Turning scale into a well plugging & abandonment (P&A) solution
Aubin design, develop and supply performance chemicals to address oil and gas industry problems. The company is driven by innovation and invests approximately 25% of turnover into R&D, with one quarter of the company’s staff employed in research and development activities.
Aubin identified an opportunity to transform Well P&A, by using chemical and material technology to create a rigless solution. Well abandonment currently requires the deployment of drilling rigs to undertake complex and costly procedures including re-perforating or milling out sections of the existing well and undertaking secondary remedial cement “squeezes” to ensure the long term integrity of the well abandonment. It has been estimated that the cost of such techniques will account for 40% of all UKCS Decommissioning costs.
Aubin worked to develop their innovative, patented Xclude technology in house, based on simple processes to form an inorganic scale within the formation, providing a barrier to hydrocarbons before they can even get into the well.
With Xclude developed, the next stage was to prove the concept, by establishing the effectiveness and control of barrier formation within representative core samples, which could be understood by engineers and the wider industry, with data that can be used in real job design for well abandonment.
Recognising existing expertise in Scottish Universities, Aubin approached OGIC and selected Heriot-Watt University as their academic partner. Their multi-disciplinary team offered the ideal fit in expertise and capabilities and delivered a scope of work to meet the project aims, enhancing the TRL of the technology.
Heriot-Watt University performed a number of core flow experiments to determine if these materials can penetrate the formation and provide an effective barrier in a controlled manner. The project involved test injecting the scaling material into core samples in a lab environment. It was possible to establish that the treatment can be propagated through a core and induce permeability reduction through the treatment process.
“For the last 25 years our core research has always been to prevent blockage of the formation. Using that experience to help advance methods for well P&A was an exciting opportunity. To do this by partnering with Aubin group, with the support of OGIC, was an excellent mechanism to develop such solutions for the Oil and Gas Industry.”
Mike Singleton, Manager FASTrac, Heriot-Watt University
Having proved the concept, Aubin were now ready to take Xclude to field trials:
“Xclude offers a viable solution for rigless well plug and abandonment, which could help to significantly reduce the cost of this activity. We’ve worked with some of the best universities in the UK to develop this technology.”
Paddy Collins, CEO, Aubin
Working in collaboration with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (The OGTC) Aubin are now seeking operator partners to undertake field trials.
“OGIC’s support, at a critical part of the development process, gave us confidence to take Xclude forward and accelerate this exciting technology’s path towards its introduction into the market.”
Paddy Collins, CEO, Aubin