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1.3.1 Open Hole (Barefoot) Completion 5
1.3.2 Uncemented Liner Completions 5
1.3.3 Cased and Cemented Completions 5
1.4.1 Gun Types and Perforation Methods 10
1.8.1 Re-entry Guide 27
1.8.2 Landing Nipple 28
1.8.3 Tubing Protection Joint 29
1.8.4 Perforated Joint 29
1.8.5 Sliding Side Door 30
1.8.6 Flow Couplings 32
1.8.7 Side Pocket Mandrels 32
1.9.1 Types Of Sub-surface Controlled Safety Valve 34
1.9.2 Surface Controlled Safety Valves 37
1.9.3 Annulus Safety Valves (ASVs) 41
1.9.4 Tubing Hanger 41
1.9.5 Xmas Tree 44
1.9.6 Production Packers 47
1.9.7 Seal Assemblies 52
1.9.8 Expansion Joints 55
1.9.9 Tubing 56
1.9.10 Sub-sea Wellheads 59
1.9.11 Examples of Single String Completions 61
1.10.1 Examples of Dual String Completions 68

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In simple terms, the term well completion refers to the methods by which a newly drilled
well can be finalised so that reservoir fluids can be produced to surface production facilities
efficiently and safely. In general, the process of completing a well includes the following:
A method of providing satisfactory communication between the reservoir and the
The design of the tubulars (casing and tubing) which will be installed in the well
An appropriate method of raising reservoir fluids to the surface
The design, and the installation in the well of the various components used to
allow efficient production, pressure integrity testing, emergency containment of
reservoir fluids, reservoir monitoring, barrier placement, well maintenance and
well kill
The installation of safety devices and equipment which will automatically shut a
well in the event of a disaster.
In general, a well is the communication link between the surface and the reservoir and it
represents a large percentage of the expenditure in the development of an oil or gas field. It is
of utmost importance that the well be completed correctly at the onset, in order that
maximum overall productivity of the field may be obtained. The ideal completion is the lowest
cost completion which will meet the demands placed on it during its producing lifetime.
Before a production well is drilled, a great deal of planning must be undertaken to ensure that
the design of the completion is the best possible. A number of factors must be taken into
consideration during this planning stage, which can broadly be split into reservoir
considerations and mechanical considerations.
Producing rate
Multiple reservoirs
Reservoir drive mechanism
Secondary recovery requirements
Sand control
Artificial lift
Workover requirements.
Functional requirements
Operating conditions
Component design
Component reliability

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Figure 1 shows an example of a north sea drilling and casing schedule the main features are as
1. The installation of a 30 ins conductor to approx 500 ft. Conductor pipe provides
structural strength, covers soft formations just below the sea bed and is the largest
diameter pipe installed in a well. The hole required to accommodate conductor pipe can
be drilled (onshore) of pile driven (offshore).
2. The installation of 20 ins surface casing which terminates at 1,000 ft total vertical depth.
Surface casing pipe provides protection against shallow gas, seals off shallow water
bearing sands, and provides a base for the BOP stack and the wellhead assembly.
Surface casing is always cemented back to surface.
3. The installation of 13
ins intermediate casing which terminates at 4,000 ft total
vertical depth. Intermediate casing pipe is used to protect weak formations; helps
prevent lost circulation of drilling fluids, and hole caving. (In a deep well, more than one
intermediate casing string may be set.) Intermediate casing is usually cemented to a few
hundred feet above the casing shoe of the surface casing string.
4. The installation of 9
ins production casing which terminates approx 7,500 ft total
vertical depth. Production casing pipe is used to provide control of the completed well
and is the main string that reaches down to the producing interval(s). Production casing
is usually cemented to a few hundred feet above the casing shoe of the intermediate
casing string.
NOTE: Drilling operations may be resumed to deepen the well and liner casing
installed and hung off from the lower end of the production casing.
A wellhead provides a means of:
Support for each casing string
Support for the BOP equipment for the next section of hole to be drilled
Sealing off the various annuli from pressure control purposes
Support for the completion string
Support for the Xmas Tree
Control of annulus pressure.
Surface wellheads are installed in sections after each casing string is run. Each casing hanger
also provides an annulus seal. Subsequent wellhead sections seal off on top of the previous
casing string. Figure 2 shows a simplified schematic of surface wellhead sections. The bullets
shown represent a common way of representing annuli.
The 9
ins or production casing string when we insert tubing in the well this
would be termed the tubing/production casing annulus
The 9
ins and 13
ins annulus
ins and 20 ins annulus.

