Region: North Sea
Content Types: Interview
Date: May, 2022

Oilenco Workshop

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Offshore Network, David Fisher, Business Development Manager at Oilenco, highlights the latest technology his company is offering to support well intervention and abandonment operations, and looks to the future in the ever-changing oil and gas market.

Since its foundation in 2008, Oilenco has established itself as a trusted designer, engineer, and manufacturer of well intervention and downhole tooling, offering solutions and support to the global oil and gas industry. Founder and Managing Director, Warren Ackroyd, established the company in Aberdeen, UK, and the company has grown and evolved internationally, with a current workforce of 38 employees and growing.

Oilenco’s core business region, as Fisher explained, is the North Sea where they serve key oil and gas operators. While the North Sea will continue to be a major focus for the company, they have recently opened an office in Stavanger, Norway, Oilenco Norge AS, to establish themselves internationally as one of the market leaders in their field. Recent projects in Australia, West Africa and the Middle East strengthens their capabilities as a global provider.


On display at OWI EU

While their scope now spans across the globe, on the immediate horizon is the Offshore Well Intervention EU 2022 (OWI EU 2022) conference arriving in Aberdeen on 14-15 June. As event sponsor, Oilenco is looking forward to showcasing a range of cutting-edge solutions available to the market.

One such technology is their Hybrid Plug range which can be used on routine well intervention or abandonment operations. Fisher commented, “The Hybrid Plug provides a secure, high-performance well isolation barrier that can be set and retrieved on slickline and uses an existing landing nipple profile within the wellbore.”

“One of the key components of the Hybrid Plug is its sealing arrangement. Conventional lock mandrels that are nipple-set tend to have a seal stack and are run and set into a specified landing nipple. However, the Hybrid Plug uses a mechanically ‘energised’ seal providing a ‘best of both worlds’ approach; the pressure integrity assurance of a bridge plug sealing element and the simple operation of a conventional blanking plug. Essentially, it is a cross between a standard lock mandrel design and a bridge plug sealing element, providing a very robust bi-directional seal.”

“As it is a ‘one-run’ solution, it brings significant time savings to the operator generating cost efficiencies, increasing safety, and reducing risk.”

In one case study demonstrating the value of this product, a North Sea operator was conducting a programme of plug and abandonment activity over several subsea wells using a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). Oilenco, to support the operation, provided a package of downhole equipment including the Annulus Bore Hybrid Plug package. During routine operations, the operator experienced difficulties establishing a satisfactory pressure test against a bridge plug that had been set in the annulus tubing. As the tubing hanger featured a landing nipple within the annulus bore, Oilenco’s Hybrid Plug could be set in the hanger profile.

The plug was successfully set, and pressure tested by the onboard slickline crew allowing this phase of the programme to be completed on schedule. It was noted that the hybrid plug solution was dependable, easy to operate, saved time, and broadened the capability of the regular offshore crew.

Hybrid plug

Another technology which the company is looking to showcase at OWI EU is the Pressure Wave Valve, an open-on-demand, intervention-free equalising device that can be attached to lock mandrels or bridge plugs and operates only when it senses a specified ‘wave’ of applied pressure.

Fisher remarked, “If you set a plugging device in the wellbore, you would have to intervene on the well to equalise it before you can pull it out of the well. This means you have to rig up wireline on the well which is an extra run in the hole causing extra risk and extra cost. However, if you have the pressure wave valve installed, it means when you want to equalise, you simply cycle pressure starting from a low-pressure, increasing to an upper pressure, and returning to a low pressure again repeatedly over 6 to 12 cycles. After a predetermined number of cycles, the valve will open.”

The Pressure Wave Valve is particularly useful in P&L/P&A operations and completion workover operations. In one instance, when an abandonment service provider was seeking timesaving opportunities to improve efficiencies during abandonment tubing recovery, they sought the help of Oilenco.

While similar solutions have been in use for several years, Oilenco’s Pressure Wave Valve incorporates significant improvements to increase the operational reliability of the device, including enhancing debris management. In the abandonment project, Oilenco were able to configure the Pressure Wave Valve for the client within their desired operating parameters. The Pressure Wave Valve was pressure cycled open, allowing the tubing to be pulled ‘dry’ without the need for further wireline intervention.

The operation of the valve is non-time dependent. Activation cycles can be carried out within minutes of each other or several months or even years later, with no specific setups required, and the operating parameters of the Pressure Wave Valve are not affected by changes in the wellbore pressures below.

PressureWaveValve 2

A full range of support

The Hybrid Plug technology and Pressure Wave Valve are key products for the company, but as Fisher was keen to emphasise, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

“We have a wide range of products and solutions that can be tailored towards a customer’s requirements. At OWI EU, we will be discussing different solutions that are relatable to routine well intervention operations and abandonment, such as our scale remedial package, safety valve remedial package, sleeve solutions and much more.”

Oilenco is more than just a high-quality product supplier. They offer a range of services including product training, so customers are fully emersed in the Oilenco solution and full operability of the product.

Fisher noted, “If a client wants to run the equipment themselves rather than receiving onsite support from an Oilenco engineer, we provide training either in our workshop or through training videos (if overseas), as well as providing technical manuals and documents to support our solutions. If attending a training course in person, the delegate is issued with a certificate of competence at the end.”

Ready for the rebound

The pandemic created challenging times for all industries, with those operating within the oil and gas industries forced to contend with uncertain prices, lockdown regulations and employee safety. While we are not completely on stable ground yet, the early recovery signs look positive for the oil and gas sector.

In relation to his company, Fisher remarked, “2018 and 2019 were strong years for us with consistent growth throughout both. 2019 was our best performing year with well intervention and abandonment activity in the North Sea. Covid presented many challenges, but we were here to help our clients through these challenging times, continuing to provide essential support, collaborating with their teams to meet supply requirements. As a result, not only were we fortunate enough to retain our headcount and keep the years of knowledge and experience we have within the company, but we also invested in our facility to ensure that post Covid, we continue to design and manufacture innovative solutions, and provide the high-quality products and services our clients have come to expect from us.”

“Coming out of Covid, certainly from a market perspective, a lot of the projects which were shelved or delayed are starting to resurface. Not only with the current oil price, but partly due to the current geopolitical situation, demand is growing and globally, we are seeing operators investing in production either in existing wells to help increase production or investing in exploration and new well discovery.”

“That being said, well abandonment is still very much on the agenda for many operators, and I am sure it will be here for the next 20-30 years. As Oilenco’s solutions are transferrable between intervention and abandonment, we look forward to continuously supporting our clients globally” Fisher commented.

In concluding, Fisher stated, “Overall, from a company side, it is good to be in a post-Covid recovery space. Being back in face-to-face meetings with clients, being involved in conferences such as OWI EU, seeing and hearing what industry and operators are planning. Oilenco can do everything from initial design to manufacturing, testing, inspection, and training, as well as providing access to a large rental fleet for immediate release. Our team have a breadth of experience that runs right through from concept to completion, it is what makes us a strong company and we are looking forward to showcasing our capabilities.”

Find out more about Oilenco at their website here.