The Karachaganak (KGK) field is situated within an environmentally sensitive location which includes a conservation area containing lakes, woodland and abundant wildlife. Additionally, surrounding the field there are several inhabited villages. As in other parts of the world, if well operations are not properly managed, there is the potential to directly impact this fragile environment, as a result of HC flaring with emissions containing both poisonous H2S and toxic SO2 during the well operations.

Despite applying best-in-class environmental drilling and completion practices in the well construction processes, there remained the challenge of how to reduce emissions resulting from well clean-up activities in the field, with the eventual goal of achieving zero emissions.

This paper outlines the transition of well clean-up and testing towards purely three phase "zero emission", broadly describing the evolution from conventional three phase flaring to a robust zero emissions approach.

The transition required new technologies to be implemented in stages which were all subject to; high level design reviews and rigorous HAZOP activities to, both define and guarantee the safe operational envelope at field implementation stage.

The result of this implementation are as follows:

  • Maximizing oil recovery at highest value within optimal cost.

  • Putting the newly drilled wells on production in advance and reviving suspended wells.

  • Significantly reducing downtime.

  • With to date a significant environmental impact reduction in the region of 95%.

The project anticipates deploying the last of the enabling technologies in the field in 4th Quarter 2018, which should see Karachaganak Petroleum Operating b.v. (KPO) achieve its long term aim of "zero emissions" during well clean-up phases.

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