(2024011) Improved Well Analysis from Depth-Based Tubing Inspection Performed in a Facility


Brian Wagner, RTS
Courtney Richardson, OXY

The installation of tubing in a well makes it susceptible to wall loss from corrosion and wear. This degradation is influenced by environmental conditions, such as temperature, pressure, corrosiveness, and flow rates, along with operating factors like the type of artificial lift and well deviation. Periodic evaluation of tubing condition throughout the well's operational life, using non-destructive testing (NDT) methods, is a recognized best practice. Common NDT methods include ‘scanning’ tubing at the wellhead during a workover or transporting tubing to a specialized facility for comprehensive inspection. The inspection equipment, whether used at the wellhead or in a facility, typically incorporates electromagnetic inspection (EMI) technology to identify defects and assess the tubing’s suitability for continued use. Wellhead and in-facility inspection methods each offer distinct advantages. However, our recent trials demonstrated that in-facility inspections can integrate some benefits traditionally exclusive to wellhead scanning. This development enhances the overall merits of in-facility inspections, establishing it as the preferred method. 

Historically, tubing inspections performed at a facility did not capture the data benefits associated with a depth-correlated inspection enabled by wellhead scanning. An innovative approach adopted to bridge this data gap incorporated a systematic numbering system implemented as tubing is laid down prior to transport to the inspection facility. Once the tubing has been inspected at the facility, the inspection results of each joint are digitally rearranged according to the order they were pulled from the well. The result is a simulated depth-based inspection where the data is then used to create a well profile. This useful graphical tool aids in downhole troubleshooting, failure analysis, and design optimization. 

In addition to the depth-based benefit that is now equalized between both inspection methods, further advantages of in-facility inspections have been obtained. The potential limitations in quality and comprehensiveness due to environmental factors of wellhead scanning conducted during well interventions will be explained. Alternatively, in-facility inspection occurs in a controlled setting under optimal conditions. This allows for comprehensive end-to-end examinations, incorporating EMI and additional inspection techniques. Such thorough assessments are pivotal in detecting subtle yet critical tubing imperfections, enabling a more comprehensive evaluation of tubing integrity. This approach not only enhances the detection of current issues but also facilitates the development of proactive maintenance strategies and well design improvements. 

A thorough inspection at the facility with depth correlation provides accurate data to adjust well design and operation. This has led to an increase in both well run time and material recovery when tubing is inspected following these changes. The details of this process and the impact of this practice on well performance will be discussed. 

Presentation Information

Wed 3:30PM - 4:20PM, Room 107
Thu 9:00AM - 9:50AM, Room 107

Annual Conference Info