The University of New Mexico (Geomechanics Laboratory)  

Albuquerque,  NM 
United States
  • Booth: 701

We will display our projects and latest inventions (patent pending) - A new approach for sealing crude oil leakage through wellbore cement fracture and Profiler - An autonomous instrument for scanning and determining the material surface roughness

 Press Releases

  • Ishtiaque Anwar, John C. Stormont, and Mahmoud Reda Taha

    Department of civil, construction and environmental engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, United States

    Wellbores provide below ground access for a multitude of operations, including fluid storage, waste disposal, and oil/gas exploration. These wellbores typically consist of a steel casing surrounded by cement which creates a seal between the host rock and the casing. The integrity of the cement can easily be compromised from factors such as construction-related flaws, the harsh chemical environment within a wellbore, and thermal and mechanical stress changes acting on the wellbore.  Crude oil is a natural carbonaceous fluid, a complex mixture of a variety of chemical compounds (polar and non-polar), and it can leak upward through cement fractures in the wellbore casing. These leaks can cause substantial environmental contamination. Also, this can substantially compromise the functionality of the wellbore system. Modified Portland cement, polymer-based compounds, and swelling technologies have been used to repair leaky wells. However, these materials/techniques are not always cost-effective and applicable for small aperture fractures. The need for an economically feasible solution that exhibits universal effectiveness is critical to eliminate further wellbore flaws and environmental pollution.

    Researchers from the University of New Mexico have utilized the technique of in-situ migration and separation of ions/components from crude oil to seal wellbore cement fractures. The pressure gradient that drives the crude oil leakage in the wellbores causes aggregation of tacky particles or micelle deposition in crude oil.  A thin layer of micelle deposition adsorbed in fracture interface has been observed experimentally, which can temporarily reduce the fracture aperture but does not provide a permanent solution.  Sufficient gas or liquid pressure, such as during a mechanical integrity test, will dislodge the deposited micelles and negate the sealing effect. The proposed technique will improve the clogging mechanism and cause comparatively thicker and more viscous deposition in the fracture interface by an added attraction energy between the fracture interface and micelles.  Induced liquid flow opposite to the direction of the crude oil leakage will not only be an effective approach to reduce leakage rate but also accelerate the deposition mechanism.  Further, this technique will generate an additional motion of tacky dispersed particles in the crude oil, which will aid in blocking the leakage route. With simpler control, such a technique is capable of effectively sealing a variety of cement fractures in multiple leaky wellbores simultaneously.


    • Simultaneously applicable to multiple leaky wellbores (old and new)
    • Effectively seals multiple small fractures of varying aperture size and roughness
    • Affordable and cost-effective leakage repair solution
    • Efficient elapsed time-fix without continuous human interaction
    • Applicable to both detectable and undetectable fractures with active leakage
    • Can be utilized in conjunction with conventional repair methods to reduce cost
    • Substantially reduces the galvanic corrosion of the wellbore casing
    • Realtime automatic/ remote adjustment is possible based on need

    For more details:

  • Ishtiaque Anwar, Mahya Hatambeigi, and John C. Stormont.

    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, United States

    Profiler is an autonomous system that is capable of accurately measuring the roughness and creating 3D representations of almost any material surface. In this device, an indicator (contact or non-contact) moves along the surface and continuously records the heights. Profiler is capable of accurately measuring the surface roughness of even relatively large samples. The resolution of the system is as low as 1 micron in any direction. As the system scans the sample, surface height data are recorded in the computer and standard roughness parameters are automatically calculated and shown on the screen. Profiler can be programmed to make measurements and data analysis as per need. An advantage of this apparatus is that the indicator may be chosen based on the requirements of the application, and thus it can be used for a wide variety of materials and purposes. Optional accessories such as built-in camera will generate an optical image of the complete surface together with the 3D profile.


    • High-resolution measurements as low as 1 micron
    • Capable of scanning comparatively bigger sample area
    • Economic and affordable solution
    • Customizable as per emerging needs
    • Automated data collection and processing system
    • Special indicators for different surfaces eliminating frequent maintenance