OTC 2014: Diary of a conference. Why your well integrity engineer is your friend

7th May 2014

Christi Gell, SafeWells Product Line Manager, North America

Valerie Wilson from Kosmos Energy wrote an interesting paper this year (SPE 168407) asking if HSE and Well Integrity (WI) organisations and systems are friends or foes. Taking that question further, what about an operator’s overall business: is your WI engineer your business’s friend or foe?

You can almost hear the groan from a production manager on finding out well intervention is needed due to a WI issue. Production will be offline. They may miss a monthly target. It’s going to cost money.

But here is the thing: good WI is an important friend, not just to our communities in ensuring companies have a license to operate, but also because having sound WI is good for business. Sometimes it seems WI engineers don’t adequately ‘connect the dots’ between what they do in ensuring wells are operating safely to the bottom line of their company’s overall business – making money by producing oil and gas.

The people managing WI need to better evangelize the benefits their work brings to a company. Let’s examine benefits I have seen from our clients using SafeWells, Expro’s well integrity data management system:

An operator reviewed their well pressure data daily but also had it feeding into a WI data management system. An offshore well developed pressure outside casing, resulting in a collapsed well. This was picked up in SafeWells prior to the daily review and the operator immediately planned to kill and abandon the well. This earlier alert meant the difference between a bad well integrity issue and a major environmental one.
By having WI data in one place and being able to analyse that data, several operators have identified that certain types of valves accounted for the bulk of their valve test failures. By pin-pointing the problems, they did a focused repair campaign, changed grease type and increased the life of the valves dramatically. Most dropped down to <5% failure. Less failures = less service work + less production downtime = more production revenues.
Companies are saving significant amounts of time and money on third-party audits and well examinations. One operator decreased the time from 2 weeks to about 2 hours of engineers’ time spent prepping for an audit. That same operator gave the well examiner a login to their SafeWells system where the examiner simply logs-in from their own office. Their insurance premiums dropped by $150K the second year. Those premiums have also gone down annually because they are openly managing WI issues.

So, the next time your WI engineers highlight a WI issue and a well intervention request, remember the overall value they can bring to your company. They are monitoring your wells, keeping production on longer, minimizing unplanned production downtime, and giving your company the means to continue to operate safely.

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