DRILLING & COMPLETION
New approach offers a proactive tool for well integrity
There are few more high profle issues in the offshore oil and gas sector today than well integrity. Regulators are increas- ing scrutiny on offshore drilling and production operations. These range from the US Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement through to the UK’s Health & Safety Executive
and Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority, among others.
Morgan Stanley predicts that 27 MMb/d of new production must
come onstream over the next seven years to meet rising energy
demand. Maximizing production and tapping into new offshore oil
and gas frontier regions has never been more important. Increased
regulatory scrutiny with its focus on well integrity, however, has led
to an urgent need to fnd that balance between reducing risk in well
operations while increasing production and well proftability.
Despite the growing importance of well integrity, questions remain about its role in a well’s lifecycle. What exactly is well integrity
and when does it start in the well lifecycle? Is it possible to protect
it and at what stage? How can a safe and effective balance be found
between protecting well integrity while maximizing production?
One common defnition of well integrity today used worldwide
comes from Standards Norway and its NORSOK D-010 standard,
describing well integrity as the “application of technical, operational
and organizational solutions to reduce risk of uncontrolled release
of formation fuids throughout the life cycle of a well.”
Too often today, this “application of technical, operational, and or-
ganizational solutions” takes place in a reactive manner where prob-
lems are dealt with and fxed after they occur and where the main
focus remains well monitoring. This reactive approach can lead to
drilling disruptions, rising costs, and ultimately lost production.
A new well integrity approach is required where well integrity is
secured at the outset of the well design and drilling program, and
where weak spots and trouble zones are tackled during well plan-
ning. This allows operators to build in contingencies, reduce risk,
and protect and enhance future production. One technology en-
abling this proactive approach is Metalmorphology.
Metalmorphology is an established metal-working principle that
balances the mechanical properties of steel with its geometric prop-
erties (diameter and wall thickness) to shape metal downhole.
Similar to hydroforming in the automotive industry, Metalmorphology forms metal through direct hydraulic fuid pressure in a
downhole environment, resulting in a robust and durable metal-to-metal connection. The instant setting capabilities of the technology
also create a seal that literally morphs together, conforming to the
shape of the wellbore downhole.
Metalmorphology can be of beneft by removing any delays and
uncertainties in using swellables, concerns about the reliability of
perishable elastomer seals, and problems created with internal diameter (ID) restrictions.
The technology has high-pressure and axial loading capabilities
and it also provides a permanent and gas tight, life-of-well solution.
Secondly, the fact that morphing takes place immediately and follows the well’s contours with 100% conformance accelerates drilling
and enables wells to be put into production more quickly. Swellables
Forming metal downhole
results in durable
Looking inside a Meta Liner Tieback.