Abstract: Fusing the wellbore elements together
Potential savings with innovative P&A technologies are measured globally in the billions of dollars. Avoiding the costs of conventional rig-based recovery and drill-pipe operations, while ensuring high quality and verifiable seals, are significant objectives in reducing operational risk, ensuring long term integrity, and mitigating decommissioning liabilities. In the quest for novel and more cost-effective decommissioning solutions, isol8 Ltd is integrating the unique capabilities of engineered thermite systems and low melt temperature alloys to form high performance wellbore seals for reservoir isolation and multi-annulus seal applications.
While developing engineered thermite systems to form high performance seals for nuclear waste disposal and carbon sequestration applications, it became clear that these corrosion resistant, high service temperature seals have significant potential in commercial oil and gas markets. Thermites offer a significant amount of energy in a small package, forming ceramic plugs with superior corrosion resistance, high strength, and high service temperature in cased and uncased wells. They do not, however, form contiguous, impermeable seals in the wellbore due to thermal/structural interactions with surrounding materials. However, if they are integrated with the sealing qualities of low melt temperature metal alloys such as bismuth and tin formulations, the thermite system offers high integrity platforms, mobilizes the alloy to flow and fill fractures and annuli, and produces a corrosion resistant, well-bonded metallic seal with surrounding material.
We present the technical basis for the integrated thermite/alloy plugging systems, and show how they can form high performance casing plugs as well as single and multi annulus seals. Complex thermal and CFD modelling simulates the interactions between the wellbore fluids, hardware elements, surrounding rock, and alloy material in the presence of an exothermic reaction with a peak temperature of circa 2500 degrees C. Simulations and pressure cell experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of thermite sources and the mobilization and flow of low melt temperature sealing alloys into annuli and fractures.
Andrew Louden – MSc BEng
Andrew has spent 27 years working in the well operations domain and brings valuable insights from his operating company, service company and technical consultancy experience. Andrew has a passion for identifying and delivering novel solutions to address challenging problems. He established isol8 to develop wellbore isolation technologies to help maximize economic recovery (water/gas shut-off and well integrity restoration) and permanently seal the well during the well abandonment phase (tubing, single and multi-annulus).
Most recently Andrew was the Managing Director of Interwell UK. Andrew established the UK subsidiary and grew the business from CAD $2m revenues to more than CAD $28m over 3 years; building team of >40 staff.
Prior to his time at Interwell Andrew was involved in strategic business development, real-time production monitoring and held a variety of managerial posts in Schlumberger including Completion Projects Manager (UK), WCP Marketing Manager (UK) and Well Management Team Leader (@ BP Andrew/Cyrus). Andrew was involved in the shaping of Schlumberger’s completion products business following their acquisition of Camco/Reda.
He started his career with Marathon Oil where he designed, planned and implemented platform and subsea well completion and intervention operations.
William Lowry – BS Mechanical Engineering
Bill Lowry has spent more than 35 years developing, analyzing, and testing downhole sealing systems for critical applications. His efforts have addressed challenges in nuclear waste disposal and radiation containment, extreme conditions in geothermal wells, and commercial oil and gas intervention and wellbore isolation. His technical focus encompasses energetic materials development, multi-physics computational analysis, large and small scale test design and management, and tool system design. These technical skills are complemented with business acumen in operations management, new business development, intellectual property management, and business acquisitions. Bill is the Chief Technology Officer of isol8 Ltd, managing the company’s research, development, and testing programs, and holds several patents in thermite-based wellbore sealing technologies.
He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BS in Engineering and was a research engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore CA), MSE Inc. (Butte MT), and a Vice President at QinetiQ North America (and its predecessor companies Apogen Technologies and Science & Engineering Associates, Albuquerque NM). He is the founder of Olympic Research, Inc. (Port Townsend WA), developing innovative materials and system designs that utilize engineered thermite systems for nuclear waste, oil and gas, geothermal, and carbon sequestration applications. Mr. Lowry is a registered professional engineer in Washington and California, and holds 7 patents for well sealing and environmental isolation and remediation technologies.