22.09.15 Bridging The Gap

Exploration and production operators are continually having to comply with more and ever changing regulations; to keep up with changing technology; and to adjust to the unstable economic climate of today’s oil and gas industry. Responding to these market drivers can be challenging for personnel who need to maintain a strong focus on operations.

InterAct’s experience in field development, permitting and regulatory compliance, drilling, workovers and abandonments has enabled the company to provide the multidisciplinary support needed by operators across the life of field services, particularly on the west coast of America.

Development

On one development project, a California-based independent producer needed outside expertise for drilling and completion engineering to help implement its plans for optimising waterflooding and improving production in the unconsolidated sands of a Long Beach oilfield.

InterAct was contracted to design well casings, develop sand control and completion procedures, prepare drilling permit applications and provide daily operational engineering and drill site management during the three-month drilling campaign. The drilling work added three producing wells, one injector well and one water source well to the field.

Construction Management

InterAct also provides ongoing, tailored construction support services for a major oil and gas exploration and production company in California. This work kicked off in 2011 when InterAct performed rig inspection and initial repair work for the client.

“As the project progressed and we continued to build our relationship with the client and were responsive to its needs, our role expanded to provide additional engineering, facility upgrades, crane operations and construction management support,” explains Clay Graves, project manager for InterAct. “InterAct performed the work successfully, with no lost-time injuries and met the critical spud date in autumn 2013. Consequently, the client has come to recognise the value that InterAct's integrated services provide and has called on us for continuing support on new projects.”

This support ranges from conceptual to detailed engineering services (drilling, reservoir and facilities), construction planning, project management, process safety studies and audits, health and safety services, regulatory permitting support, interactions and liaisons with state and federal agencies, crane operations and quality assurance and control documentation.

Recent offshore platform modification, repair and upgrade projects for this customer have included crane refurbishment, power cable replacement, facility modifications, break area installation, deck extensions, switchgear upgrades, procedures and plans required for regulatory agencies, drilling rig moves and new well support.

Regulatory Support

As regulations governing major projects tighten or change, operators find they have to spend more time ensuring that their projects are compliant. One major oil and gas exploration and production company with oilfield operations throughout California tasked InterAct with taking the lead in developing and implementing a strategic plan to address the new General Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges.

“As part of this work, InterAct developed a fast, cost-effective method of analysis that significantly reduce compliance costs,” says Uliana Micovic, InterAct’s environmental services manager.

“By using our GIS data and Google Earth online tool to perform preliminary screening of the oil and gas fields that are covered by the new regulation, along with our vast well database covering most of their fields, we drastically cut costs for the client yet provided them with the same information as costly site visits.

“In this way, we quickly determined the locations where compliance was significantly reduced and those where a more complex permit application was unnecessary,” she concludes.

InterAct has also developed a tool to accelerate injection well permitting for exploration and production companies. Injection well permits (Underground Injection Control permits) require operators to perform well history reviews and produce graphical representations of wells within a quarter-mile (400-m) radius of the proposed injection well’s location. Cement calculations must be made to determine the isolation integrity of the well inside and outside the casing, particularly across hydrocarbon-bearing and freshwater-bearing sands. Diagrams must be made for all the wells within the quarter-mile radius, regardless of well owner. InterAct’s wellbore diagramming database enables entry of the well’s history and mechanical condition into a database, which then generates a graphical representation of the well for easy review. The database is easily imported into other platforms and can also be used for purposes such as asset management and drilling and abandonment planning.

InterAct has performed well integrity reviews and prepared more than 8000 wellbore diagrams for exploration and production operators. In addition to satisfying permit requirements, these diagrams can be used to design workover and/or abandonment programmes. They are easy to update, which gives them widespread application over the life of a well.

Decommissioning

InterAct also assists operators with planning and developing cost estimates and procedures for decommissioning projects. One customer had to abandon and re-abandon more than 35 land-based wells when it was asked to clear land it was operating on for redevelopment work in the Port of Long Beach, California.

The customer contracted InterAct to carry out a complete package spanning initial well work and developing abandonment strategies through to providing operations engineering support during the plugging-and-abandonment operations.

As well as developing cost estimates for the plugging-and­abandonment work, InterAct’s engineers wrote the work programmes and developed schematics of the wellbores. These illustrated the proposed plugging-and-abandonment strategies and the client used them to secure the necessary permits from the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.

While the abandonment operations were happening, InterAct represented the operating company, liaised between the government department, the client’s superintendent and project manager as required, and managed any instances of change that affected the programme or the conditions of the permit.

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