Nature’s solution to wellbore gas-leakage: Gilsonite

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Increasing complexity, environmental regulations and the need for economic efficiency requires long term integrity of wellbores more than ever. A cement sheath’s primary function is to maintain wellbore integrity by providing total isolation from surrounding formations and the wellbore. Opposing the primary function of the cement sheath is hydrocarbon migration through 2 major interfaces; 1. Cement/Casing Interface, 2. Cement/Formation Interface. While hydrocarbon migration hazards vary from miniscule psi changes at surface to major blowouts the unwanted potential environmental hazards can ultimately affect economic returns. This study focuses on the use of a naturally occurring wellbore cement additive: Gilsonite as a potential agent in the mitigation of micro-annular flow because of its unique affinity to hydrocarbons. Gilsonite’s affinity and its potential to absorb hydrocarbons in the cement matrix is analyzed through microstructural analysis of hydrocarbon interaction with Gilsonite grains. The goal of this study is to provide a proof of concept to encourage further microstructural analysis of Gilsonite’s ability to inhibit micro-annular flow. This study is comprised of two separate phases; Phase 1 consists of experimentation on pure Gilsonite to gauge its affinity to hydrocarbons, while Phase 2 examines Gilsonite as part of the cement matrix.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

53rd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium

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