Within the oil and gas industry, in addition to mining operations, float collars are common components found within casing strings, situated near the bottom of the assembly. With float collars, casing strings can be protected from the harmful effects of backflow while loads are decreased, making them an important element of such operations. To help you better understand the role that float collars play in various industries, we will discuss their functionality and applications.
In general, float collars come in the form of short sections of casing, featuring tool joints on each end of the component. Such collars will have their own integral back pressure valve, this either being a spring-loaded ball or flapper type. With the implementation of the valve, any cement slurry present in a cementing operation will be prevented from flowing back into the assembly. In other operations, the valve performs a very similar role, differing in the backflow materials or substances that are blocked. The valve also allows a casing string to “float” when it is descended, decreasing the overall load placed on a derrick or mast.
Float collars are mated with casing strings anywhere from one to three sections above the assembly’s guide shoe, that of which performs the role of directing the casing string through a wellbore when it is lowered. When carrying out case running operations, the casing string will be situated within an open wellbore, and a derrick will ensure ample support for the casing string’s top portion. Without the presence of a back-pressure valve within the float collar, any reservoir fluids would begin to flow through the bore as sections of the casing are inserted into the wellbore. Additionally, the valve promotes increased governance over the casing string’s descent speed so that loads can be supported more efficiently.
Within cementing applications, the top of the casing string will be secured to an open wellbore. With the presence of slurry pumps, cement can be transported through the casing string’s bore, making its way through the annulus of the assembly. During these operations, the float collar will have two crucial functions, the first being to provide a landing post for cement plugs which are fed through the casing string prior to and after the cement slurry. One cement plug will be mated with the float collar, a spike of pressure during operations causing cement slurry to enter the annulus. Once the slurry has moved through the wellbore, the other cement plug will mate with the first plug’s seat. Aside from this role, float collars also ensure that no reverse flow of cement slurry occurs within the casing bore, protecting parts and components from damage.
When procuring float collars for your operations, it can be useful to know that there are two applicable standards for their design. The first standard is API RP 10F, and it concerns the evaluation of cementing float equipment performance. Meanwhile, the other standard is API RP 65, and it focuses on cementing shallow water flow zones that are present within deep water cells.
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