With the current government environmental directives in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), operators are challenged to ensure that idle iron wells are correctly handled to meet regulatory requirements in the full abandonment of the wells and their platform structures. With this, there is a need to remove existing production tubulars and set the required abandonment barriers before removing the offshore structure. Because of the current operational climate, there are many challenges that operators face in the GoM with regards to their ability to secure rig set equipment and personnel to effectively perform these operations in an economic manner.
This paper details an operational challenge of preparing for the temporary abandonment of an operator's GoM compliant tower structure, where an existing wellbore had been shut in with an annulus containing sustained casing pressure up to 3,000 psi. To facilitate the operational work scope, a hydraulic workover (HWO) rig was selected to be installed to the compliant tower structure, which allowed for the successful removal of the completion and preparation for the impending platform abandonment process, all while simultaneously working under the operational constraints of a producing facility.
This publication shows that through the application of detailed engineering and operational programming, the challenges of adapting existing equipment, restrictions on available space, reduced deck load capacity, along with crane limitations, all before HWO operations in an offshore environment with the potential for severe weather on a compliant tower, were safely overcome while performing the operations.