Although it is common to think of health, safety, and environment (HSE) as one focus area, in many countries where internal political stability is of concern, this area also includes security (i.e. HSSE). It is also discernible in such places that a considerable portion of non-productive time (NPT) is associated with waiting for the delivery of explosives to perform routine operations, such as casing perforating or pipe severing, or even setting bridge plugs or packers. The occurrence of NPT can result from many factors, but it primarily arises from the sensitive issue of moving explosives and the security measures it demands. In some cases, this lost time is conservatively estimated to be more than $12 million annually for a land-based operation. It is easily plausible to incur triple these costs for offshore operations, noting that these cost estimates do not account for the revenue losses attributable to a delay in production of hydrocarbons.

Considering the magnitude of the problem, a concerted effort was put forth to determine viable alternatives to the use of explosives. This paper presents a comprehensive range of non-explosive solutions, including field-proven technologies that address a majority of the operations encountered in the field. The solutions come in various forms, such as the use of slickline, electric line, or coiled tubing services with specialty tools, all depending on the well situation.

These technologies provide results and performances comparable to explosive-based methods and, in some cases (such as perforating before a hydraulic fracturing treatment), outperform the traditional solutions. There are also instances, such as in a highly deviated or horizontal wellbore, damaged casing or tubing, or tight restrictions, in which shaped charges will not work effectively but, with the versatility of perforating with coiled tubing using high pressure pumping and abrasive material, can surgically place perforations or sever pipe, as needed, at the preferred location.

The prospects of significantly reducing the NPT and improving performance are substantial. The case histories presented will validate the success of the technologies and their application in the industry.

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