Traditional rigless plug-and-abandonment (P&A) operations are time consuming and rely upon methods that are potentially detrimental to personnel, the environment and the assets involved. With rising standards for personnel safety, increased costs and the delicate nature of working in fragile ecosystems, the development of innovative technologies and the application of resources for well abandonment operations is vital to the oil and gas industry. This paper examines the successful deployment of first-to-market intervention and well abandonment equipment to solve P&A problems in a safe and efficient manner on multiple offshore projects.
The focal point of specialized equipment examined in this paper is the pulling and jacking units (Units) which are being used in offshore operations that include intervention and well abandonment to address hurricane damaged platforms as well as aging wells in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). These Units are designed to rapidly provide a strong foundation for intervention and well abandonment resources to conduct multiple project tasks. Currently there are two hydraulically actuated pulling and jacking units operating in the GoM market. Despite significant challenges, both of these units have demonstrated an excellent safety record and significant cost savings to the operator.
Unit 1 was commissioned in June 2007 and has operated successfully on multiple platforms with no recordable incidents in its three-and-a-half-year history. Unit 2 is currently on its initial project. Since commencing operations in October 2009, it is 108 days ahead of schedule, which equates to a cost savings of $10.8 million to the operator.
These Units provide a complete, innovative project package and their success, along with the use of decommissioning equipment, has created opportunities for all involved to make enhanced safety and significant cost savings a reality.