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Figure 1 - North Sea Casing Profile Example

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Figure 2 - Typical Surface Wellhead System

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There are several methods of completing a well at the producing zone (or zones) in order to
admit reservoir fluids into the borehole at the depth of the reservoir (or reservoirs).
1.3.1 Open Hole (Barefoot) Completion
Production casing is set and cemented to a depth just above the producing zone. The
reservoir is then drilled into and the drilled hole left as it is (Refer to Figure 3a). This type of
completion is ideal where the reservoir rock is of the appropriate mechanical strength i.e. is
consolidated and will not slough or cave in.
Open hole completions have very little application in the North Sea where reservoirs are
heterogeneous or where the development is high risk and high cost. Open hole completions
offer no scope for isolating individual zones for production, stimulation or remedial work.
However, this bottom hole completion type is used extensively in land fields where cost
savings from not running and perforating casing significantly reduce total well costs. The
advantages and disadvantages of open hole completion types are indicated in Table 1.
1.3.2 Uncemented Liner Completions
In a non-consolidated formation where sand is likely to be produced, a non-cemented liner
may be used. The production casing is set above the producing zone and an open hole drilled.
The open hole is then lined with a short length of slotted or wire-wrapped casing (or tubing)
which is hung from the production casing and sealed into it (Refer to Figure 3b). The slots or
wire wrapped pipe prevents sand from entering the well bore.
In sandy wells where slotted or wire wrapped liner has proved inadequate, the refinement
technique of gravel packing has been developed. Gravel packing consists of filling the annular
space between the open hole and the liner with a sheath of gravel - the external gravel pack.
The gravel used is a coarse sand with a grain diameter appropriate for controlling unwanted
sand production. Sand screens are available where the coarse sand is already pre-packed in the
liner assembly.
This bottom hole completion type has all the disadvantages of the open hole completion with
the added cost of the liner and liner hanger thrown in. Uncemented liner applications are as
for the open hole type, but where unconsolidated sands require to be controlled. The
advantages and disadvantages of uncemented liner completion types are indicated in Table 1.
1.3.3 Cased and Cemented Completions
This is the most common type of bottom hole completion methods especially in the north
sea. In this type of completion the production casing or liner is set and cemented through and
beyond the producing zone or zones. Communication with the reservoir is then established by
shooting holes through the casing or liner (Refer to Figure 3c). The cement sheath around the
liner/casing isolates each zone or layer of a reservoir and permits zones to be selectively
perforated, produced, and stimulated. The initial cost of completing this way has higher cost
implications. The advantages and disadvantages of cased and cemented completion types are
indicated in Table 1.

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Bottom Hole
Advantages Disadvantages
Open Hole
No perforating, no production
casing, no cementing expense
Minimum rig time
Full diameter hole in the pay
zone improves productivity
No critical log interpretation is
Liable to sand out
No selectivity for production or
Ability to isolate is limited to the
lower part of the hole.
Slotted Liner
No perforating or cementing
expense for the production
Assists in preventing sand
No critical log interpretation is
No selectivity for production or
Cost of slotted liner or pre-
packed screen
Difficult to isolate zones for
production control
Slightly longer completion time
than for open hole completion.
Cased and
Introduces flexibility allowing
isolation of zones and selection
of zones for production or
Requires critical log
interpretation to specify actual
perforation zone
Cost of casing/liner and
Cost of rig time for longer
completion period.
Table 1 - Bottom Hole Completion Techniques - Advantages And Disadvantages

