Recently, a significant producer in the deep water Gulf of Mexico (GoM) exhibited a loss of production. An investigation determined that a valve in the sliding sleeve assembly, a small portion of the installed completion, malfunctioned and resulted in the valve not opening as commanded. The operator created a team to diagnose the problem without using the usual method of recovery and replacement of the full assembly, which would require a significant amount of time and costly equipment.
The team of various subject matter experts (SME) from the completions unit, the manufacturing company of the equipment and an electric line intervention provider determined that they could use two methods to exploit the design of the sliding sleeve to create a new flow-path and restore production without damaging the rest of the in-place completion. Both challenging methods required a high degree of precision and accuracy. To maintain the mechanical integrity of the downhole equipment, the tolerance window for the cut was within two inches (at depths greater than 27,000 ft), and cut radius tolerances were less than 1/100th of an inch.
Two electric lines intervention tools were found to be capable of performing the type of cut required for the primary and secondary methods (one for each method). These selected tools are frequently used in the GoM, which promotes a high level of confidence in their success.
After extensive surface testing, the tools were deployed downhole and were successful on the first attempt. The operation was monitored and controlled at surface, and the tools performed the required cut in less than sixty minutes. Once the tools were retrieved, the sleeve was commanded open once again, and full communication to the formation was restored. With the utilization of this technology and methodology, the project was able to save in excess of $40,000,000 USD.