Changing the game

Audrey Leon

August 1, 2016

In advance of OE’s 2016 Deepwater Intervention Forum, held in Galveston, Texas, Audrey Leon discusses the next game-changing technologies with the forum’s board members.

The Helix Well Enhancer.
Photo from Helix Energy Solutions Group.

What are some of the intervention technologies you are currently following – are there any potential game changers?

Jason Leath, Lomac Oil & Gas: I am most excited about the success Wild Well Control has recently had with their annulus isolation tool (OE: July 2016). In the past, less effective methods may have been utilized in attempt to correct difficult annulus issues. But, now because of this proven game-changing tool, operators may have the backside access that’s been needed.

Alex Lawler, LLOG Exploration: Riserless deployment of coiled tubing should be available within a year. This capability will be a step change for riserless interventions. To date, only slick and electric line options have been available. The ability to use coiled tubing in a riserless application offers an array of downhole options not previously available to the industry. On another front, there are intriguing developments with regards to casing cut and pull operations. Rigless options and open-water pressure control applications are being developed and tested.

David Carr, Helix WellOps: Helix is always looking at ways in which technology can be employed to improve the cost-effectiveness of well intervention, as well as reduce the cost of decommissioning. Our first 15,000 psi intervention riser system, which is being developed with OneSubsea – a fellow member in the Subsea Services Alliance – will allow for the efficient intervention on high-pressure wells in deepwater without the need for a 15K subsea BOP (blowout preventer) and rig, which remain high cost assets, even in the current environment. It will also be available as a rental item.

Helix also recently completed the first coiled tubing intervention from an LWI (light well intervention) vessel in the North Sea with a WIU2 notation. This operation opens up the potential for major cost savings for North Sea intervention. Innovative engineering was required to prevent coil fatigue and compensate the CT lifting frame.

On the decommissioning side, we are developing a large bore environmental containment system that we expect will allow us to expand our open-water tubing pulling activities in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as potentially bring this methodology to other basins, such as the North Sea and Brazil. This technology further extends the capability of Category A and B intervention vessels, and should reduce the risk of abandonment by allowing for better definition of the rig spread that will ultimately perform the upper abandonment.

What are some of the positives occurring in the industry at the moment?

Jason Leath: Competitors are not only talking to each other; they are even teaming up. It also looks like service providers may be recognizing operators as partners or investors rather than just bags of money. In turn, operators may be seeing the service provider as a specialty tool to be polished and maintained.

Alex Lawler: The emerging technologies of yesterday have become the proven technologies of today. The amount of successful operations continues to build, demonstrating not only the technical viability of the intervention industry, but the safety and cost efficiency. More and more operators are becoming comfortable with rig-alternative options to execute their intervention and P&A (plugging and abandonment) backlog. It’s undeniable that the intervention sect of the industry has a bright and expanding future.

David Carr: The current downturn is requiring operators to look at very different commercial models for their well intervention and abandonment requirements. This involves moving away from the traditional ‘day rate’ model to a more collaborative and mission-aligned approach. This is a positive development for service companies that have the experience, the technology and a strong.

OE’s Deepwater Intervention Forum will be held this August 9-11, 2016, at the Galveston Island Convention Center. For more information, please visit:

Read more:


A new way to P&A