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Figure 3 - Methods Of Completing At The Producing Zone

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It will be necessary in most cases to perforate a hydrocarbon bearing zone in cased hole
completions in order to realise optimum production. Some wells can flow open-hole but,
where a formation is relatively unconsolidated, flow rates are expected to be high and for
reasons of safety, perforated cased hole completions are usually considered preferable.
Perforating is an operation whereby holes are made through the production casing (or liner)
and its cement sheath into the reservoir to permit oil or gas to flow into the wellbore.
Nowadays, virtually all perforating is performed with shaped charge perforators. Bullet
perforators are occasionally used for particular applications.
As far a completion design is concerned, the following comment cannot be overstated.
The fate of a well hinges on years of exploration, months of planning, and weeks of
drilling. But ultimately it depends on perforating the optimal completion, which begins
with the first millisecond of perforating. Profitability is strongly influenced by the critical
link between the reservoir and the wellbore.
Perforations must provide a clean flow channel between the producing formation and the
wellbore with minimum damage to the producing formation. The ultimate test of the
effectiveness of a perforating system, however, is the well productivity. The productivity of a
perforated completion depends significantly on the geometry of the perforations. The major
geometrical factors (Refer to Figure 4) that determine the efficiency of flow in a perforated
completion are:
Perforation length
Shot density
Angular phasing
Perforation diameter.
The relative importance of each of these factors on well productivity depends on the type of
completion, formation characteristics, and the extent of formation damage from drilling and
cementing operations. The method of perforating a well must be meticulously planned.

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Figure 4 - Perforation Geometry

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1.4.1 Gun Types and Perforation Methods
There are three basic perforating gun types:
Retrievable hollow carrier gun
Non-Retrievable or Expendable gun
Semi-Expendable gun.
Each type is available for through tubing work or as a casing gun. (Refer to Figure 5a)
The retrievable hollow gun carrier consists of a steel tube into which a shaped charge is
secured - the gun tube is sealed against hydrostatic pressure. The charge is surrounded by air
at atmospheric pressure. When the charge fires, the explosive force slightly expand the carrier
wall but the gun and the debris within the gun are fully retrieved from the well.
The non-retrievable or expendable gun consists of individually sealed cases made of a
frangible material e.g. aluminium, ceramic or cast iron (Refer to Figure 5b). The shaped charge
is contained within the case and when detonated, blasts the case into small pieces. Debris
remains in the well.
With semi-expendable guns, the charges are secured on a retrievable wire carrier or metal
bar (Refer to Figure 5c). This reduces the debris left in the well and generally increases the
ruggedness of the gun.
There are currently three standard methods of perforating a well using shaped charges:
Casing gun perforating (run on wireline)
Through-tubing perforating (TTP) (run on wireline)
Tubing-conveyed perforating. (TCP) (Run on tubing)
Figure 6 shows schematically the application of the three main perforating techniques.
TCP combines the best features of both casing guns and through-tubing guns and not
surprisingly is now the most widely used perforating technique used in the North Sea.
The guns are run as an integral part of a drill stem test (DST) or a completion string. The guns
are fired only after a packer has been set, a surface test tree has been installed, and the entire
completion string pressure integrity tested. Firing (detonation) can be achieved using annulus
or tubing pressure, mechanically or electrically in which case a wireline assembly has to be run
in the well. A time delay mechanism is incorporated to allow the surface tubing pressure to be
bled off to give the desired over balance/under balance when the guns fire. A typical device is
shown in Figure 7. The guns can be jettisoned after firing and allowed to fall to the bottom of
the well below the perforated interval.
NOTE: The completion requirement for a TCP system is to allow an appropriate
sump for the guns to fall into.
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The advantages of TCP systems are:
Large intervals can be perforated at one time
Easy to perforate in deviated wells
Large gun sizes can be used with high shot densities
Perforating may be carried out in under-balanced conditions
Safest method to perforate.
The disadvantages are:
Entire completion string must be pulled and re-run if the guns fail
Additional hole must be drilled below the reservoir to accommodate the guns.
For a TCP system, a radioactive source is incorporated in a sub in the completion string for
correlating the guns. The sub can be logged with a gamma ray logging tool to determine the
exact position of the guns with respect to the formation.

