Aberdeen's Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) is to invest US$1.76 million (£1.3 million) in four projects aimed at developing new plugging and abandonment (P&A) technologies.
BiSN, Strathclyde University, Heriot-Watt University and Baker Hughes will each take a share of the cash after being picked from 48 submissions, which were made to the OGTC under a Call for Ideas for P&A technology.
The OGTC says that, over the next decade, 1400 wells are forecast to be abandoned on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), at a cost of about $9.47 billion (£7 billion). There's any industry goal to reduce decommissioning costs by 35%, however, a target set by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the UK's oil industry regulator. According to the OGA's 2016 Stewardship Survey, P&A represents 48% of the total cost of UKCS decommissioning.
OGTC will work with BiSN to test and verify the company’s Wel-Lok M2M technology, which uses a modified thermite heater, in conjunction with bismuth-based alloys, to form a permanent barrier. It provides an alternative to traditional elastomer seals, resins and cement. Being deployed on wireline without the need to remove tubing, the technology addresses several fundamental downhole sealing challenges simultaneously and could deliver significant time, cost and environmental benefits.
You will be able to read more about BiSN's technology in the February issue of OE. To receive a complementary copy, sign up here.
The University of Strathclyde’s idea uses enzymes to repair or improve cement barriers in wells that have 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 developing a modelling framework for well isolation design that would 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.
OGTC will work with Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), to develop 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.
The OGTC's Well Construction Call for Ideas, which is due to launch in coming weeks, focuses on new well systems, seabed pressure isolation and ways to stimulate well flow.
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