Gilsonite or natural asphalt use in oil well cementing is the process of pumping cement slurry down the annulus between the casing and wellbore. Gilsonite is added to oil and gas well drilling mud to stabilize the borehole and decrease friction; it is also used in oil well cements.
In the formulation of the cementing composition of the invention, it is preferable to employ gilsonite cement in an amount ranging from approximately one-half to approximately ten times by volume the amount of the cement utilized, depending upon the particular result desired.
The lower range is employed where maximum strength is important; the higher range where the various qualities imparted by the gilsonite cement are most important.
Particle size and particle size distribution of the gilsonite cementing determine the strength and porosity-permeability characteristics of the set cement for any given mix ratio.
Where maximum strength is desirable, a coarse gilsonite cementing Where lightest weight and lowest porosity-permeability are important and strength is to be sacrificed or is of little importance, an aggregate of minus 50 mesh or finer may be used.Natural asphalt in cemeneting of well applying since 100 years!
Conditions are often encountered in the field requiring various combinations of particle size and particle size distribution. The above examples represent extremes. The mix must, however, always be pumpable through the system from the mixing point to the final point of placement of the cement slurry. The coarser the aggregate, the less that may be present in any given slurry without impeding pumpability.
For example, a cement-gilsonite ration of 1:4, using the coarse aggregate specified above, is difficult to pump and is likely to plug restricted passages in the system, whereas the same mix, using the fine aggregate specified above, will never plug if the water-cement ratio is high enough.
An amount of a petroleum solvent which depends upon the amount of gilsonite present, may be added to the wet or dry mix for wetting the surface of the gilsonite cementing particles and causing them to form an intimate bond with casing and earth formations of the bore hole, thus preventing corrosion and minimizing pulling away of the cement from the casing and/or bore hole wall by reason of the shrinkage normal to setting of the cement.
Instead of adding the solvent directly to the mix, it may be pumped through the casing and into the cementing zone in advance of the gilsonite-cement slurry.