Increasing operator flexibility, eliminate multiple trips and avoid costly cementing operations without the need of cement plug is what Weatherford International bringing to the market through its new AlphaST single-trip, open-hole cementing and sidetrack system, according to Dean Bell, president, well construction for Weatherford.

“It is a true one-trip system, you can run, set, cement or not cement and proceed immediately to sidetracking your well,” Bell told Hart Energy. “The system enables you to set a cement barrier, inflate a packer to anchor the whipstock and drill the formation, all in one trip.”

Bell said the system delivers “a quick, reliable kickoff to reach your target…while shaving off days compared to conventional sidetracking operations.”

According to Bell, the new sidetracking system enables operators to avoid the cost and time of setting a cement plug, waiting on cement and time drilling. “The bottom line is OpEx savings equal to days of rig time,” he said.

Compared to current methods in the market, Weatherford said the new system ensures well integrity with a cement abandonment plug; it anchors the whipstock with an inflatable packer, eliminates cement waiting time with packer as barrier.


“Conventional sidetracks from cement plugs have inefficient performance, poor reliability and costly execution. The AlphaST provides a cement abandonment plug to ensure well integrity. Absolute control of kickoff point and direction. All in one run! Saving days of rig time,” he said. “No worries about the compliance of a cement plug; no waiting on cement to cure; a proven system with high reliability; the most competent field personnel in industry, supported by the most knowledgeable SME organization, all of which can be substantiated by proprietary database WPTS (Weatherford Performance Tracking System).
“AlphaST gives you absolute control of kickoff point and direction, and you avoid time drilling an unpredictable cement plug. On top of the obvious benefits, you also eliminate the risk of having to re-cement and re-drill due to cement plug failure.”

For an operator in the Permian Basin, Bell said that previous sidetrack attempts with conventional cement plugs failed in the hard formation, requiring multiple trips in the hole and resulting in damaged directional bottomhole assemblies.

“Weatherford re-entry experts reviewed the application and installed the AlphaST system. After landing at the required depth, the team set the Inflatable Production Packer (IPP) to anchor the whipstock and drilled off the formation in a single trip, saving the operator 29 hours of rig time and more than $100,000 of operational expense.”

The new system, Bell said, offers operators savings in term of time and cost, which depends on numerous factors including well depth, inclination and spread rates to name some. “The savings compared to a conventional cement kickoff is a full round trip and the time it takes for a traditional cement plugs to cure. During the field testing we recorded savings from 29 to 72 hours per job compared to traditional sidetrack methods,” he said.

The new system derivate from Weatherford’s traditional Re-entry systems and has similar installation process, backed by its QHSE performance statistics and industry leading field personnel.