SPE 169189: World’s First Hydrate Plug Milling on E-Line


Operators often struggle with a complex phenomenon causing unwanted and often unpredicted hydrate plugs to form in producing or injection wells, blocking production and re-entry to the well. Conventional remediation methods can be costly, time consuming, and are often ineffective.

This paper will share the knowledge gained from a world’s first operation, demonstrating that hydrates can be milled using electric line (e-line) tools. The operation was performed from a Vessel Fit for Purpose (VFFP) as a Riserless Light Well Intervention (RLWI) operation in the North Sea, offshore UK.

A hydrate plug was tagged below the subsea tree in a water injection well. This unconventional solution was chosen to restore injectivity to wellbore and minimize non-productive time (NPT). Unfortunately, during the operation, harsh weather caused operations to be stopped due to safety issues, and prevented removal of the entire hydrate plug. At that point, re-establishing functionality to the downhole safety valve became a major issue. Fortunately, in less than 20 hours of milling time 173 ft (52 m) of hydrates were removed on e-line and the operator was able to re-establish the functionality of the downhole safety valve.

E-line technology provided a swift and accurate resolution to the problem, proving that hydrates can be dealt with as easily as doing any other e-line intervention and that the technology can be run in a ‘live’ well under pressure.

Find the full paper at onepetro.org

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