The SPE ICoTA 20th European Well Intervention Conference 2014 kicks off in Aberdeen today and one of the most interesting aspects of the programme is that the findings of the 4th Well Intervention Excellence Network will be presented.
What is well intervention?
Well intervention in simple terms is anything that is done to a well post drilling but the most interesting well interventions are carried out with a view to extending the operating life of existing assets.
Common well intervention strategies such as stimulation, sand control or wellbore cleanout all focus on improving performance of depleted wells by enabling access to unrecoverable oil. Other well intervention processes include fishing to recover lost equipment and various type of logging to acquire data about the performance of a well.
Why worry about depleted assets?
One of the key themes of Sir Ian Wood’s 2014 Maximising Recovery report is general concern about falling levels of production efficiency across the UK as the existing “heavily depleted infrastructure” begins to decline in productivity. The Wood Review even suggests that “in many cases it appears that companies have constrained asset investment and expenditure in a drive to deliver short-term returns”. The Review then focuses on how to resolve this general rundown of existing assets by encouraging more use of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques.
Oil & Gas UK gives more detail on this in their 2014 Economic Report and describe various strategies for using enhanced oil recovery technology for infrastructure rejuvenation. For example, the Report notes that at cessation of production, the average UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) recovery factor is currently 46% and the objective is to use EOR techniques to raise this percentage to above 50 (p57). The report also notes that Production efficiency (PE) used to be around 80% ten years ago across the UKCS but it has fallen to percentages in the low 60s in recent years (p58). A key objective is to use well intervention techniques to reverse this decline in PE.
The Well Intervention Excellence Network
The Well Intervention Excellence Network was initiated by Shell Europe in 2011 to raise the profile of well interventions and share the experiences of operators (primarily in the North Sea).
Because improvements in well performance can be due to a whole host of well intervention strategies, one of the key priorities of the group has been to agree upon some standards in benchmarking so that production benefits can be quantified meaningfully.
The group holds annual benchmarking workshops where well intervention experiences can be shared and discussed. The most recent of these was held in May 2014 and the findings from that session will be presented in Aberdeen with interest.
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