In the last few years, for sometime I had the opportunity to oversee the services of three different cementing contractors at the same time, the experience was actually quite interesting as I was constantly looking at similar cementing information, but presented to me in different ways.
Don’t get me wrong all was there for all three contractors, but I have to say, it took me a while to get used to all sort of different reports and templates. Particularly the topic of hydraulic simulation was motivating, as I like to challenge job models and explore scenarios to make things better or understand job’s outcome, I was able to measure each software capacity to truly assist in cementing engineering and producing better results.
However being on the operator’s side, the most important element for me was always the contractor’s cementing engineer and his/her understanding of two key elements: the importance of the data input and the significance of the output in real life.
In a way, the cement placement simulator and engineer should balance each other, but the cementing engineer is the only one who can make things work. For instance, if the cementing engineer does not understand what he/she is trying to accomplish with the job simulation, it does not matter the advancement of the simulation package, he/she will not be able to properly design a cement job. He/she for sure will be able to produce a nice set of pictures, charts and a long report, but he/she will not be able to deliver what is more important: SUCCESS.
Further to this introduction, I already used the proprietary cement placement simulator of the big ones before, but I must say that as a former Schlumberger employee for several years, I am more familiar with CemCADE (currently Schlumberger uses CEMENTICS). For this reason, initially it was always difficult for me to objectively see other similar software applications without bias (You know, for me CemCADE was the best!). But, when I had somebody else doing the simulation for me that was somehow gone, and I was able to look beyond the desired synergy between cementing engineer and software, and could look at the features of the simulation software more objectively, i.e., where these features sufficient to support a job case? or to explain the best course of action or a failure?
With all this in mind, I have decided to do a review on CEMPRO+. A software developed and commercialized by Pegasus Vertex, Inc. In this review, I promise to avoid my old Schlumberger bad habits and will make an emphasis only on the role of CEMPRO+ to design a successful cement job.
If you are a customer, please don’t forget that all what I am going to say could be strongly affected by the quality of the cementing engineer finally delivering a job design to you, as I previously highlighted. Thus in essence this review will be probably more meaningful to cementers, students or drilling engineers responsible to design cement jobs.
Let’s start by saying that Pegasus Vertex was established in year 2000, and CEMPRO has since the very beginning been the software of choice for small to large size service companies and academic institutions. The software is also available in various languages; and something I like a lot is the fact that feedback from customers is always taken into account when developing new versions. This revision is for CEMPRO+ version 18.104.22.168.
The review covered the following: experiencing the data input process, walking the workflow and an assessment of the output. The methodology was simple: I used old cement programs from my library (prepared in other software platforms) and re-ran then in CEMPRO+ using the original source data. A common feature shared by these old job programs is that the job outcome was not good (in terms of cement coverage as measured by cement logs). The reason: in all cases insufficient (improper) job design. Ultimately, the objective of this review was to identify the root cause and make the “corrections” in CEMPRO+.
The data input in CEMPRO+ follows a natural path common for most cementing and drilling software, starting with the well information (survey, formation, temperature and wellbore) entered first, followed by the definition of the pipes (Drill pipes, casing, etc.). These first two elements define the cementing geometry and conditions in place, then finally the fluid section to describe the pumping and cementing fluids. I have to say that the input process was comprehensive in general, but without previous training, it took me a while to go through the wellbore, pipe and fluid section. The pipe and wellbore sections in particular were a little more confusing at first, as I could not see the schematic that I was building simultaneously. I also found a bit distracting so many side buttons, but with more training and familiarization with the application the process must be more expedite.
There is some information that is either requested or displayed that could probably be better in the background or in an additional settings tab. Information, like heat capacity, conductivity, friction factor, etc. could probably be better just linked (auto-filled) to the selection of a formation or fluid type. Overall, just to make the data entering process easier and more focused on the relevant parameters.
Following the data input, getting to the simulation output is just a click away and at least in my computer all the calculation transpired relatively fast and smooth. The output is full with information and you can almost have everything you need. Once again, it took me a while to be familiar with the display but it was pleasant to see here the usability and potential of the application.
In all cases, the output values of pressure, ECD and u-tube were in very close agreement with those in my old simulations files from other applications. Actually, no surprises there but I had to check on that anyway.
Finally, I was not very happy with the Displacement efficiency feature. This is a characteristic that is now common in cement placement simulation software and it has to do with estimating the cement annular coverage as affected by fluids dynamics. The whole idea is to design a cement job in a more visual way, rather that just using charts and tables. This makes a lot of sense because cement jobs are finally evaluated in real life visually through images derived from a cement log (both sonic and ultrasonic logs can produce a circumferential image). These images are originated from cement presence in the annular space or cement coverage, but in practice there are many other factors affecting their true meaning. Anyway, I am not going to discuss cement logs now, what is important is that a feature like Displacement efficiency in CEMPRO+ can ideally help in “predicting” the cement log, and if that is finally achieved even eliminating the necessity of logging at all; when for instance a local practice reaches to that point. This is the value and power of predicting cement coverage.
Nevertheless, let’s go back to my original point; I was not so happy because I found the displacement efficiency simulation with CEMPRO+ being a little too optimistic in terms of cement coverage, if compared with my previous reports. Don’t get me wrong; my previous simulation didn’t predict perfectly the cement log (and before you ask, yes the log was taken after sufficient time) but the overall picture did follow the same cement coverage pattern. In the case of CEMPRO+ the prediction showed more cement coverage to the point that if we hypothetically go back to the design stage, the prediction by CEMPRO+ could have been considered suitable in first place.
Next, I changed the CEMPRO+ design entering new values, in standoff, rheology, fluid volumes and rates. I previously obtained these new values when I did the exercise before with my old programs and software. These values were corrections in the design file to get a closer match to the cement log using the cement coverage feature in my previous software. Consistently, the results or prediction by CEMPRO+ was more optimistic than my old design and obviously even more than the image in the log.
Just to clarify, the design “corrections” in my old simulations were not done as a post-job analysis exercise using the actual job data. Instead, back then my objective was to work from the job design point of view to achieve a closer prediction to the cement log as an alternative mean to understand the failure rather than attempting to recreate it in the simulator with post-job analysis.
In summary, CEMPRO+ is a well structure and workable hydraulic software application that can definitively be used to design successful cement jobs. Like any other software application it requires training and familiarization with its functionalities, but I found its workflow and input process to be definitely more comprehensive than in any other application I used before and I can properly say that you can surely get a good grasp of it, and be up and running, in relatively short time.
Conversely, for this review I could not validate the Displacement efficiency functionality for this version. I know this feature was not introduced lightly and for sure there is a lot of science and work done by the developers. Therefore, I remain interested in looking at some practical validation examples; cement log vs. simulation output.
I hope this review is useful, but if you have any comments or personal experiences to share please feel free to add them below in the comment area.
Disclaimer: Software reviews are a personal opinion intended to provide feedback based on an individual experience. In this way it must be understood that several people might have different, positive or negatives, opinions about the same specific feature or the software application in general.