Technology Update: Inflatable-Packer Well-Intervention Techniques Cut Rig Time, Costs
- _ JPT staff (_)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 24 - 26
- 2006. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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The oil and gas industry’s efforts to develop tools that meet and exceed operational objectives with less cost have led to advancements in downhole tools that enhance slickline technology, making it a more versatile means of providing accurate depth measurement. The development of slickline-deployed inflatable packers also exemplifies ongoing efforts to simplify costs, operations, and logistics.
Setting inflatable packers on electric line began in the early 1990s. The next logical step was to set an inflatable packer on slickline, which had several advantages over the use of electric wireline. Lower frictional values at the stuffing box were possible, and surface grease-injection pressure control equipment was not needed. That made it more versatile in highly deviated wellbores.
The introduction of battery-operated slickline tools increased productivity and decreased costs, making slickline a frequent choice for complex mechanical workovers. This led to the development of SlikPak, a slickline-conveyed inflatable-packer setting system. The initial development was a joint effort between TAM Intl. Inc. and Halliburton. The system used existing technology, coupling a TAM inflatable bridge plug and electric-wireline motor/pump module with the Halliburton Advanced Slickline Downhole Power Unit and Collar Locator. TAM subsequently developed a complete system for inflating packers using slick-line (Fig. 1). Many remedial operations can be performed with slickline systems available from a variety of service companies. Memory logging capabilities include a wide variety of logging options, running packers (both inflatable and hydraulically set versions), and perforating.
The following case studies show how the technology has been deployed in different regions and environments.
Case Study 1: Cabinda
Small platforms and well jackets in shallow offshore water in Cabinda required the use of a jackup or lift boat to perform coiled-tubing or electric-wireline intervention operations. Because of a shortage of contracted lift boats, the feasibility of performing various remedial operations using only a slickline unit operating from the helideck was economically attractive and allowed a higher quantity of remedial operations to be performed.
The Slickline unit and the associated downhole tools were lifted by helicopter to the satellite well jacket and rigged up on the helideck. Remedial operations were performed by setting an inflatable bridge plug above existing perforations, dumping a cement plug, and perforating a higher interval. Per-well savings in the remedial operations here were estimated to be more than U.S. $150,000 compared to previous coiled-tubing-type programs on similar well configurations. In addition, the well program was completed 8 months in advance of the scheduled coiled-tubing intervention and lift-boat plan.
An additional well used a two-packer, scab-liner configuration to block production from a joint of failed wire-wrapped screen and reduce sand production. The scab liner was configured and run in three separate runs to minimize lubricator height. The lower inflatable packer was run with a polished-bore receptacle (PBR) and latch profile left up, while blank spacer pipe was run with another PBR with the latch left up, followed by the upper inflatable packer.
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