Pressure on the oil and gas well infrastructure continues to be challenged by ever-increasing global demand. In its World Oil Outlook 2018, OPEC predicts primary energy demand will increase by 33% to 2040, with oil remaining the fuel with the largest share in the energy mix (1).
The intervention challenge
It is therefore important that the industry looks for new and innovative techniques to enhance production from existing wells. With a revitalised focus on expenditure, the industry has been presented with a dual responsibility: to maximise the recovery of hydrocarbons to satisfy growing demand requirements, and to do this in the safest and most cost-efficient manner possible. A third challenge is to ensure that once wells have been exhausted of their resources, they are decommissioned or abandoned using the most responsible, safe and efficient methods that comply with legal requirements.
Issues such as well barrier failure and plug and abandonment (P&A) demand efficient solutions. Research gathered by Expro suggests approximately 19% of the world’s gas wells suffer from a degree of leakage, while a common location for a well leak (loss of barrier) can typically be found in the annulus between the casing strings.
The consequences can be severe. From a safety perspective, annulus pressure and casing leaks represent the risk of an uncontrolled release of pressure from the well, which in turn could result in the release of hydrocarbons and other formation fluids and in the worst-case scenario, a blowout.
With cost reduction a key challenge in the modern industry, attention on the role workovers and interventions can play in safely extending field life or managing abandonment has never been greater.
Expro has been a leading global provider of intervention services for more than 40 years and has recently acquired Quality Intervention (QI) which added new coiled tubing technology, annular integrity technology and innovative in-situ wellhead remediation tooling to its product and services range. This has enabled Expro to build on its existing P&A offering and expand into a coiled tubing and pumping service market, valued by the company at an estimated $6.3 billion.
The CoilHose Light Well Circulation System (LWCS) is drastically changing the intervention market by substituting the conventional steel coiled tubing with hose.
The CoilHose System has been deployed on multiple occasions with more than 100 runs in live wells and has enabled rigless light circulation services from a package with a relatively small footprint. It offers operators an alternative to traditional coiled tubing that can be rapidly deployed across all types of installations both onshore and offshore including riserless subsea applications, reducing overall HSE exposure while maximising operational uptime.
Rig-up time for the new system is no more than four hours, the number of personnel required ranges from four to six (compared to up to 11 or even more for coiled tubing), lifting requirements are limited and it can be deployed almost universally across all types of installations and into the most challenging of wellbores at temperatures ranging up to 150°C.
Applications include downhole safety valve (DHSV) and wellhead cleanout, nitrogen gas lift or unloading wells, memory logging services, halite and hydrate removal, tubing cleanout and fluid displacement.
The development of CoilHose is drastically changing the intervention market by delivering a novel, safe and cost-effective solution to conventional coiled tubing. It is emblematic of a broader drive towards enhanced and improved intervention innovation in the oil and gas industry, to maximise value from mature wells and ensure their safe abandonment.