Aberdeen-based Helix Well Ops UK (Well Ops), a business unit of international offshore energy company Helix Energy Solutions Group (Helix ESG), is expanding its Europe and Africa well intervention fleet with an investment that will create 60 jobs.
A leading global provider of subsea well intervention, Well Ops will take control of the mono-hull well intervention vessel Skandi Constructor in spring 2013, after agreeing a three-year charter with DOF Subsea.
The move to strengthen Well Ops’ regional fleet, which currently includes the 132-metre (433ft) long Well Enhancer and the 114-metre (374ft) long MSV Seawell, will lead to the creation of approximately 50 jobs offshore and a further 10 onshore over the next nine months. At the moment the firm employs 70 staff in Aberdeen and a further 300 offshore.
Launched in 2009, Skandi Constructor is a 120-metre (393ft) long Ulstein SX121 DP3 mono-hull well intervention vessel that features the new X-bow design. The 8,500-tonne vessel accommodates up to 100 personnel and is capable of working in depths of up to 3,000 metres (9,842ft). It has a deck capacity of 1,470 square metres (15,822 sq ft) and features an 8m x 8m (27ft x 27ft) moon-pool, a 150-tonne crane, a multi-purpose tower with 140-tonne lift capability and two work class ROVs.
Well Ops will build and test, ready for use, a specially designed version of its 7⅜” subsea intervention lubricator (SIL) to enable subsea well interventions to be undertaken from Skandi Constructor. The SIL is a single trip well intervention system that provides well access, while managing containment when the well is ‘live’ and under pressure. The SIL is configured to undertake work through all types of subsea xmas trees. The vessel and SIL will allow Well Ops to provide its regional clients with a solution for deeper water wells and well interventions, which to date has been limited within the mono-hull vessel market.
Steve Nairn, Well Ops’ regional vice president of Europe and Africa, said: “Well Ops is extremely proud to announce the addition of a third vessel to our fleet and it underlines our commitment to providing well intervention services. Skandi Constructor strengthens our offering internationally and expands our well intervention service capability.”
The need for a third vessel in Well Ops’ fleet has been driven by demand from operators in the North Sea and in other oil and gas producing provinces. The firm recently secured contracts from a number of the North Sea’s major operators to provide light well intervention and associated subsea services from its existing vessels between 2013 and 2015.
Internationally, it has also received strong interest from operators, particularly in West Africa. This follows Well Enhancer’s deployment to the region earlier this year, where it completed what was believed to have been the region’s first well intervention project from a mono-hull vessel.
Mr Nairn added: “This is an exciting time for the company and the demand that we are witnessing is illustrative of the level of service and expertise that we can offer clients. As operators continually seek to make their operations more time and cost efficient, it is encouraging that more are turning to mono-hull vessels to conduct well intervention work.
“Our experience of providing an alternative to rig-based intervention systems has been built up over 25 years. MSV Seawell helped to pioneer light well intervention in the North Sea and we have built on this over recent years with Well Enhancer, which was the first mono-hull vessel capable of delivering coiled tubing intervention.”
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Wright’s Well Control Services (WWCS) completed a riserless subsea plug & abandonment (P&A) using tubing to pull out of the hole from a Multi-Service Vessel (MSV) in 1,250’ WD in the Gulf of Mexico. DOF Subsea USA provided marine and subsea services. New tools where custom engineered specifically for this project and successfully deployed.
One of the initial challenges addressed by the WWCS team was the one-of-a-kind tree found at the site with an annulus monitoring valve at a 35° angle. After finding no Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) tooling on the market offering the ability to nipple down and up on a subsea flange, WWCS designed and built a new torque tool. The new tool unbolted the flange and bolted in a new flange with a 2” hot stab.
The next step was to design and build a hydraulic connector that would allow WWCS to pull away from a section that might have issues while leaving a modified Tree Running Tool (TRT) subsea. This connector was designed to engage and disengage a subsea Blowout Preventer (BOP) and lubricator for additional barriers as needed without time consuming trips to the surface to add and remove the TRT.
WWCS also modified a Tubing Hanger Pulling Tool (THPT) to pull tubing with a crane subsea. The tubing was removed with a bull string on the deck of the MSV with a ROV for guidance as the segments where pulled out one at a time. One of the MSV’s moonpools was used to run the coil string and the umbilical while tubing and casing were pulled from a secondary moonpool.
Steps in the plug & abandonment procedure included: setting six (6) 16.4 ppg Class H neat cement plugs, setting three (3) Cast Iron Bridge Plugs (CIBP), cutting and pulling 37 joints of 3½” tubing, cutting and pulling 750′ of 9⅝” casing, cutting and pulling 13⅜” casing, cutting and pulling 20″ x 30″ casing with a mechanical cutter below mudline (bml), flushing a 6″ pipeline of 3890 barrels (bbls) of fluid with a modified 4” connector, recovering the umbilical tension assembly (UTA) and pipeline end manifold (PLEM), and setting a modified plumbers plug and submar mats on the lines.
“This project was a great success for everyone involved at Wright’s Well Control Services,” said WWCS president David Wright. “In 30 days we successfully executed a very challenging subsea P&A utilizing four new subsea tools including a jumper to flush the pipeline that we designed and built while on location. I’m proud of our crew and support staff. The techniques and tools deployed on this job may change how subsea P&As are conducted going forward.”
“It was great to work with WWCS on this innovative subsea P&A project,” said Brent Boyce, vice president of operations at DOF Subsea USA. “The new tooling designed to flange and re-flange the subsea annulus monitoring system interfaced perfectly with our ROVs. We were able to remove and reinstall the device even at 35 to 45° angle.”
Wright’s Well Control Services offers comprehensive surface and subsea offshore services for clients in the Gulf of Mexico. Wright’s specializes in cost effective rigless applications including patent-pending hydrate remediation, subsea BOP and plug & abandonment technologies. WWCS was founded in 2006 by David Wright who has 25 years of offshore and onshore engineering experience including work at Halliburton, The Red Adair Company and ATP. Wright’s is a privately held company employing 75 people with corporate offices in Humble (Houston), Texas and an operations facility is Lake Charles, Louisiana.
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