Degradation of oilwell cement due to exposure to carbonated brine

Andrew Duguid, George W. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


The growing interest in geologic carbon sequestration has highlighted the need for more data on how well cements react to CO2 exposure. This paper describes a series of experiments that was conducted to examine the effects of flowing carbonated brine on well cements. Class H cement pastes were exposed to the ranges of temperature (20-50 °C) and pH (2.4-5) characteristic of geosequestration conditions at a depth of about 1 km. The exposed cements and the reactor effluents were analyzed using multiple techniques including optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, EPMA, and ICP-OES. The results showed that if the solution was pre-equilibrated with calcium carbonate, as would be expected in a limestone formation, there was no detectable attack. However, under the pH and temperature conditions to be expected in a sandstone formation, the initial rate of attack was on the order of millimeters per month. The outer layers of the cements reacted under sandstone-like conditions were fully degraded based on the results of the XRD and EPMA analyses. Inside the degraded layers there was a calcium carbonate-rich layer, a layer depleted of calcium hydroxide, and an unreacted cement core. The rate of degradation of the cement in these experiments was controlled by the rate of dissolution of the calcium carbonate-rich layer, after its formation, and diffusion through the fully degraded layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-560
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbonation
  • Carbonic acid
  • Well cement


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