New ExxonMobil Technology to Reduce Subsea Well Intervention Costs

Exxon Mobil has developed a new technology that significantly reduces the cost and time of downhole logging, acidizing and other interventions in deepwater oil and gas wells.

The Subsea Intervention Module (SIM) system is expected to perform these activities up to three times faster than a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). Initially, cost savings of the SIM system compared to a MODU are expected to be up to 50%. The expected lower operational cost of the SIM system will lead to improved production rates and accelerated reserve recovery benefits to operators and host nations.

The patented SIM system, which ExxonMobil has been developing for several years, consists of a 380-foot long vessel designed to accommodate a specially designed intervention tool that is lowered to the sea floor and latched onto the subsea well.

The SIM tool will be functional in up to 6,500 feet of water. It will be able to accommodate well depths of up to 13,000 feet below the sea floor. The system is designed for use in wells employing horizontal subsea trees with 36-inch structural casings.

To commercialize this new technology, an ExxonMobil affiliate has licensed the SIM system to a joint venture formed by BJ Services Company (NYSE:BJ), a leading provider of pressure pumping, coiled tubing and well-intervention services, and Otto Candies, LLC, a specialty offshore vessel operator. This venture will operate the SIM system following completion of design and construction in approximately three years.

'The SIM system is another tangible example of ExxonMobil's world-class research and development capabilities, which is a cornerstone in building our reputation as the preferred partner for host nations around the globe,' said Rex Tillerson, president of Exxon Mobil Corporation. 'We envision the system will help to maximize production from subsea wells and aid the economics and potential development of deepwater offshore fields.'

According to Bill Stewart, Chairman and CEO of BJ Services Company, 'the SIM system represents a tremendous advancement in coiled-tubing technology which will allow us to deploy many of our existing world-class remedial well-intervention technologies in the expanding deepwater market.'

'The SIM vessel will be a dynamically positioned ship, which will be about 1.5 times the size of a standard offshore stimulation vessel,' said Otto Candies, Jr., president of Otto Candies, LLC. 'The ship will feature a large moonpool for deployment of the SIM tool, a mission control center and accommodations for a crew of more than 100 people. It will be outfitted with all the fluid tanks, pumps, work areas and other systems needed for the SIM subsea intervention work.'

ExxonMobil, BJ Services and Otto Candies intend to introduce the SIM system at this year's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), May 2-5, at the Reliant Center in Houston. A detailed model, short film describing the system and additional information will be available at the BJ Services Exhibition Booth #5527. Technical experts will also be on hand at OTC to answer questions.