ENGINEERING, CONSTRUCTION, & INSTALLATION
Integrated approach enhances
conductor removal efficiency
P&A in maturing wells becoming a growing priority
As an integral and critical component of well P&A, conductor emoval requires efficiency and safety in order to ensure op- erating companies comply with increasing regulations and maintain environmental stewardship. Globally, Weatherford estimates 20,000 idle offshore wells are currently in need of
P&A services, which account for around 43% of total well abandonment costs. The spend globally for decommissioning over the next
20-year period is estimated at $400 billion, the percentage of that associated with well abandonment and pre abandonment intervention
is estimated at circa 40%.
Regulations require that wells must be abandoned when they
have matured and are no longer productive due to depletion or
damage, or cannot be revitalized cost-effectively. In some regions,
governing bodies will not issue new permits to an operator until the
company’s idle wells are formally abandoned.
In the Gulf of Mexico, if a well has not been productive for three or
more years, the operating company must develop an abandonment
plan specifying a timeframe and methodology for the process. The
maturing North Sea sector is also highly regulated when it comes to
well abandonment. Stricter regulations are being developed for the
Asia/Pacific region, where a large number of old wells are now candidates for P&A, the overwhelming majority of them on platform wells.
For service companies, P&A operations require thorough planning and operational excellence. Projects must be carried out in an
efficient, safe, and in an environmentally-responsible way while complying with regulatory framework that varies from region to region.
In response to this growing market, Weatherford has developed
a portfolio of services designed to facilitate single-source well P&A
operations, including conductor removal from multi-well and single-jack platforms and mono-wells. In June 2014, the company completed a four-well conductor removal project for a major operator in
Brunei, successfully recovering 24 joints and a total of 1,129 ft ( 60
m) of pipe in just over 100 hours.
The suite of services used for the operation provided a one-time
solution, minimizing overall costs related to non-productive time
(NPT) and additional remediation that can result from poorly-planned and executed projects. Safety was enhanced by using equipment that mitigated the risk of lifting and eliminated manual handling and gas torch/hot work issues.
Removal of the conductor, the outer pipe casing that houses the
internal casing string, can be facilitated with an existing rig at the
well site, or by using a rigless solution with a light-duty pulling and
jacking unit. If executed properly, conductor removal also provides
a secondary benefit of facilitating slot recovery on multi-well platforms. After the conductor is removed below the mudline, the operator can install a conductor-type whipstock and drill a new well in
the same platform, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure.
Cham Soon Hoe
The Rig-Free Light Duty unit provides a solution
for platforms with space and structural limitation.
(Photos courtesy Weatherford)