Executing interventions in wells encrusted with wax is challenging because experience with global coiled tubing (CT) dewaxing operations is limited, and equipment failure and stuck pipe risks are high. With few jobs performed worldwide, CT dewaxing (hot oil circulation with CT) operations are largely unexplored. The deviated wells in a field in northeast India pose several challenges including completely seized wellbore due to paraffin/asphaltene deposition, previous failed well cleanout attempts, very slow and low bottomhole assembly (BHA) penetration, pumping corrosive and flammable low wax crude (LWC) through CT, high chances of CT getting stuck, and pumping heated 69°C LWC through the CT. This case study delivers insights about design, safety, and operational considerations for 1.5-in. CT dewaxing and nitrogen lift operations in a subhydrostatic well in the field. The objective of this CT dewaxing and nitrogen kickoff operation was to clear the well of paraffin/asphaltene/wax to 1600 m and activate it with nitrogen, and this paper describes solutions for cleaning out and nitrogen-lifting wells with declining production due to paraffin and asphaltene deposition. One well is described in this case study, but this approach can be used perform CT intervention in similar wells.
For this case, simulations were sensitized to identify the best combination of pumping rates, CT speeds, and fluid temperature to remove deposits hindering BHA penetration. This study proposes prevention measures using appropriate grounding and procedures, which determine if the crude oil can be pumped through CT. By use of this methodology, 581 dewaxing runs have been performed in 78 wells. Extensive on-job experience and lessons learnt by performing this operation over the last 3 years bring excellent results and prevent misruns. In many cases, production has been restored from nil; several examples feature a fivefold improvement of productivity thanks to this intervention method. Optimized operational parameters such as CT speed, pumping rates, and the use of smaller outer diameter BHAs doubled operational efficiency during those operations. In addition, strict application of the recommendations prevented the occurrence of operational problems such as stuck CT, crude oil flashing, sand bridging, and equipment failure.