Annulus pressure buildup (APB) is still a serious problem in offshore gas wells, which threatens the safety of wells for the entire phases of drilling, completion, and production. The existing methods for mitigating APB are technically complex and highly costly. Setting top of cement (TOC) below the outer casing shoe to mitigate APB is easy to implement and can significantly reduce costs. However, there are no unified methods of determining TOC for this purpose. Nevertheless, existing petroleum standards give ambiguous regulations on the setting of TOC. This article brings a new and cheap method of mitigating APB by determining best TOC settings using a mathematical model for calculating APB from both annulus fluid expansion (AFE) and sustained casing pressure (SCP). Field data from gas well X are inputted to the model to describe how it serves this purpose. Calculation results for well X show that setting TOC's above and below the upper casing shoes for production and intermediate casings annuli, respectively, can greatly avoid the problem of APB and the costs associated with the existing mitigation methods. This technique can be used to other wells following the same procedures. The developed model reduced greatly the ambiguity of TOC determination as it helps to get the clear TOC combinations that control APB at the lowest cost of well construction while maintaining good and safe well operation.

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