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Wellbore Tubulars

Why steel casing or tubing? What does that choice have to do with sustainability? Is it time to change? These are a few of the questions we need to think about to move from the status quo, and we need to use technology, engineering, and innovation to reduce not only the surface footprint but also the downhole footprint.

Composites are making inroads and continue to replace steel in other industries such as aerospace, automotive, and the renewable-energy segment. The follow-up question is, “Is it sustainable and relevant to our industry under harsher and deeper environments?” Different types of components exist, including reinforcement and the matrix, that can be adjusted and modified to be used for downhole conditions without compromising well integrity.

There are compelling answers to those questions. Composites have high strength-to-weight ratios that result in low weight and high energy absorption. They have high stiffness and high durability, including corrosion resistance, less fracture toughness, and dimensional stability. Added distinctive advantages of composites are that they are excellent electric and thermal insulators.

On the other hand, there are challenges very specific and unique to our industry such as anisotropic properties, modulus matrices, ability to withstand thermomechanical loading, unknown stress/strain under tension/compression, unknown failure envelopes under internal pressure, bending loads, external pressures, tensile loads, and torsional load conditions. Additional challenges include material-properties degradation under wear conditions and composite-to-metal joining if necessary. For this, a phased approach may be necessary. Development of new products will require conservative design consisting of modeling with improved physics and improved models with experimental results involving compression state, buckling, and collapse for various slenderness ratios. Nonetheless, we are making inroads with composites.

Looking to the future and considering sustainability, switching to composite casings in the coming years is necessary. I have selected papers that are structured toward using composites and, to some extent, answering the questions I have raised.

This Month's Technical Papers

Future of Nonmetallic Composite Materials in Downhole Applications

Glass-Reinforced Epoxy Effective Alternative to Alloys in Gas Wells

High-Density Polyethylene Liner Safeguards Against Corrosion and Wear

Robello Samuel, SPE, is a technology fellow at Halliburton based in Houston. He has more than 35 years of multidisciplinary experience in domestic and international oil and gas drilling and, for the past 15 years, has held concurrent adjunct-professor appointments at the University of Houston and the University of Southern California. Samuel has published 13 books and more than 180 technical paper and holds 366 patents. In 2013, he received the SPE Gulf Coast Section Drilling Engineering Award, and, the following year, he was named an SPE Distinguished Lecturer. Samuel holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering and MS and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering from The University of Tulsa and is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee.

Wellbore Tubulars

Robello Samuel, SPE, Technology Fellow, Halliburton

17 June 2020

Volume: 72 | Issue: 7

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