An operator in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska required the ability to replace gas lift valves in their completion for improved oil production. Conventional methods had reached their limits due to extended well lengths and high-angle well deviations. Slickline was unable to overcome the higher deviations, while imprecise depth control during coiled tubing operations required multiple run-in-hole attempts to pull and replace the valve.
Based on previous, positive experiences with electric line – mechanical solutions, the customer chose a unique solution using a newly modified Kick-Over Tool (KOT). Two KOTs run in tandem and combined with a tractor and a hydraulic stroking tool (HST) were used to pull the existing gas lift valve (GLV) and replace it in a single run. The tractor conveyed the tool string to the correct depth where the HST and the first KOT provided the pulling force for removal. Then, the HST and second KOT were used to successfully install the new GLV into the mandrel.
The operator is now able to optimize their gas lift design without the limitations imposed by conventional means for installing GLVs such as slickline and coiled tubing. This allows them to place gas lift valves in the high angle sections when necessary for increased oil recovery from their reservoirs.
Few changes have been made to the Kick-Over Tool technology in the past 40 years but it has been recently improved to operate more reliably in deviated and horizontal wells and has been modified to accommodate the forces generated by the HST. This paper will describe the challenges with the planning and execution of this operation and the implications for future gas lift design.