Design and Early Implementation of a Well Integrity Management System in an Offshore Brownfield Operation
- Saber Farid Ahmed (Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company) | Mohamed Elkholy (Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company) | Dean Warnken (BP plc) | George Rocha (GUPCO)
- Document ID
- International Petroleum Technology Conference
- International Petroleum Technology Conference, 4-6 December, Dubai, U.A.E.
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2007. International Petroleum Technology Conference
- 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 3 Production and Well Operations, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 6.3.3 Operational Safety, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.2.4 Risers, 3.1.2 Electric Submersible Pumps, 3.2.2 Downhole intervention and remediation (including wireline and coiled tubing), 3.1.6 Gas Lift, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.7.5 Well Control, 3.1 Artificial Lift Systems, 7.1.8 Asset Integrity, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 2 Well Completion, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 4.2.5 Offshore Pipelines
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A well integrity safety management system was developed and methodically implemented during 2005-07 in the Gulf of Suez, Egypt. The system is fit-for-purpose to meet the unique needs and capabilities of the organization. Methodical execution of the system was strategically planned and prioritized based on safety risks and business needs.
This paper provides a summary of the Gulf of Suez well integrity system development and deployment. Critical well integrity requirements were evaluated in a comprehensive well integrity study during 2005. Many existing well integrity practices were documented and formalized. Other outstanding requirements were identified and assigned a priority for implementation.
Existing Gulf of Suez wells were found to be in various conditions on well integrity, ranging from high to relatively low operating risk. Criteria for defining a "high risk?? well were established and communicated throughout the organization. "High risk?? wells were documented in a public register and shut-in if necessary to reduce operating risk. Also, a dedicated well services team was established to control and/or repair "high risk?? wells on a full-time basis.
The Gulf of Suez (GoS) is located on the west bank of the Red Sea, roughly 200 miles southeast of Cairo, Egypt. The field is a large, mature offshore venture that has been operated since 1966 by the Gulf of Suez Operating Company (GUPCO). Operations are conducted by a large, multicultural workforce of widely varied experience levels. Egypt work locations are split between the corporate office in Cairo and a shore-based field office in Ras Shukheir. Production peaked in 1985-86 at 700 MBLPD (15% water) and is presently averaging 315 MBLPD (75% water).
A complex offshore pipeline network connects production and injection from an estimated six hundred wells on ninety platforms. Production and injection are routed to and from onshore processing facilities to nine major offshore producing hubs. Multiple drilling and workover rigs have been in continuous operation since startup and there is a large facility rehabilitation project underway to refurbish existing infrastructure.
Well characteristics vary widely across the field with gas lift being the primary method of artificial lift. Producing wells range from mature, high water cut wells on either gas lift or electrical submersible pumps, to new oil and gas completions capable of prolific natural flow. A large waterflood is in operation throughout most areas of the field with roughly one hundred water injection wells. There are also two subsea completions and seven freshwater source wells.
Well integrity is a broad topic that has been addressed numerous times in industry publications. Further, the topic has received renewed emphasis from most upstream operators in recent years. A recent on-line search of the phrase "well integrity?? on the SPE e-Library database yielded 532 references since 1958 and roughly 1/3 of them have been published since 20041.
Well management and associated technologies have evolved considerably over the five decades of operations in the GoS. Similarly, well integrity-related issues have become an area of increased focus over this period in response to common brownfield operational challenges (scale, corrosion, etc.)2. Well integrity is now addressed as a major design component in the GoS well construction phase.
GUPCO senior management recognized well integrity assurance as a major requirement to sustain safe operations and consequently initiated a formalized well integrity management program in 2005. A fit-for-purpose well integrity management system is now in place and recognized as an integral part of daily operations.
A small, focused task force rigorously reviewed industry well integrity standards and operations of similar mature offshore operations where possible. In addition, a review of industry literature yielded several excellent case histories of well integrity management in other operations3, 4, 5, 6. Existing GoS well management practices were subsequently compared and contrasted with the aforementioned references.
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