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Figure 5 - Perforating Gun Types
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Figure 6 - Perforating Techniques

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Figure 7 - Hydraulic Time Delay System
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The first tangible evidence of having found a hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir in an exploration
well, is provided by the drill cuttings. This evidence may be backed up by core sampling
and/or logging. However, the only way to find out if the hydrocarbons are recoverable is to
run a drill stem test (DST), which is a means of flowing the well safely to surface to monitor
the reservoirs dynamic performance. Historically DSTs were performed using drill string, as
the name implies, but nowadays most offshore DSTs are run using a specially design string
with tubing as the production conduit. An example of a DST string is illustrated in Figure 8.
The purpose of a DST is to obtain reservoir data necessary to plan the development of a field
and to optimise recovery from a well. Such reservoir data includes:
The static reservoir pressure
The composition of the produced fluids
The well productivity
Indications of reservoir heterogeneities or boundaries.
Knowledge of the initial static reservoir pressure is vital and must be made before it is
disturbed by significant flow. It is from this reference point that comparisons and calculations
are made which help to define the development of the reservoir. Also of great importance is
the effect of flowing the well on its drive mechanism. Accurate well testing and analysis of
results from several exploratory wells will reveal the nature and source of this drive.
The Productivity Index (PI) is the starting point for examining a wells ability to deliver fluid.
In Figure 9 we can see that the productivity index is 16.6 bbl/day per psi drawdown.
Theoretically then, for every 1 psi the well is drawn down a further 16.6 barrels will be
produced. This relationship between flowing BHP and fluid production will form a straight
line on an IPR curve (Refer to Figure 10) until drawdown is sufficient to reduce the BHP
below the bubble point.
Knowing the PI can enable us to select a production rate at surface with a known drawdown.
The production choice will be selected to ensure the well produces above the bubble point
and a suitable tubing ID can be chosen to best serve the reservoir management policy.
Inflow performance relates to the movement or flow of fluid from a reservoir into the bottom
of the wellbore. Inflow performance response (IPR) or deliverability curves are used to
evaluate and predict well performance at the exploration stage. Periodic production tests and
also used to define the IPR curve after the completion string has been installed in the well. An
IPR curve is a plot of the drawdown induced by flowing the well versus the flow rate at the
bottom of the well. For a reservoir containing liquids, the drawdown is the difference between
the static reservoir pressure and the flowing pressure at the depth of the reservoir. An example
of an IPR curve for a liquid reservoir is shown in Figure 10. An IPR curve is specific to the
well at the time of testing. Pressure depletion from the reservoir will change the IPR curve.
An important application of IPR curves for wells drilled into a particular reservoir system is in
the maintenance of production. If one or more wells are shut in, petroleum engineers, using
IPR curves, can predict the appropriate choke sizes for flow from other wells in the same field
to compensate for lost production. The other important application of IPR curves is in
completion design.

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Figure 8 - Typical Drill Stem Test (DST) String
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Figure 9 - Productivity Index

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Figure 10 - Example Of An IPR Curve
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Vertical lift performance (VLP) is concerned with the movement of reservoir fluids from the
wellbore at the depth of the reservoir to the production choke on surface. VLP curves are
dependent on tubing intake pressures, tubing head pressures, tubing IDs, tubing pressure
losses, fluid properties, fluid phase behaviour, and choke performance. The inflow and
outflow systems for a well are illustrated in Figure 11.

