The client had a leaking gas lift valve (GLV), which needed to be replaced to restore the integrity of the well. The side pocket mandrel (SPM), was located at a high angle part of the well, positioned on the low side and sand debris had accumulated in and around the GLV, impairing its retrieval. Tests carried out on surface to attempt to latch a GLV through the sand proved ineffective, even with jarring.

To further optimise production, SPMs are being installed at increasing well depths, enabling deeper gas injection into the tubing. Placing SPMs into the high angle section of deviated wells inherently increases the risk of them retaining debris, as was the case in this well. A novel solution, to remove the accumulated sand debris from the SPM was proposed, utilising an orientation sub, run in conjunction with an electric line deployed tractor-suction tool configuration, incorporating a bespoke side facing inlet nozzle.

Tests on the designed solution were conducted in the engineering facility, recreating the deviation, orientation and debris expected and evaluating the nozzle alignment and cleanout capability for the expected debris type. These tests proved to be highly successful, giving the customer the confidence to perform the job. The deviation also necessitated electric line tractor deployment of a modified retrieval device. Following a drift and plug setting run, the well tractor and suction tool assembly was deployed and two litres of sand was collected from within the SPM. The subsequent run to pull the faulty GLV was successful, as was the deployment of a replacement GLV.

The operation proved this to be an excellent and highly effective example of a rapidly designed and tested, bespoke, electric line deployed SPM cleanout solution.

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