Meta Authors Article for Oilfield Technology
Meta recently authored an article for Oilfield Technology that highlights how a proactive approach to well planning by integrating systems such as the company’s Casing Reconnect can help operators look forward to life of well integrity.
Read the full article below.
“The Use of Metalmorphology®technology with No ID restrictions to Keep Drilling Programmes on Track and Maximise Production”
Well integrity is a global challenge with reports revealing well integrity failures in 45% of Gulf of Mexico wells, 34% in the UK North Sea, and 18% in the Norwegian North sea (Source: Minerals Management Service, USA 2004; SPE forum North Sea Well Integrity, 2009; Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority, Well Integrity study, 2006.
Well integrity challenges affect the structural, tubing and casing design of the well. These challenges include damaged or stuck casing that often comes with ID restriction limitations; or corrosion and damage at any stage during the drilling, completion, production or injection phases across the well’s life cycle.
It is this loss of well integrity via casing or completion tubing strings that leaves operators or drilling contractors with a difficult choice to make.
They either have to accept the costs in lost production and downtime as well as potentially rising costs relating to drilling or wellbore replacement, or they need to adopt a remediation solution that makes economic sense and is truly effective and robust for the lifetime of the well.
Shaping Metal Downhole
It’s against this context that Aberdeen-based, Meta, a premium downhole isolation company, has redefined approaches to integrity across the well’s lifecycle, addressing many of today’s global well integrity challenges.
It has created a range of solutions using a patented and proven technology called Metalmorphology®. Unlike other technology in the industry, it uses direct hydraulic pressure to shape metal downhole (Morph the metal), and therefore create a high integrity, metal-to-metal seal, which conforms perfectly to casing or the wellbore, with no reliance on elastomeric seals.
This technology has received a number of prestigious innovation awards over the past few years including a Queens Award for Enterprise (2011), Platt’s Global Energy Award (2014), Africa Oil & Gas innovation of the year (2014).
Regain Integrity with No ID Restrictions
One particular Metalmorphology-based solution having a significant impact on well architecture and well integrity challenges in the industry today is a reconnection technology that can help operators address any casing integrity challenges and get back onto their original well plans.
When it comes to stuck or damaged casing, operators want a solution that is quick, easy to install, and delivers full integrity. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but some products fail even to meet those basic requirements.
The Meta Casing Reconnect® enables operators to cut the original stuck or damaged casing at the desired point, deploy the reconnect solution over the existing casing, and reconnect the in situ casing to a new casing string using metal-to-metal technology. It is particularly applicable to stuck casing where the alternative is costly side tracks or lengthy fishing operations. The result is a high axial load bearing, V0 metal-to-metal connection, with no elastomers and no loss of ID in base casing.
The rest of this article will look at a number of North Sea applications of this technology. In these examples, a series of well architecture and casing integrity challenges are addressed, such as tackling casing damaged by corrosive fluids; managing to continue on an original drilling plan despite the tubing hanger in the wellhead being damaged; and reinstating pressure integrity on the casing string. In all cases, the result is not only renewed casing integrity and the ability to stick to original well plans but and potentially saving millions of dollars in costs.
Keep Drilling Programmes on Track
At the start of 2015, a Norwegian North Sea Operator was able to re-establish its 13 3/8” Q125 casing integrity and avoid running a sidetrack, saving them an estimated $3 million.
The client’s well was a new-drill water injector, and the well was spudded late 2014. However, while running the 13 3/8” Q125 casing section they were unable to land and set in the hanger and cemented the casing string high.
They cut and pulled the 13 3/8” casing at 570m and temporarily suspended the well while they considered options to recover from this, while the rig went into dock for upgrades. The ideal solution for the Operator was to find a way to re-establish the casing to the subsea wellhead and avoid running a costly and time consuming sidetrack.
The Reconnect system was deployed and morphed on drillpipe from the semi-submersible drilling rig. The existing Q125 casing was cut and reconnected to the subsea wellhead by morphing the casing, therefore maintaining full ID. Following the morphing process, the tools were recovered and the well successfully pressure tested.
Within 2 days, Meta provided a permanent, metal-to-metal, gas-tight, and axial loading bearing connection with full integrity and ID, enabling drilling to continue as originally planned.
