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Rigless P&A - wells with CIM/DPG
07 September 2019


I would like to start a discussion to get some thoughts/opinions from the group on performing a rigless P&A on a well with a chemical injection mandrel and/or downhole pressure gauge located close to the production packer. 

There's proven cost reduction in a majority of cases using a rigless approach to well P&A which utilizes the production tubing as a workstring to convey cement plugs.  This approach also leaves much of the tubing as possible in the well. 

As chemical injection mandrels and smart completions have become more prevalent, it introduces a big complication to the rigless P&A approach - having cables or tubing traverse a cement plug.  Regulations do not allow this for a permanent barrier.

How do you perform a rigless P&A on a well with a CIM/DPG close to the packer?

My current thoughts (assuming CIM/DPG is within 100' of packer):

- Isolate the perforated/production interval (squeeze cement or CIBP w/ cement)

- Attempt to pump polymer plugging media down CIM tubing

- Set a ~300' balanced cement plug in tubing and casing as close to the packer as possible.  This plug would be across the CIM tubing/DPG cabling and would serve as a TEMPORARY barrier once satisfactory tests are achieved. 

- Cut the tubing from ~100' below the depth of the location for the next cement plug.

- N'/D the tree and pull the tubing

- Set CIBP at depth of next plug to serve as PERMANENT barrier

- Run a 1-1/4" workstring to CIBP and spot cement plug.

- Set additional plugs as necessary...

The concern is whether or not the first balanced plug w/ tubing would qualify as a temporary barrier to allow the tubing to be pulled without having to rig up BOPE. 

Does anyone have firsthand experience with a similar situation?

Is there any other methodology that would be preferable?

Has anyone used any new technology that is able to defeat the CIM tubing or DPG cabling to allow thru-tubing cement plugs to be set?

2 answer(s)
Sr. Advisor, Well Engineering specialist Deepwater, ERD, HPHT & Special Projects
Chevron Corporation
Total Posts: 11
Join Date: 07/11/15

Rigless P&A: Increasing efficiency, reducing cost

Halliburton’s Ernst Schnell discusses a recent collaboration between Halliburton’s casing equipment team and a Scandinavian operator, which helped develop a rigless method for plugging a well through the Xmas tree.

In offshore operations time is a lot of money. Looking for ways to operate more efficiently and lower costs is essential to ensuring the viability of offshore operations, especially when market conditions are as challenging as they’ve been over the past two years.

Halliburton and a Scandinavian operator recently collaborated to develop a new rigless, time-saving method for setting controlled-volume abandonment plugs. Unlike a conventional plugging operation that requires extra personnel and complex logistics, the rigless Abanda System entails an Abanda Spool cement spool, connecting to the Xmas tree, a wireline-deployed packer to serve as a base, and two Abanda Plug wiper plugs to land on the packer and isolate the cement to prevent contamination.

The AbandaSpool cement spool is a plug container body equipped with three plug-release plungers and a manifold with six plug valves.

Atop the retrievable packer is a seal-bore landing profile adapted for a specialized lower wiper plug. An optional water injection valve can be added to the bottom of the packer to act as a check-valve to prevent flow back from the well; this valve can also be configured for specific pressure overbalance to ensure that the cement and not the valve is holding the pressure.

The lower AbandaPlug wiper plug is rubber and has a seal mandrel on bottom to land on the packer’s seal-bore, creating a seal and acting as a base for the following cement slurry. This wiper plug includes a shear disc designed to burst at 1000–4000psi, depending on well requirements; this allows testing the seal of the cement plug after it’s cured. If the plug does not hold above the required pressure, the shear disc will burst and open a path for pressure to bleed off below, indicating failure.

The upper AbandaPlug wiper plug is a conventional plug to separate the cement from the displacement fluid.

Candidate wells for this method should have confirmation of a reliable cement barrier in the annulus, acceptable injection rates and pressures by running an injection test, and that a packer can be run and set in the tubing by running a caliper log in the tubing.

The packer is run on a wireline connected to the AbandaSpool cement spool — this speeds up the operation and reduces rig downtime. The wiper plugs are installed and released from the AbandaSpool cement spool. Pumping and displacement of cement follows a conventional casing cement operation. When landing the lower wiper plug, which seals in the top of the packer, the crew must focus on limiting pumping pressure to avoid exceeding the shear disc threshold.

After waiting on cement to achieve sufficient compressive strength, a cement pressure test is performed at the required pressure, exceeding the shear disc threshold to ensure a reliable confirmation of the cement plug.

The rigless AbandaSystem method can be applied to a range of casing and tubing sizes. The packer used in the operations thus far is available for tubing ranging 4.5-7in.

Placing the cement plug without using the retrievable packer is another option. The lower wiper plug can be modified with an elastomer seal bottom sub to land in any geometry.

The four operations performed to date have saved the operator 1-2 days of rig time per plug. The current regulations in the North Sea require a cement barrier plug to be tagged with drill pipe; where this is not a requirement more time can be saved.

The next challenge Halliburton and the operator are working on is adapting this novel method for subsea wells, as the potential cost savings will be even greater compared to platform wells.

SPREAD Associates
Total Posts: 4
Join Date: 11/02/10

To ensure a permanent abandonment with minimum chance of leakage past, between and/or within these micro-tubes, they must be removed if you want to leave the tubing in the well = Rigkess
Aarbakke Innovation in Norway is developing a wireline tool that will do that. See

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