Saving money downhole

September 13, 1999, 10:00 CEST

A new centre in Stavanger for testing downhole equipment on land could allow Statoil to save substantial sums on well operations.

Overcoming operational problems with downhole plugs off Norway costs the group about NOK 8,000 per hour, for instance, reports staff engineer Tommy Byskov in the drilling and well technology unit.

"Over a two-year period, costs in this area have totalled about NOK 240 million. We see major opportunities for reducing this spending by simulating operations at the new centre."

Statoil has invested NOK 4 million in this ultra-modern facility at Rogaland Research, which is already preparing to run its first simulation of a demanding downhole operation.

This focuses on finding a method to remove a plug about 4,600 metres down in a well on Åsgard in the Norwegian Sea, which has proved very difficult to dislodge.

A similar plug will be installed in a piping loop at the centre in order to qualify a fishing solution, explains Mr Byskov. "That gives us a better chance of succeeding on the field in a shorter time."

The test facility features a simple and functional control room, a well tractor for running devices and piping loops of various diameters at ground level. Second-hand equipment has been updated for use at the centre.

Mads Grinrød, vice president for drilling and well technology, expects to see more cost-effective operations after the centre has come on line.

"We expect to recover our financial support for this test facility quickly," he says.