases lubricity
WellLock® Resin
WellLock® resin can act as an annular barricade against water and gas leaks.
SentinelCem™ Cement
Specifically designed to cure losses and enable further drilling by achieving early static gel strength; helps achieve zonal isolation by accomplishing intended top of cement.
BridgeMaker™ LCM Spacer Fluid
An environmentally friendly blend designed to overcome lost circulation while preparing the wellbore to receive cement.
LockCem™ and LockSeal™ Cement Systems
LockCem™ cement represents a Portland cement and resin blend; LockSeal™ cement is the foam version of the slurry system.
Thermatek® Fluids
A new generation of chemical treatments used to provide engineered solutions when drilling or producing fractured, unconsolidated or watered out formations.

Mechanical Barriers

Plug Setting Aids
The CST™ cement support tool, tubing release tool (TRT), bottomhole kickoff assembly (BHKA) disconnect tool, and bottomhole kickoff assembly (BHKA) tool system were designed to aid in setting balanced and competent cement plugs during remedial and primary cementing operations.
Swellpacker® Zonal Isolation System
The Swellpacker® swellable elastomer zonal isolation system is a packer based on the swelling properties of rubber in hydrocarbon.
EZ Drill® SVB Squeeze Packer
The EZ Drill® SVB Squeeze Packer has a brass mandrel that is stronger and more ductile than the cast-iron mandrel in EZ Drill SV Squeeze Packers. As a result, the packer can absorb greater tensile and impact loads as well as greater internal pressures.
Plug Setting Design and Planning
iCem® Service
Runs various simulations according to specific wellbore architecture design data provided by the operator. Based on computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis, the simulations help enable the evaluation and optimization of cement designs to specifically address the operational and long-term parameters of individual wells.

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  TitleНазвание  DateДата
Summary Summary iCem Service - Laboratory Validation
The University of Adelaide in Australia was selected to assess the dynamic evolution of fluid concentration in the wellbore as a function of time. This flow visualization study assessed the dynamics of fluid-to-fluid displacmeent in eccentric annuli.
Summary Summary ZoneSeal Isolation Process and Foam Systems
The ZoneSeal Isolation Process helps ensure a stable, foamed slurry. The process includes a fully integrated automated system that adjusts nitrogen content to maintain constant density by accounting for increasing hydrostatic pressure with depth.
Summary Summary WellLock Resin System
WellLock resin system can function as a gas-impermeable secondary barrier to the primary cement sheath. It is also ideal for squeeze applications and microannuli repairs or for permanent plug and abandonment. It can be solid laden or used as a pure clean fluid.
Summary Summary SentinelCem Cement
SentinelCem cement is specifically designed to cure losses and enable further drilling and help achieve zonal isolation by accomplishing intended top of the cement. The solution can be easily applied to losses varying from seepage to a complete loss of returns.
Summary Summary Permanent Plug Back - Setting a Plug through the BHA - New Zealand Offshore
Offshore New Zealand, an operator had drilled a pilot hole to gather petrophysical data. Once the data gathering was completed the pilot section needed to be permanently plugged, but accomplished without pulling out the BHA.
Summary Summary Rigless Micro-channel Remedation Using WellLock Resin
A customer in New South Wales, Australia had an onshore coal seam gas well that had undergone an unsatisfactory plug-to-abandon process by a third-party cementing services company. WellLock resin successfully sealed a very narrow micro-channel securing the well for permanent abandonment.
Summary Summary Fresh Approach Pays Off -- Innovation of WellLock resin system
This article originally ran in the "Innovators" section of the March 2015 issue of Canada's "New Technology" Magazine. It features the development work toward what became WellLock resin by Dr. P. Jones.
Summary Summary EZ Drill® SVB Squeeze Packer
The EZ Drill® SVB Squeeze Packer has a brass mandrel that is stronger and more ductile than the cast-iron mandrel in EZ Drill SV Squeeze Packers. As a result, the packer can absorb greater tensile and impact loads as well as greater internal pressures.
Summary Summary Swellpacker® Zonal Isolation System
The Swellpacker® swellable elastomer zonal isolation system is a packer based on the swelling properties of rubber in hydrocarbon.
Summary Summary iCem® Service
Runs various simulations according to specific wellbore architecture design data provided by the operator. Based on computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis, the simulations help enable the evaluation and optimization of cement designs to specifically address the operational and long-term parameters of individual wells.
Summary Summary Plug Setting Aids
The CST™ cement support tool, tubing release tool (TRT), bottomhole kickoff assembly (BHKA) disconnect tool, and bottomhole kickoff assembly (BHKA) tool system were designed to aid in setting balanced and competent cement plugs during remedial and primary cementing operations.
Summary Summary WellLock® Resin
WellLock® resin can act as an annular barricade against water and gas leaks.
Summary Summary SentinelCem™ Cement
Specifically designed to cure losses and enable further drilling by achieving early static gel strength; helps achieve zonal isolation by accomplishing intended top of cement.
Summary Summary BridgeMaker™ LCM Spacer Fluid
An environmentally friendly blend designed to overcome lost circulation while preparing the wellbore to receive cement.
Summary Summary LockCem™ and LockSeal™ Cement Systems
LockCem™ cement represents a Portland cement and resin blend; LockSeal™ cement is the foam version of the slurry system.
Summary Summary Plug Setting
Setting chemical (cement or resin) plugs can be challenging because of low temperatures, hole stability issues, limited volumes and fluid contamination. However, at some point in the overall life of the well, plugs will be required for reasons such as directional drilling, formation testing, zonal isolation, and well abandonment.
Summary Summary Thermatek® Fluids
A new generation of chemical treatments used to provide engineered solutions when drilling or producing fractured, unconsolidated or watered out formations.
Summary Summary FlexPlug® Lost Circulation Service
Quick and cost effective engineered, chemical solution for stopping lost circulation in natural or induced fractures, vugs, channels in weak zones, or flowing over-pressured zones.
Summary Summary STEELSEAL® Lost Circulation Material
Resilient, dual composition carbon-based material that increases lubricity
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