Figure 11 - Well Outflow And Inflow Systems

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t NOTE: During production, cri ical flowing conditions are usually maintained at
the choke. Maintaining critical flow can be achieved by ensuring the
flowing pressure immediately downstream of the choke is restricted to
less than 50% of the flowing pressure observed immediately upstream of
the choke.
An example of VLP curves for various pipes IDs is shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12 - Typical Vertical Lift Performance (VLP) For Various Tubing Sizes
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Matching the VLP curve to the IPR curve (nodal analysis) will identify which ID will be
appropriate for the production required from the well (Refer to Figure 13). Tubing selected on
this basis will optimise flow from the reservoir to production facilities. When depletion of a
reservoir occurs, VLP curves are utilised to determine the new conduit size to match its new
IPR curve.

Figure 13 - Matching VLP Curves With An IPR Curve

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The design of a completion string involves the selection of components that perform specific
functions and these functions are dependent on the philosophy of the operating company.
Operating company philosophies differ with respect to completion string design and in some
cases there are historic reasons for the inclusion of components that provide specific
In this section the functional requirements for a completion string will be discussed here by
example. Next, actual completion examples will be illustrated and differing philosophies
Completion Design Example 1
Consider the casing schematic of Figure 14. The objective is to design a completion string for
this well with following basic functional requirements:
To provide optimum flowing conditions
To protect the casing from well fluids
To contain reservoir pressure in an emergency
To enable down hole chemical injection
To enable the well to be put in a safe condition prior to removing the production
conduit (i.e. to be killed)
To enable routine downhole operations.
NOTE: The above functional requirements are not exhaustive.
A completion string that fulfils these functional requirements is illustrated in Figure 14. It is
important to realise this example design is only a solution and not the solution. This design is
called a single zone single string completion.
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Figure 14 - Completion Design Example 1

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The completion design of Figure 14 also addresses the other functional requirements of:
Suspension the tubing
Compensation for expansion or contraction of the tubing
Internal erosion of the tubing
Protection of the reservoir during well kill operations
Pumping operations for well kill
Well intervention operations out of the lower end of the tubing
Pressure integrity testing
Reservoir monitoring
Installation points for well barriers.
The component selection for this completion is shown in Table 2.
Functional Requirement Component
Optimise production Tubing ID
Casing protection Tubing hanger
Permanent packer
Emergency containment Safety valve landing nipple (SVLN)
Hydraulic control line
Wireline retrievable safety valve (WRSV)
Chemical injection Side pocket mandrel (SPM)
Well kill Sliding side door (SSD)
Routine downhole operations Xmas Tree
Tubing string movement Seal assembly
Extend tubing life Flow couplings
Support Tubing hanger
Barrier installation points Landing nipples
Tubing hanger
Pressure testing Landing nipples
Pumping operations Piping manifold c/w Choke
Table 2 - Component Selection For Completion Example 1
NOTE: Some components have dual functions.
NOTE: This completion design utilises a permanent packer and tailpipe that will
be installed by wireline techniques or hydraulically via a work string, prior
to running the completion string. (Packer systems will be discussed later.)

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Completion Design Example 2
Figure 15 shows another example of a single zone single string completion that illustrates
additional functional requirements.
The component selection for this completion is shown in Table 3.
Component Function
Tubing hanger
Tubing support
Tubing to casing seal
Barrier installation point
Sub-surface safety valve (SSSV) Emergency containment
Flow couplings Tubing protection against internal erosion
Upper side pocket mandrels (SPMs) Unloading annulus liquids
Lowest side pocket mandrel (SPM) Point of gas injection
Sliding side door (SSD)
Tubing to annulus circulation
Barrier installation Point
Landing nipple
Pressure testing of tubing string
Barrier installation point
Retrievable packer
Protect the casing from well fluids
Ensure retrievability of all components
Landing nipple
Pressure testing of tubing string
Barrier installation Point
Installation point for plug to set packer
Perforated joint
Allows flow of fluid when monitoring reservoir
Landing nipple (No-Go)
Installation point for pressure/temperature gauges
Catches fallen well intervention tools
Re-entry guide
Allows unrestricted re-entry of well intervention
tools into the tubing
Table 3 - Component Selection For Completion Example 2
NOTE: This completion utilises a retrievable packer that will be run and set in
the casing by the application of pressure to the tubing. (Packer systems
will be discussed later.)
The additional functional requirements of this completion design are:
Retrievability of all components from the well
Reservoir monitoring
Injection of gas in into tubing to assist production.

