R&D Solutions and partner FloPetrol conducted abandonment operations for a major operator on a remote island off the coast of Western Australia.
The field in question hosts many aged wells, some dating back over 40 years, and the strategic objective was to retire them as economically and responsibly as possible.
An eco-friendly solution
The material selected for plugging a trial well was QuartzPack®, a Bingham-plastic material which acts as both a liquid and a solid material.
It is noteworthy that external mechanical, hydraulic or tectonic forces will reshape the well barrier to fit the new well geometrics and maintain sealing properties. Whilst tectonic plate movement isn’t common in Western Australia it is not unheard of, so eliminating any possible leak paths before they can occur is an advantage.
Moreover, the use of rock particle sizes from nano to millimetres provide a complete seal, preventing gas and liquid migration to surface. The QuartzPack® material doesn’t shrink, crack or have micro-annulus issues – and, given its fundamental characteristics, it doesn’t raise any environmental concerns.
Sealing the deal
The material was checked on-site and then prepared for deployment into the candidate well. On arrival, IBCs were opened and, using an auger, the material was re-liquified for pumping.
Those on location witnessing the operation were amazed to see the material on site change from a solid crusty impermeable block to a liquid slurry. From there, cement pumps delivered the material into the wellbore to achieve the seal.
Green for go on further wells
The trial was deemed a total success: the deployment and delivery phases were flawless thanks to careful planning and preparation, and the well was abandoned as planned. It had been planned to trial the material and methods of deployment, and to review ease of operability, with further test wells, but the success of the initial exercise meant the full system was deemed good to go and needed no further proof of concept.
The trial demonstrated the ongoing commitment of R&D Solutions and FloPetrol to the provision of environmentally and technically sound solutions for permanent well abandonment. We look forward to building on this success in the year ahead.