How Oil Well Intervention Works

Petroleum companies use rig wells to extract oil from shale rock deposits. Wells occasionally require interventions to increase oil production. Calculating what risks could interfere with well activity can save costs and protect workers. There are two types of well intervention. In light intervention, technicians lower sensors while pushing pressure up to ensure accurate condition assessments. Work crews use rigs to remove the wellhead under heavy intervention. Interventions are essential for maintaining wells before their life cycle ends.

Light Interventions

Work crews rely on light intervention by using coiled tubing, wireline and slickline. Coiled tubing involves using a long conduit to collect chemicals from the well’s bottom, known as the bottomhole, through a downhole. Sand and other particles could accumulate in the well’s pipes, which the conduit washes out. This allows more oil to flow through the pipes. Wirelines are less cumbersome than coiled tubing and can bring sensors to the surface more quickly, having the ability to interact with sensors since they conduct electricity. Slicklines record the bottomhole’s temperature, but aren’t usually used independently since it requires multiple pipes to clean out accumulated particle deposits. These wires rely on rigless intervention and is more cost-effective, whereas setting up a rig costs millions of dollars.

Heavy Interventions

Sometimes the well requires a greater overhaul if operations are too inefficient. Removing the wellhead is important because it allows full access to the well. Workers are more involved in the process and may shut down water production and use more equipment to run thorough tests. Sometimes recompletion is necessary, which helps companies shift the center of production from one area in bottomhole to another adjacent area. This helps maximize productivity and allows more time for conduits to clean out the former area. Companies like PRT Offshore use oil well platforms that are on water to conduct offshore interventions. Like with heavy interventions, subsea methods require a wellhead which connects a long tube to the ocean’s surface.

All interventions must control pressure from building up to prevent blowouts. Interventions are also needed to prevent wells from malfunctioning, which could have a devastating impact on worker safety and deter environmental wildlife. Light interventions don’t rely on a rig and use sensors to provide statistical data relating to temperature and volume of deposits. An alternative method of intervention relies on a large work force to inspect the entire well to determine the cause of more severe threats to well production.