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Thermal insulating packer fluids have been widely used in deepwater completions. Undesired heat loss to the surrounding environment accelerates the formation of gas hydrate, paraffin and asphaltene depositions, which creates significant flow assurance concerns. Significant reduction in heat loss has been achieved using insulating packer fluids. Even greater heat losses are expected during normal shut-in operations and, in the event that an unexpected, long-term shut-in is required, heat retention capability of the insulating fluid becomes critical. Failing to properly design the insulating fluid can result in severe deposit of troublesome gas hydrates, paraffin and asphaltene, and even prevent the re-start of the well without assistance from chemical injection.
An insulating packer fluid was selected and applied to a deepwater project in GOM in order to prevent asphaltene/paraffin deposition, based on well profile analysis and produced hydrocarbon properties. Recently, this well had to be shut-in for more than 30 days...
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