New packer technology addresses integrity issues in the Middle East

welltecGlobal well technology and service provider, Welltec, has recently introduced a new solution for the oil and gas industry in the Middle East in the form of metal, expandable packers which protect against annular pressure – Welltec® Annular Barriers (WABs)

 Today, more than 40 per cent of global wells face well integrity challenges, posing both safety and environmental threats. In addition, these challenges often burden operators with administrative workload when seeking integrity exemptions from regulators. 

“Sustained Annulus Pressure or Casing-to-Casing-Annulus pressure as a result of inherent weakness of cement in wells continues to plague the industry,” commented Abdullah Osama Abdelwahed, well completion sales director at Welltec. “We see an increasing number of operators being concerned with cement as a stand alone barrier, seeking alternatives both because of the difficulties to deploy cement and the long term risk.”

A number of Welltec® Annular Barriers (WABs) have recently been installed in the Middle East. In these instances, no cementing technique could resolve the problem so a WAB® was deployed in the open hole in conjunction with cement, the WABs preventing crossflow between two zones that previously led to cement channeling and failure. With the WAB® in place, the pressure migration from the high pressure fracs being implemented was effectively isolated, not only preventing high pressure from communicating to surface, but also allowing the cement above it to cure and bond without channeling. This solution was repeated in the field as it was deemed as an economical working solution.

“Drilling and completion engineers wish to confirm the expansion and sealing of packers (seal verification), which is possible with our WAB® but not with cement. This gives assurance of a competent seal, as it can be directly measured with its associated annular pressure and temperature sensors. The operator can set the WAB, expand it and verify the integrity within hours, meeting relevant NORSOK and API requirements and ensuring long-term integrity objectives,” added Mr Abdelwahed.


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