Using the Meta Casing Reconnect® system, the operator was able to reinstate the 13 3/8” Q125 casing with full integrity and no reduction in ID, and avoid running a whipstock and sidetrack.
The Only Solution for Remediation
As testament to the Casing Reconnect’s past performance and reliability, a Norwegian North Sea operator used the Meta Casing Reconnect as the first and only solution.
The wrong running tool was used to run a hanger which resulted in serious set-down weight, causing the hanger to mushroom over the wellhead. The hanger was retrieved, however, it had caused serious damage to the landing area in the wellhead. The operator required the damaged casing to be cut and new casing installed.
The existing casing was cut and reconnected to the new wellhead using the Casing Reconnect by morphing the new casing to the existing casing of the same ID. A permanent, metal-to-metal, gas-tight, and axial load bearing connection was created with no reduction in ID, providing full integrity and regaining full access to the well.
Using the Casing Reconnect, the operator’s requirements could be met within a very short window of time. Full access was re-established and the drilling programme was able to continue without further disruption without any detriment to the well design and function. While other options exist, the Casing Reconnect was the solution sought after first by the operator, offering the most flexibility, robust integrity of metal-to-metal sealing and earlier resumption of production, as well as, being able to meet an extremely tight deadline.
A Norwegian North Sea operator was able to change its well design in situ by utilizing a Meta Casing Reconnect and therefore convert to gas lift. This saw production triple for what was already the operator’s most productive well in the field. The success of the project encouraged the operator to use the Casing Reconnect in a further two wells to solve similar challenges.
In order to convert to gas lift the operator required a solution which would allow them to realign a wellhead without altering its height whilst establishing full integrity. The Casing Reconnect met these requirements, providing a life of well metal-to-metal solution with flexible space-out and no reduction in ID.
By using the Casing Reconnect, the existing casing was cut and replaced which successfully realigned the wellhead, new tubing seals were installed and a permanent gas-tight connection with full integrity was provided.
Production was immediately regained on the most productive well in the field, which resulted in an increase in production valued at around $270 million dollars for 2014 as well as sustaining production and profitability for the long-term.
The operator continued to use the Casing Reconnect on two other projects, which allowed well integrity to be regained, production and profitability to increase, and the wells to be converted to gas lift simply and quickly
Without the use of the technology, the operator would not have been able to achieve tension in the casing, which would have resulted in the casing collapsing. The Casing Reconnect was the only product able to assure a gas-tight connection for the life of the well, without such, the potential for leaks and lost time would have greatly increased.
Reinstating Pressure Integrity on the Casing String
The final application example comes from the UK Southern North Sea. In this case, the operator had lost significant rig time attempting to regain integrity on a 9-5/8” leaking casing string. This was despite utilising expandable technologies which had proved to be unsuccessful. Costs for the project were therefore escalating.
In this case, the reconnection system was mobilised and expedited to the rig. Successful installation resulted in the placement of a metal-to-metal connection of the existing 9 5/8” casing string to the surface.
The robust V0 rated gas seal ensured that the operator could revert to its original well plan, limiting downtime and costly intervention work which could have resulted in pulling the casing and re-running at significant expense. The new gas tight seal is qualified to over 5,000 psi and can carry over 600,000lbs in tension and compression.
Qualified for the Industry
Meta’s testing and product development is a result of collaboration with industry giants such as Centrica, Shell, and Total to name just a few. The onsite purpose built testing facility at Meta’s HQ in Aberdeen in the UK houses some of the most advanced testing equipment in Europe. This allows the products up to 13m in length and 27” in diameter to be tested in simulated downhole conditions with an internal capability to test to temperatures of up to 320ºF and pressure up to 30,000 psi.
Metalmorphology technology is having a growing influence on well architecture and casing and structural integrity in the global oil industry with significant benefits to operations. Such solutions can reduce risk, such as financial risk from reduced drilling costs and production downtime through to reduced HSE risk as the simplicity of the reconnection and connections systems require less labour and equipment on site.
For too long well integrity has been defined by a reactive approach and the limitations of current well planning and intervention technologies. But by integrating a system like the Casing Reconnect into a well’s architecture, operators can look forward to life of well integrity.