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Hydraulic Testing of Compacted Bentonite Used for Plug and Abandonment Operations

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: The University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas(UQ CCSG) has investigated plugging wells with bentonite through laboratoryexperiments and with field trials. This paper presents the laboratory tests,which were used to investigate the stability range of plugged sections forlater well plug and abandonment operation designs. The plugs were tested on aspecially built well simulator facility at The University of Queensland (UQ),School of Chemical Engineering. The bentonite material used for the plugproduction was treated with water and 1weight polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) which acted as a binder to allow thebentonite to be pressed into a cylindrical shape suitable for dropping intovertical wells. The experiments have shown that the best performing plug casingsize combination is able to hold pressure gradients of up to 5.9 bar m (25.9psi ft) after 296 days of hydration before failing. Open hole simulations onthe testing facility showed surprisingly high failure pressure gradients of21.1 bar m (93.3 psi ft) after 146 days of hydration. The findings of thisresearch indicate that the use of compressed bentonite is a viable method forsealing wells, whether they can be coal seam gas wells, conventional oil and gas wells, water wells, orcoal exploration wells.

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