Smart well intervention in AngolaMarch 15, 2022
Mathieu Wallach, Welltec’s sales director and general manager for Southern Africa, talks to The Energy Year about the shifting demand for well intervention and well completion in Angola, also discussing the company’s key solutions and technological innovations. Welltec is a leading manufacturer and provider of well technologies for the energy industry.
Why did so many Angolan offshore projects reactivate in the final months of 2021?
Many major operators were already engaging in new activities in 2021, and at that time we observed real engagement and commitment from our clients for service applications with us. Across the globe, the industry is waking up from the pandemic, and our customers understand that the previous down cycle has reduced overall capacity – as such, they find it critical to secure the availability of equipment and services to cover their upcoming activity. What is now certain is that contractors across the market are experiencing great demand, and this creates challenges from the point of view of logistics through to operations.
To what extent is operators’ focus on mature fields affecting the demand for well interventions in Angola?
The recent shift of focus towards mature fields is a positive development for Angola, as it represents an effective way to boost production while minimising footprint and cost. It also helps operators circumvent the bottleneck of drillship availability. Intervention services – which are a key element of mature field management – are naturally under increased demand and it is expected that this will remain the case throughout 2022.
This increased demand creates additional challenges in terms of the logistics chain in Angola, which was already impacted by Covid restrictions. This adds to the overall level of difficulty, but we’re striving to find ways of securing equipment and personnel to service this growing market.
Which are the preferred types of intervention in mature fields?
When clients want to engage work on mature fields, they want a quick return on their investment. There are three kinds of solution for intervention services: light, such as slickline or wireline; medium, such as coiled tubing; and heavy solutions, such as workover units. Clients with mature fields will evaluate their options starting from the light solutions, and they will go for the heavy solutions only if there are no light options available on the market.
For these specific markets, Welltec is providing light intervention solutions, a more surgical approach to repairing wells.
Part of the Welltec capability is connected to rigless remedial work, which in the case of deepwater wells can be done from a light intervention vessel (LIV).
Interventions performed from LIVs are now often the preferred choice as they’re cheaper to operate than full-size drillships, which also keeps the drillship free for drilling new wells. This enables operators to increase their ROI on mature field intervention.
What are Welltec’s main activities in Angola?
Welltec is active both in Luanda and Cabinda, where we have permanently manned bases. We service the markets by providing services related to drilling contingencies, plug and abandonment, and conveyance of wireline or coiled tubing services in horizontal wells. The small footprint of our equipment makes us the obvious choice when it comes to urgent delivery of solutions to the deepwater market.
We also provide open hole packers, which are utilised to achieve zonal isolation at a fraction of the cost of a cement job. These products can also be used for cement insurance, and everything is developed and manufactured in-house, which brings significant benefits with lead times.
What are the company’s offerings in terms of decommissioning in the Angolan market?
Plug and abandonment (P&A) is one of our main applications, and there is a demand for solutions to prepare the well before permanently shutting it. There are many associated challenges, like debris, and mechanisms that no longer work, having no capability to pull the completion, and so on.
We have dedicated tools for this. Our lightweight solutions are non-explosive, easy to mobilise and thoroughly proven in the field. We are involved in many P&A projects that our clients carry out in Angola, and one of our customers is starting a major P&A project in 2022 where we will carry out some critical operations.
How is Welltec’s technological innovation different from other companies?
A part of our added value is that our technology is not purchased from other companies or by acquiring technology developers. Welltec’s technological solutions have always been developed in-house to address unresolved challenges in our industry. The idea is always to consider a smarter, less invasive approach, thus reducing footprint, logistical challenges and risk altogether. The oil and gas sector can be conservative in the way wells are designed, but over the last decade, we have delivered numerous award-winning innovative designs to enable our customers to build wells to a higher standard for a fraction of the cost.