A major operator manages multiple deep water projects in the Gulf of Guinea. This paper describes the latest 44-well project in Nigeria. The operator required an ISO 28781 qualified bi-directional subsurface isolation barrier valve (IBV) (Fig. 1) to be installed in each well. This work presents results of IBV deployment in the field.

The wells were drilled and completed from sixth generation drillships. To comply with the operator's dual barrier policy, a bi-directional IBV was installed in each well to help ensure reservoir isolation for temporary well suspension or before running upper completion and tree installation. Careful attention to well fluid cleanliness, sound quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), and operational procedures were considered paramount to successful remote opening of the IBVs and were identified as best practices by both parties.

The IBV is run in the open position as an integral part of the lower completion. A collet shifting tool closes the ball isolating the formation, enabling inflow and positive pressure testing to be performed. The reservoirs are isolated by the closed ball in the IBV, allowing safe installation of the upper completion from a floating rig or well suspension without a subsea tree. The use of an ISO 28781 Type CC V1 qualified IBV provides both zonal isolation and fluid-loss control. Once a well is completed and the subsea tree installed, the IBV is remotely functioned to the open position by applying multiple tubing pressure cycles.

The first batch of wells were drilled and completed with lower completions and suspended while waiting for subsea tree deliveries. Later, wells were drilled and completed with both lower and upper completions, and trees installed later from an offshore inspection maintenance and repair (OIMR) vessel. IBVs were successfully closed and inflow and pressure tested during the lower completion phase.

IBVs are run in sieved non-aqueous based mud (NABM). Filtered high viscosity pills are spotted across the IBV before closing. Once closed, the casing above the IBV is displaced to filtered completion brine at a rate ensuring any debris is lifted to the surface. The wells remain suspended with IBVs closed until the operator performs flowback and injectivity testing from a drillship. Additional injectivity testing was also performed from an OIMR vessel. Well suspension duration with IBVs closed varied between two months and 2.5 years. All valves cycled opened without issues. Four coiled tubing (CT) interventions were performed in the field, passing through the open ball without issue, confirming the IBVs were in the fully open position.

This paper describes full QA/QC and operational procedures, which led to successful deployment and excellent functionality of the IBVs.

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