Well Abandonment: Q&A with Weatherford International

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Rigzone talks to Delaney Olstad, a business development manager for Weatherford, about how the oil and gas industry can best tackle the activity of well abandonment.

Well abandonment is a fast-growing sector of the upstream oil and gas industry, with data compiled by oilfield services firm Weatherford International indicating that some $45 billion is expected to be spent on the activity over the next two decades. Approximately 20,000 wells have been targeted for abandonment worldwide over this period, with 60 percent of these located in the Gulf of Mexico.

Delaney Olstad
Delaney Olstad, Global Business Development Manager for Well Abandonment and Intervention Services, Weatherford
Delaney Olstad, Global Business Development Manager for Well Abandonment and Intervention Services, Weatherford

Rigzone caught up with Delaney Olstad, Global Business Development Manager for Well Abandonment and Intervention Services at Weatherford, at last month's Society of Petroleum Engineers conference in Amsterdam to pick his brains on how the industry can best tackle well abandonment in the years to come.

Rigzone: What are the major challenges right now to do with the abandonment of offshore wells in mature basins around the world?

Olstad: Accessing damaged and downgraded platforms. Although there are some structures that have adequate deck space to place a full complement of equipment to perform late-stage intervention and/or well abandonment operations, many platforms either don't have much open area or cannot safely support the weight.

And unknown – or not, as of yet, defined – regulations. There are areas around the globe that do not have clearly outlined methods of abandonment or specific procedures to be carried out to successfully shut down a well.

Rigzone: What are the best ways to mitigate these challenges?

Olstad: [We need] fit-for-purpose equipment specific to the requirements associated with the job. Systems that can more readily adapt to the limitations and specification of an offshore platform have a higher probability of success. These systems may be placed directly on the platforms in their entirety or they may need to be split so that some portion of the system is located on an assistance vessel.


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