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Figure 15 - Completion Design Example 2
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The following completion component descriptions follow the completion design of Figure 14
and Figure 15. This completion incorporates components common to many well completions.
Workovers are often a result of the failure of a completion component, and thus a good
working knowledge of completion components and their purpose is an essential pre-requisite
to understanding workover and well control problems.
1.8.1 Re-entry Guide
A re-entry guide generally takes one of two forms:
Bell guide
Mule shoe.
The bell guide (Refer to Figure 16) has a 45 lead in taper to allow easy re-entry into the
tubing of well intervention tool strings (i.e., wireline or coiled tubing). This guide is commonly
used in completions where the end of the tubing string does not need to bypass the top of a
liner hanger.
The mule shoe guide (Refer to Figure 16) is essentially the same as the bell guide with the
exception of a large 45 shoulder. Should the tubing land on a liner lip while running the
completion in the well, the large 45 shoulder should orientate onto the liner lip and guide the
tubing into the liner.

Figure 16 - Re-entry Guides

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1.8.2 Landing Nipple
A landing nipple (Refer to Figure 17) is a short tubular device with an internally machined
profile which can accommodate and secure a locking device called a lock mandrel run usually
using wireline well intervention equipment. The landing nipple also provides a pressure seal
against the internal bore of the nipple and the outer surface of the locking mandrel.
Landing nipples are incorporated at various points in the completion string depending on their
functional requirement. Common uses for landing nipples are as follows:
Installation points for setting plugs for pressure testing, setting hydraulic-set
packers or isolating zones
Installation point for a sub-surface safety valve (SSSV)
Installation point for a downhole regulator or choke
Installation point for bottom hole pressure and temperature gauges.
A No-Go landing nipple (Refer to Figure 17) has a small shoulder located within the internal
bore of the nipple. The primary reason for a No-Go shoulder is to locate the correct lock
mandrel. A secondary function would be to prevent wireline tools from falling out of the end
the tubing, if dropped. Only one No-Go landing nipple of the same size can be used in a
completion string, the lowermost nipple being the No-Go nipple. More than one No-Go
landing nipple can be incorporated in a completion string provided that a step down in No-
Go shoulder size is observed.
NOTE In h ghly dev ated we s it may not be possible to use landing nipples at
inclinations greater than 70. Wireline operators commonly use landing
nipples for depth references.

Figure 17 - Landing Nipples
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The plugs that may be installed in Landing Nipples are:
Plug with shear disc (pump-open)
Plug with equalising valve
Plug with non-return valve.
and the choice of plug depends on the pressure control required and the chances of retrieval.
1.8.3 Tubing Protection Joint
This is a joint of tubing included for the specific purpose of protecting bottom hole pressure
and temperature gauges from excessive vibration while installed in the landing nipple directly
1.8.4 Perforated Joint
A perforated joint (Refer to Figure 18) may be incorporated in the completion string for the
purpose of providing bypass flow if bottom hole pressure and temperature gauges are used for
reservoir monitoring. The design criteria for a perforated joint is that the total cross-sectional
area of the holes should be at least equivalent to the cross sectional area corresponding to
internal diameter of the tubing.

Figure 18 - Perforated Joint

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1.8.5 Sliding Side Door
A sliding side door (SSD) or sliding sleeve (Refer to Figure 19) allows communication
between the tubing and the annulus. Sliding side doors consist of two concentric sleeves, each
with slots or holes. The inner sleeve can be moved with well intervention tools, usually
wireline, to align the openings to provide a communication path for the circulation of fluids.
Sliding side doors are used for the following purposes:
To circulate a less dense fluid into the tubing prior to production
To circulate appropriate kill fluid into the well prior to workover
As a production device in a multi-zone completion
As a contingency should tubing/tailpipe plugging occur
As a contingency to equalise pressure across a deep set plug after pressure
integrity testing
As an alternative flow path should a plug become stuck in a wireline nipple.
NOTE: As with all communication devices, the differential pressure across SSDs
should be known prior to opening.
NOTE: In some areas, the sealing systems between the concentric sleeves are
incompatible with the produced fluids and hence alternative methods of
producing tubing to annulus communication is used (e.g. side pocket
mandrel, tubing perforating).
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Figure 19 - Sliding Side Door (SSD)

