In-Situ Adhesive Strength Study of "Oilygel".
- With the recent rise in offshore oil exploration there had been a demand for a safe and easily deployable method of oil well containment in the event of blowouts and other emergencies. In response to this call Aspen Aerogel has developed "oilygel." A byproduct of a chemical reaction, "oilygel" forms a semi rigid gel. This gel has exhibited many useful characteristics among which are a high cohesive ... read morestrength, the ability to solidify in the presence of hydrocarbons, and adhesive properties. To determine the viability of "oilygel" as a successful containment method a rig has been constructed to simulate an oil well cross section and allow for the determination of the adhesive strength of the "oilygel" as a function of surface area. This rig has shown that the "oilygel's" adhesive strength increases monotonically as a function of sample length. As the diameter of oil production casing is more or less constant the diameter of these samples was held constant to maintain the validity of the experiment. By developing an adhesive strength correlation for the "oilygel" it was then possible to determine the appropriate length of the "oilygel" necessary to effectively contain a renegade oil well. Based on a 25.4 mm cross section and a typical formation pressure of 32.06 MPa this experiment showed that the "oilygel" plug would need to be 100.17 m in length. For a typical production casing with a diameter of around 127 mm this length would need to be around 1604.4 m. However, adhesive strength had been shown to increase with the width of the adhered area so this length could be appreciably shorter. Regardless this length is within reason given that typical well bores extend more than 3218 m into the ground.read less
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