p%26a trondheim
Photo: SINTEF Petroleum

Experimental P&A research for the North Sea


The latest within P&A research and development (R&D) was revealed in Trondheim between 20-21 march.

The latest within P&A research and development (R&D) was revealed in Trondheim between 20-21 march.   
SINTEF Petroleum hosted the conference where the emphasis was “the importance of relevant experimental R&D for ensured well integrity and P&A related cost reductions,” according to their website.

Approximately 160 people attended the conference that consisted of 24 presentations, a tour of SINTEF’s laboratory facilities and a panel debate at the very end. The entire program can be found here.

Maria Barrio Hernandez, senior business developer at SINTEF, helped arrange the conference.

- We are very pleased that almost 160 people from 75 different companies attended the conference. Also, we received genuine positive feedback, and participants were particularly pleased that we included topics like nuclear waste storage and CO2 in a P&A-setting.

Sigmund Stokka, research director at IRIS and manager of DrillWell, and Dave Gardner, senior project manager at IRIS/DrillWell, presented some of their research on the second day of the conference. Arild Aarrestad and Frank Michael Mortensen from IRIS also joined the conference.

Stokka’s presentation,” Can tubing be left in the hole” (SPE 178840), explained how conventional and expanding cement have been tested to determine the sealing ability of annulus cement when tubing is left in the hole. The presentation raised several interesting questions from the audience. One of them was if it is possible to monitor the well in a long-term setting. To which Stokka replied.

- No. For it to be feasible a cable would need to run from the well and all the way to the top. Also, a system to facilitate the data would have to be incorporated. This is not something we have focused on. 

sigmund confer
Photo 1: Sigmund Stokka, research director at IRIS and manager of DrillWell. Photo: IRIS.

Gardner, who had the penultimate presentation of the conference, “Cement barrier evaluation lab”, talked about establishing reference conditions for cement (barrier) logging and experiments conducted to investigate the relationship between cement evaluation techniques and quality of sealing materials.

- I think the quality of the conference was very good and covered a lot of topics, Gardner said.

Photo 2: Dave Gardner, senior project manager at IRIS/DrillWell. Photo: IRIS. 

Before the conference dinner on the first day of the conference, a tour of SINTEF’s laboratory facilities was arranged for several of the participants. Some of what was on display was a flow loop that can be used for pipe pulling experiments and studies of perforate-wash-cement operations. More information about the laboratory tour is found attached to the pictures below. 

Lab tour

Photo 3: Left, Sigurd Bakheim, senior engineer, SINTEF. Right, Jørn Stenebråten, research manager, SINTEF. Photo: IRIS.

Sigurd and Jørn presented the laboratory setup for research on the “shale as a barrier” (how shale can be utilized as a natural barrier against the casing) concept. In the setup, a shale-sample (with an aluminum-core in the middle that measures stress upon contact) is subjected to different temperatures and pressures. The objective is to find out which types of shales, and under which circumstances, they collapse and creep towards the casing. Another aspect is to check the sealing-ability of the shale, the researchers told the participants during the tour.    

Photo 4: Left, Ragnhild Skorpa, research scientist, SINTEF. Photo: IRIS.

Ragnhild demonstrated how temperature cycling in a simulated cased and cemented well is used to find out how this affects adhesion between casing-cement-rock. Variations in temperature will lead to varying degrees of casing, cement and rock expansion due to different expansion properties. Variations in temperature occur downhole during shutdown, water injection and production to name just a few reasons, Ragnhild explained the participants during the tour.   

Photo 5: Ali Taghipour, researcher, SINTEF. Photo; IRIS. 

Ali demonstrated the flow loop or “casing wash and retrieval” lab, which it is called. Flow in different angles and wellbore geometries (rifled vs circular) are investigated. Mudflow and cuttings transport under different circumstances are also investigated, Ali informed the participants on the tour.  

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