Sustained Casing Pressure (SCP) in petroleum wells poses environmental risk and needs to be removed using either downhole intervention or annular intervention methods. The latter method involves displacing the annular fluid above the top of the gas-leaking well cement with a heavy fluid to increase the hydrostatic pressure and stop the gas leak. Past field applications of the method failed — most likely due to incompatibility of the two fluids. In this study, a see-through scaled-down hydraulic analog of the well’s annulus was designed and used for video-taped displacement experiments with clear synthetic-clay muds and heavy (kill) fluids. The results show that only immiscible hydrophobic kill fluids provide effective displacement. The study demonstrates importance of controlled injection of the kill fluid to set out efficient buoyant settling and prevent initial dispersion. A side- (versus top-) injection geometry and the injection rate data are analyzed to develop empirical correlation of maximum injection rate for a given properties of the two fluids.

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