OGTC Announces £1.3M Investment In Four Projects
The Oil and Gas Technology Centre has selected four projects to help transform well-plugging and abandonment (P&A) in the North Sea.
Over the next ten years around 1400 oil wells on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) are due to be abandoned, at a cost of almost £7 billion. The development of new technology to tackle this issue and reduce that cost is a target set by the UK’s oil and gas authority.
Following a call for ideas which brought in 48 different concepts, the Oil and Gas Technology Centre has announced the four winning ideas, which will split £1.3 million in funding.
BiSN’s Wel-Lok M2M technology. This utilises an advanced thermite heater, in conjunction with bismuth-based alloys, to form a permanent barrier. It provides an alternative to traditional elastomer seals, resins and cement. Because the technology can be deployed on wireline, without the need to remove tubing, Wel-Lok addresses several fundamental downhole sealing challenges simultaneously which could deliver significant time, cost and environmental benefits.
The University of Strathclyde plans to use enzymes to repair or improve cement barriers in wells which have already been plugged and abandoned. This Biogrout technology, currently being developed for other industries, will be assessed in typical downhole conditions. It’s low viscosity and nanoparticle size enables it to penetrate and seal the smallest of spaces.
Heriot-Watt University is creating a modelling framework for well isolation design which will help evaluate and manage risk, increase efficiency and enhance decision-making. This could deliver cost and time savings through reduced scope, remediation and deployment of new technology, such as through-tubing and rigless abandonment.
Baker Hughes (BHGE) is developing a technology that delivers cement logging through multiple casing strings, improving on existing solutions which deliver logging behind only one casing or tubular. This could reduce the cost and time associated with removing casing to verify barrier integrity.
OGA’s Head of Decommissioning, Nils Cohrs, said: “It’s great to see this considerable investment in innovative technologies following the Technology Centre’s Call for Ideas. The OGA’s 2016 Stewardship Survey showed that well P&A represents 48% of the total cost of UKCS decommissioning, and developing transformational ideas such as these has the potential to help industry to reduce this cost.
Malcolm Banks, Well Construction Solution Centre Manager, said:
“We’re delighted to be investing in four ideas that could have a transformational impact on well P&A. Competition was tough and required a rigorous review process. We’re addressing key challenges facing the industry and look forward to working with the successful organisations to develop their ideas into solutions that deliver real benefits.”
Paul Carragher the CEO of BiSN, said:
“To receive this funding from the Technology Centre and benefit from the support it brings for the development of our downhole sealing technology – is a fitting end to a successful year, indicating that 2018 will see our company go from strength to strength in the North Sea and beyond.”
Dr Gráinne El Mountassir, Lecturer in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, said:
“At Strathclyde we are very excited about this new project. We have been working on the development of Biogrout as a technology for near-surface civil engineering applications over the last seven years, and now we are keen to apply our knowledge to the oil and gas environment.”
Prof. John Underhill the Chief Scientist at Heriot-Watt University, said:
“This is an exciting and innovative collaborative project that tackles an important technological challenge for the North Sea by leveraging the existing strengths of our different research groups at Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE); the project is also well-aligned with our vision for the new Mature Field Management research expertise in IPE. I am delighted to see Morteza Haghighat’s leadership in this theme and the partnership being forged with Technology Centre.”
Neil Saunders, the President and CEO of Oilfield Equipment at BHGE, said:
“It’s more important than ever for industry players to be open to innovative ways of working and to embrace new technologies that safely enhance operations, reduce costs and maximise efficiency and flexibility. The technology BHGE is developing has the potential to significantly reduce costs for oil and gas operators carrying out decommissioning activities and we are proud that the Technology Centre has recognised these benefits by providing their support.”
Well Construction Call
The OGTC will be issuing new calls for ideas in the near future, says Cohrs: “Our next Well Construction Call for Ideas, which launches in the coming weeks, focuses on new well systems, seabed pressure isolation and ways to stimulate well flow,”
The diversity and number of submissions is a key to success, says Banks: “We’re hoping to replicate the success of our well P&A call when we seek ideas on challenges for new wells. Further information will be communicated in the coming weeks and we’d encourage anyone with an idea to take part.”