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1.8.6 Flow Couplings
Flow couplings are used in many completions above and/or below a completion component
where turbulence may exist to prevent loss of tubing string integrity and mechanical strength
due to internal erosion directly above and/or below the component. Turbulence may be
caused by the profiles internal to a component.
Flow couplings are thick walled tubulars (of the same internal diameter as the tubing) made of
high grade alloy steel usually supplied in 10, 15, or 20 ft lengths and their use depends on
internal erosion criteria obtained from fluid velocity and particulate content analysis.
NOTE: In multi-zone completions, blast joints are commonly used to prevent loss
of tubing string integrity due to external erosion resulting from the jetting
actions directly opposite producing formations.
1.8.7 Side Pocket Mandrels
A side pocket mandrel (SPM) (Refer to Figure 20) along with its through bore, contains an
offset pocket which is ported to the annulus. Various valves can be installed/retrieved
into/from the side pocket by wireline methods to facilitate annulus-to-tubing communication.
Side pocket valves, which provide a seal above and below the communication ports, include:
Gas lift valves When installed in the SPM, the valve responds to the pressure
of gas injected into the annulus by opening and allowing gas
injection into the tubing. In a gas lift system, the lowest SPM is
that used for gas injection into the tubing and the upper SPMs
are those used to unload the annulus of completion fluid down
to the point of gas injection.
Chemical injection valves These allow injection of chemicals (e.g. corrosion inhibitors)
into the tubing. They are opened by pressure on the annulus
Circulation valves These are used to circulate fluids from the annulus to the
tubing without damaging the pocket.
Equalisation valves Are isolation and pressure equalisation devices that prevent
communication between the tubing and the annulus, and can
provide an equalisation facility by initially removing a prong
from the valve.
Differential kill valves These are used to provide a means of communication between
the annulus and the tubing by the application of annulus
pressure. An SPM with a differential valve installed provides the
same function as a sliding side door.
Dummy valves These are solely isolation devices that prevent communication
between the tubing and the annulus.
NOTE: An SPM may be used as a circulation device in preference to an SSD as
side pocket valves may be retrieved for repair and/or seal replacement.
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Figure 20 - Side Pocket Mandrel (SPM)

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The purpose of a safety valve is to shut off flow from a well in the event of a potentially
catastrophic situation occurring. These situations include serious damage to the wellhead,
failure of surface equipment, and fire at surface. Many oil operating companies have differing
philosophies on the inclusion of safety valve in their completion. For example, in an offshore
well, at least one safety valve is placed in every well at a depth which varies from 200 ft to
2,000 ft below the seabed. The depth at which a safety is installed in a completion is
dependent on well environment (onshore, offshore), production characteristics (wax or
hydrate deposition depth), and the characteristics of the safety valve. (maximum and minimum
setting depths)
NOTE: It is general y recommended that a safety valve is installed in a well that is
capable of sustaining natural flow.
In most oil operating areas the installation of a safety valve is governed by law.
There are numerous types of safety valves in field operation, but in our case we are going to
concentrate on only four types. Two subsurface controlled, and two surface controlled valves.
1.9.1 Types Of Sub-surface Controlled Safety Valve
Ambient pressure operated
Differential pressure operated.
NOTE: Both examples are known as Direct Acting valves and are classed as
pressure activated devices.
Ambient Pressure Activated (Storm Choke)
This type of valve is normally closed. The well pressure (hydrostatic or flowing) keeps the
valve open. If the well starts to produce at an increase flow rate, the tubing pressure drops and
the valve is closed by a spring and pre-charged nitrogen chamber. The valve must be set for
the given well conditions and its location in the well. Once closed, the valve can be re-opened
by applying tubing pressure above it, or by means of an equalising valve, run on wireline . The
valve is popular in many land operations due to its minimal price compared to a surface
controlled system. They are often used as back ups for tubing, or wireline retrievable safety
valves. They can be of the rotating ball, flapper or ball and seat type. The valve can be
installed and retrieved under pressure by wireline methods.
Pressure Differential Activated (Velocity Valve or Storm Choke)
This type of valve is normally open. The valve operates on a spring loaded flow bean pressure
differential principle. The spring holds the valve off-seat until the well flow reaches a
predetermined rate. When the pressure differential across the bean exceeds the spring tension
the valve is designed to close off the well flow. Once closed, the valve can be re-opened by
applying tubing pressure above it, or by means of an equalising valve run on wireline. The
valve can be installed and retrieved under pressure by wireline methods.
34 RIG

