Team solves challenging logistics to control gas release prior to well abandonment
Challenge – The operator contacted Boots & Coots after a gas leak through one leg of the completion string was reported. Well control specialists were immediately mobilized to the location, and they performed the initial site inspection while simultaneously organizing a well control response plan for the incident. The main obstacle for organizing and executing any emergency response plan was the inaccessibility of the well location. The wellsite was situated in a mountainous area, far away from main access roads, with sections of the original road to the well covered by heavy vegetation. The access road also passed through a seasonal river bed, further hampering access to the wellsite. A detailed logistics plan was necessary for mobilizing equipment and resources in the most efficient and expedient manner.
Solution – The quickest solution was to build a temporary access road to the location while all the required equipment and resources were being secured; however, the road capacity imposed limitations on the size and weight of the vehicles and the necessary equipment. Therefore, all equipment had to be selected with this consideration in mind, without compromising the requirements of the well control operation.
The safety procedures also included a plan for emergency evacuation; due to the road conditions and the distance to the nearest hospital, transportation by road would have taken an inordinately long time. To solve this issue, a helicopter pad was prepared close to the wellsite specifically for emergency evacuation. Helicopter pilots were ready in Villamontes to respond to any emergency within 10 minutes.
Once all the required equipment had arrived on site, it was laid out in a safe distance away from the gas leak. As a standard precaution, the air quality was measured continuously. The leak was eventually discovered to be through the short string of the dual completion, and Boots & Coots engineers designed a stinger to fit into the string in order to be able to pump the kill fluid. Subsequently, the gantry extension that held the stinger string was supported by a bulldozer, enabling it to be placed a safe distance from the wellhead. A water supply was sourced and a deluge system was installed around the location as a safety precaution to protect personnel and equipment during the kill operation.
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