Welltec sees great prospects in the Middle East for its recently launched Welltec Expandable Anchor (WEA). Oil Review Middle East spoke to Kevin Wood, Sales Director for Completions in the Middle East, to find out more
The Welltec® Expandable Anchor (WEA) was a key focus at the company’s stand at ADIPEC 2023, where Completion, Intervention, and New Energy & Climate Technology solutions were showcased, all with optimisation and efficiency as core design principles.
Engineered and rigorously tested over the past couple of years, the WEA is a 4-in-1 life-of-well completion system for anchoring in cased hole. Firmly rooted in proven metal expandable packer technology, it provides industry-leading reliability, efficiency, and flexibility, as Wood explained.
“The WEA has three key benefits. It is reliable, with essentially no moving parts; it’s basically a metal expandable sleeve that is secured onto a casing. It is efficient, as it is slimline and full bore, so operators can circulate fluids or cement at high rates compared to other products. It can also be rotated when run in hole making for efficient installation in deviated and challenging wells. And it is flexible; one particular size of WEA can cover multiple casing grades and we can also add or take away modular parts, depending on the environment in the well.”
The product is available in a full range of sizes, with key completion applications as a liner hanger, tieback liner, inner-string packer, and casedhole plug. All versions of the product are qualified to the API 19LH V1 standard and are fully compatible with Welltec’s Metal Expandable Packer (MEP) portfolio.
The WEA clearly addresses a market need, as illustrated by several installations taking place immediately after qualification, with a requirement from one Middle East operator for product delivery within eight weeks. Facilitated by its in-house design and manufacturing capabilities, Welltec was able to deliver the solution in seven weeks.
Prospects in the region are very encouraging, Wood said, “ADIPEC has been big for us; we signed a two-year call-off contract with ADNOC Onshore for the WEA technology which can address several of the challenges they face on some wells.
“The products covered under the call-off agreement are for the prevention of sustained casing pressure – this is annular casing pressure that can makes its way back to surface, a challenge which has cost the industry around US$75bn since 2009,” he continued. “Around 35% of wells globally exhibit gas pressure in the annulus, and the only way to deal with that is to flare it off, or vent it off, both of which are harmful to the environment. That’s where this anchor and our technology come in. It’s a life-of-well solution, providing a barrier in the well. It’s important that when a well comes to the end of its life, it is decommissioned correctly. The problem with cement is that over the life of the well it expands and contracts, which creates leaks through the cement. Using the Welltec Annular Barrier, which the anchor is incorporated with, gives you a fully qualified barrier that you can abandon above, thereby future-proofing the well for abandonment.”
This in effect helps reduce emissions. The emissions reduction angle certainly chimes with ADIPEC’s central theme of decarbonisation. Wood stressed the company’s commitment to the energy transition, which is “in our DNA – it’s not just a buzzword for us”. He explained that Welltec is playing a key role in Project Greensand, which involves the long-term storage of CO2 by injecting it into depleted reservoirs in Denmark. To support this, and similar projects, Welltec’s New Energy & Climate Technology segment has already constructed an advanced testing facility in Denmark that enables full-scale downhole components to be tested against real-world CO2 well-type environments including high pressures, temperatures, and flow rates.
“The test loop and background to Project Greensand have opened up a lot of conversations here, especially with COP28 coming up,” he said.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Welltec is active in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the latter of which provides a manufacturing hub supporting regional activity, and keeping lead times to a minimum. Wood commented that this has been a “huge success”, and expansion of the hub is on the cards. “We can not only deliver quickly compared to our peers, we can also manufacture in the region.”
As far as future product development goes, Welltec has a couple of technologies in the field-trial phase. One is the Isealate Springblade Patch, a unique relining and repair solution for downhole applications. The first in-field deployment successfully took place in Europe in October.
“We also provide a service that can radially expand an existing casing string: the Saturn Expander. This can be utilised in wells where there is casing pressure,” said Wood.
“It expands the casing, compresses the cement on the outside, and cures any microannuli or leaks you might have.
“These solutions are coming to fruition now, and there is a lot of interest in the region, particularly given that many wells here suffer from casing pressure.”