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Technical Presentations Roundup

Accurate diagnosis raises the game on well integrity management.

Blizzard conditions failed to prevent a large number of SPE Aberdeen members, including a hardy contingent of Heriot- Watt students from Edinburgh, from attending the Section’s first meeting of the year, on 23 January.

In his comprehensive presentation, ‘Information to action: the pivotal role of accurate diagnosis in the management of well integrity issues’, Tobben Tymons, Marketing Manager (Wireline Eastern Hemisphere) with Archer, the global oilfield service provider, outlined to his audience the scale and nature of the well integrity challenge; described how integrity issues can be accurately diagnosed, and demonstrated through detailed case studies how high-quality diagnostic information led to successful outcomes in two very different industry scenarios.

Tobben began with the wakeup call that well integrity issues are exposing the global oil and gas industry to significant HSE hazards and costing the industry more than $1billion per day in lost potential production – a sobering statistic based on independently-verified research by OTM Consultants and production and hydrocarbon price information from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

“A typical well is built from over 2000 individual components and systems and is expected to perform for many years exposed to the harshest conditions on the planet. Not surprisingly, well systems can and do fail,” he said. “This outcome may be an inevitability – the data I’m about to show you confirms that well failure is a common occurrence – but as we know, well failures can have dramatic, even catastrophic, consequences. It is therefore a non-trivial matter.”

As the slide shows, well integrity issues present a significant global challenge, indiscriminately affecting onshore and offshore wells across all regions. “OTM has estimated that approximately 38% of global wells are affected by well integrity issues,” Tobben said. “Of this total, nearly 20% are operating under dispensation and 19% are actually shut-in. This means our collective well stock is only 70-80% efficient.”

technology enabled accurate diagnosis of the root causes of two diverse well failures, thereby – according to client testimonial – playing a key role in a) quickly and cost-effectively re-establishing integrity of a production well in EnQuest’s UKCS Don South West field and b) in providing assurance that water injection could continue with no risk to operations, as well as providing a baseline for future integrity monitoring, for one of the two water disposal wells at Shell’s Pearl GTL Plant, in Qatar.

Well integrity is one aspect of Archer’s overall drilling and well services portfolio. The global oilfield service provider employs over 8,100 personnel through 118 global locations, with key regional bases in the North Sea, Middle East, Asia, North and Latin America.

You can read more by downloading Tobben’s presentation from the Aberdeen Events Past Presentations section, at:

SPE Aberdeen’s monthly meetings programme is kindly sponsored by Archer and Shell.

London More than 180 SPE London members packed the auditorium at the Geological Society, on 29 January, in a record-breaking show of support for the Section’s first evening meeting of the year, which was kindly sponsored by Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA).

Engaging approach reduces key project risks in Arctic exploration.

In his pre-dinner presentation ‘Attaining “Privilege to Operate” in the Arctic’, Jon Perry, a Partner in ERM UK, provided a fascinating insight into the unique and diverse moving-target challenges of Greenland facing global players interested in developing its oil and gas resources.

Jon’s discussion of the environmental, social and political risks in what he termed a “rapidly evolving

He explained that most well integrity failures result in two types of outcome: ‘leak flow’ (leaks through tubing, casing and other pressure barriers), or ‘annular flow’ (leaks through cemented annuli or other zonal isolation barriers). According to an Archer customer survey of June 2012, the most common failures affecting well integrity and performance involve: annular integrity and zonal isolation (35%); tubulars (28%); wellheads, trees, hangers and seals (17%); safety and other control systems (14%), and screens and ICDs (5%).

Tobben then described a typical well integrity management process, explaining that due to the complexity of the wells and the large amount of data available, obtaining clear, reliable, unambiguous information at the front end of this process is very often the biggest impediment to a true diagnosis and satisfactory outcome.

His subsequent case studies demonstrated how Archer’s systematic approach using advanced ultrasound leak-detection and 3-D scanning


system” began with a comprehensive ‘Greenland 101’, which outlined key geographical, economic and political considerations. Moving on to exploration, he described the country’s complex and ever-changing permitting backdrop (see below), but also stressed that “it’s not all about the permitting: given the unique environment and regulatory structure, it can be difficult enough fulfilling Environmental and Social (E&S) permitting requirements in Greenland; however, focusing only on an approvals-based approach is likely to generate significant project risks – both immediate and longer term. Identifying and addressing the non-technical risks is an essential part of attaining ‘Privilege to Operate’ – a term increasingly used by both supermajors and smaller operators.” Jon explained that not only is there a significant number of stakeholder groups within Greenland to be considered; there is also a broad range of globally active external stakeholders. Privilege to Operate, then, takes full account of the views and concerns of stakeholders and involves minimising major project risks due to delays, protests, legal disputes and media action, which as recent cases have shown, are very real possibilities within the Arctic region. According to a Goldman Sachs study, long project delays are attributed to sustainability issues far more than to either commercial or technical issues, and, unlike many technical problems, non-technical risks have the potential to hold up a project for years. Furthermore, public perception has the potential to escalate issues to the extent that a required solution may be completely

Greenland Exploration – Permitting backdrop

• Frontier area, highly challenging • Emerging legislative regime • Lack of local resources (eg Govt) • Single authority, with broad powers • Considerable stakeholder scrutiny • Setting a high bar for the oil and gas industry, without constraining growth or discouraging E&P activity

Which means… • Frequent amendments to the legislation and guidance • Vociferous and often conflicting stakeholder views • Cherry-picking of standards to quickly build up a suitable legislative framework

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