The issue of well intervention versus new completions is not new. While it can be a fraction of the cost to enhance production and improve recovery in an aging or existing shut-in well, the decision to remediate or replace is very much dependent on the complexities, logistics and economics of each well.

In the current climate, where investment is hard to come by for the sector, well intervention may be the only option for some companies. There are a huge number of potentially producing wells that are shut-in due to some type of failure, be it subsurface safety valve issues, sand production, or unmanageable water production. In many cases, remediation is possible using existing and new technology that does not require rig mobilization and costly recompletions.

New materials and methodologies aligned with digital technologies are aiding the revitalization of wells both on and offshore. Such advances are clearly dependent on innovation and R&D but collaboration with other companies, sharing core and complementary competencies, can galvanize the journey from concept to commercialization.

The Power of Partnerships

In today’s volatile market, with the added uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and societal demands for climate conscious operations, the transition from working in silos to partnerships is accentuating the age-old adage that ‘two heads are better than one’.

Tendeka is combining new technology with several industry partnerships to overcome common problems in the completions arena. These include remedial sand control, scale removal and the rejuvenation of wells currently shut-in or production-limited due to safety valve issues. Close relationships with operators, developers and other service companies have shown how the use of existing and new technologies can bring shut-in wells back online and improve well integrity and operational efficiencies to increase recovery factors.

For example, in mature basins, sand issues can account for up to 10% of all shut-in wells either due to failure of the existing downhole sand control or onset of sand production due to pressure depletion and/or water production. 

The ability to partner with companies that enable a one-stop-shop for the solution of a specific problem for an end-user not only provides an all-encompassing solution but also increases the prospect of supporting a broader client base by accessing the relationships of both companies. Having truly complementary technologies is also crucial in packaging a solution, such as partnering an intervention innovation with a technology that has the means of conveying and/or pinpointing the location in the wellbore to place the tool or device. 

Our partnership with diagnostic specialists TGT effectively mitigates the costly consequences of sand control failure in wells. The remedial sand control collaboration known as ‘Find Fix Confirm’, sees TGT’s Sand Flow product used to accurately identify the locations of sand ingress within the wellbore. Then, our one trip Filtrex thru-tubing sand control system can quickly repair the damage. Crucially, the service can confirm the effectiveness of the solution with the redeployment of TGT’s diagnostic product (Figure 1).

Tendeka New Completions Versus Well Intervention Figure 1
Figure 1: Tendeka and TGT have created ‘Find Fix Confirm’ to mitigate the costly consequences of sand control failure in wells. (Source: Tendeka)

It can also be beneficial to use a partner’s larger footprint in sales and operations to access a larger market and more potential customers. 

Innovation through Collaboration

Another example of collaboration in action is our partnership with design engineering and manufacturing company Wellvene, to create and qualify a new version of Tendeka’s swellable sealing solution, SwellStack. 

As downhole safety valve seal bores can become corroded or damaged due to intervention activity such as wireline, standard chevron stacks commonly provided for insert safety valves may be unable to effectively seal within such damaged bores. This results in a leak path for hydrocarbons to migrate up the control line. In such cases, the only solution is to perform a straddle installation or workover the upper completion and replace the damaged valve. Both options are costly and time consuming. 

The introduction of the enhanced Tendeka/Wellvene SwellStack provides a cost-effective sealing solution that is compatible with all Wellvene and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) insert safety valves. The use of the patented technology ensures production can be reinstated to wells that are closed in due to the failed sealing of an insert safety valve,
thereby eliminating any requirement to consider higher cost and long lead straddles or potential workovers.

Our cutting-edge technologies can recover and enhance production in a number of ways by resolving issues that have caused many wells to be shut-in long before their ultimate recovery has been realized. As the world’s first re-deployable wireless completion with control, power, monitoring and communications already on board, PulseEight Electronic Ambient Valve (EAV) offers a smart way to re-establish well integrity, or flow at higher rates, with fewer of the constraints of storm chokes (Figure 2).

Tendeka New Completions Versus Well Intervention Figure 2
Figure 2: PulseEight is a reservoir management system that relies on Fluid Harmonics, using produced liquids or gas, to communicate in both directions and provide downhole control wirelessly. (Source: Tendeka)

Likewise, for new wells, inflow control technologies and sand screens to increase oil production and eliminate water production can be deployed.

Remedial solutions are not always mechanical and as an example, we provide scale dissolvers to remove the build-up of scale in the near wellbore and in the completion, both of which can cause reduced production. Barium sulfate scale in particular, is challenging to remove with conventional bullheading and soaking requiring long soak periods. Using a highly effective scale dissolver, in combination with a means to jet the affected area, significantly improves the effectiveness of the treatment and minimizes the volume required. As a result, we have partnered with a company with coil capability to deliver BSD-40 barium sulfate scale dissolver directly to the affected area using a light well circulation system. Together, this provides a more holistic solution with low operational resource requirements, which is more cost-effective than broaching alternatives.

Providing value through the delivery of complementary, proven technologies is the goal to safely and sustainably overcome the challenges that will safely and quickly restore production and productivity in the industry.

Trust and Teamwork to Fuel Energy Transition

Experts believe that at least half of the world’s energy needs will still be required from fossil fuels through to 2050, with a minimum annual investment of US$350-400 billion required in the upstream industry alone. This is just to replace current levels against the accelerating decline curves. The zero-emissions transition will cost over US$40 trillion in global commitment and must be fuelled mid-term by continued investment in fossil fuels. There is no cheaper energy alternative or technical know-how readily available in mass and no stronger revenue streams to finance the movement into alternative fuels.

It is predicted we will have several more spikes in fossil fuel demands throughout the next 30 years and we need to supply this global demand faster, cheaper and more sustainably.  Therefore, a much larger investment in significantly accelerating the extraction of fossil fuels will be the most efficient engine and quickest way to drive a true natural transition to alternative energy. These goals are not mutually exclusive of each other and in fact, are mutually inclusive.

Tendeka Jim McGowin
Jim McGowin

About the Authors:

Jim McGowin serves as vice president of North and South America at Tendeka. He has more than 30 years’ experience in sales, marketing and operations management of oilfield wellbore construction, completion systems and services and enhanced oil recovery techniques. Prior to Tendeka, he was sales manager at Packers Plus Energy Services. Other former roles include sales director of completions/U.S. land at Baker Hughes and general manager and business development director at TAM International.

Tendeka Suzanne Stewart
Suzanne Stewart

Suzanne Stewart serves as vice president of technology at Tendeka. She joined Tendeka from Baker Hughes, and brings extensive experience after 25 years focused on the completion and sand control markets globally.