The unconventional shallow gas market is the fastest growing oil and gas sector in Western Canada. Although these gas reserves are enormous, the economic output of a single well is marginal. The low production rate of each well has forced operators to reduce costs wherever possible. The largest expense in the completion of a well is stimulation. The advent of the coiled tubing fracturing method has reduced these costs substantially, as all zones can be individually isolated and stimulated in one operation.

Operators are taking further action by drilling multiple slanted wells from a single surface location. This configuration requires only one lease, one access road and reduces production costs with a single pipeline collection point. Workover equipment with the ability to rig onto these wellheads safely is in short supply. Many shallow gas wells utilize threaded wellheads that are not designed to support sideloads. Coiled tubing equipment is relatively massive, and previous attempts to ‘block up’ the wellhead and blowout preventers (BOPs) have resulted in near-tragic consequences. To overcome these obstacles, a patented support system capable of safe and efficient rig-up of BOPs on slanted wellheads was designed and built. The support system can be rigged onto wellhead angles ranging from 30-95 degrees. The system can manipulate the BOPs in virtually all planes to allow for flexibility when positioning onto a wellhead. The weight of the BOPs and CT equipment are then buttressed by the support system, and not the wellhead. The development of this system has enabled safe coiled tubing fracturing within the economic and technical contraints of shallow gas and coalbed methane type fields.

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