Volume 20, Issue 1 (March 1997)
Ultrasonic Method for Evaluation of Annular Seals for Wells and Instrument Holes
An ultrasonic testing method employing the pulse-echo inspection technique was developed to assess the integrity of annular seals surrounding casings (i.e., instrument tubes or well casings). This nondestructive testing method permits testing a seal from inside a casing without disturbing the casing, seal, or formation. Seals constructed with cement-based and bentonite-based sealants surrounding various types and sizes of casings can be evaluated using the method. An evaluation is conducted by sending and receiving ultrasonic waves using a single piezoelectric transducer and commercially available hardware (a pulser receiver and a waveform analyzer). A probe was designed and constructed for downhole testing. Differences in the ultrasonic responses of the materials in contact with a casing are analyzed to determine the presence of different materials (seal or defects filled with air or water in a seal) outside a casing.