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Figure 21 - Otis J Differential Pressure Safety Valve

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Figure 22 - Otis H Ambient Pressure Safety Valve
36 RIG

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1.9.2 Surface Controlled Safety Valves
Wireline retrievable valve (WRSV)
Tubing retrievable. (TRSV)
Wireline Retrievable Valve
This valve is actuated open usually by application of hydraulic pressure from surface via a
control line run to the depth of the safety valve. Loss of hydraulic pressure will result in
closure of the valve. A number of monitoring pilots or sensing devices can be linked to the
surface/subsurface safety system. Each pilot can be set to monitor various flowing and shut-in
parameters, and will close the valve to close if a potentially dangerous situation occurs.
The valve is run on wireline (slickline) and is installed in a special safety valve landing nipple
(SVLN). This SVLN is made up as part of the completion string. A control line which is
attached to the completion string by special clamp, provides hydraulic pressure to actuate the
valve open.
The main advantage of utilising a WRSV is that it can be economically retrieved for
inspection. A primary disadvantage of a WRSV is related to its restricted bore, which causes a
restriction to flow. The pressure or temperature drop across the valve may cause hydrate or
paraffin plugging if an appropriate condition exists.
Tubing Retrievable Valve (TRSV)
A tubing retrievable safety valve (TRSV) run as part of the tubing string is classified as a
TRSV. To open the valve, hydraulic pressure is applied to the valve through a control line
attached to the completion string by means of a special clamp.
The main advantage of a TRSV is a full bore unrestricted flow through the flapper or ball
valve. The full-bore unrestricted flow may reduce or eliminate hydrate or paraffin
accumulation. The main disadvantage is that in the event of a critical failure of the valve, the
completion string must be pulled and this can be an extremely expensive operation. This
disadvantage has been partially overcome by the development of lock open tools and the
provision of a surface controlled wireline retrievable insert valve which can be installed in the
body of the TRSV. Most valves are installed with a flapper operating mechanism. Examples of
the two devices can be found in Figure 23 and Figure 24.

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Figure 23 - Typical Surface Controlled Wireline Retrievable Safety Valve (WRSV)
38 RIG

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Figure 24 - Typical Surface Controlled Tubing Retrievable Safety Valve (TRSV)

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Figure 25 - Annulus Safety Valve
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1.9.3 Annulus Safety Valves (ASVs)
In gas lift systems where large amounts of pressurised gas exists in the tubing-casing annulus,
Annulus Safety Valves may be incorporated to contain this gas inventory in the annulus in the
event that the wellhead becomes damaged. ASVs are not discussed here but an example
completion design incorporating such a device is shown in Figure 43. An example of an ASV
is shown in Figure 25
1.9.4 Tubing Hanger
The tubing hanger is a completion component which is landed and locked inside the tubing
head spool and provides the following functions:
Suspends the tubing
Provides a seal between the tubing and the tubing head spool
Installation point for barrier protection
Is landed and locked.
The tubing head spool provides the following functions:
Provides a facility to lock the tubing hanger in place
Provides a facility for fluid access to the A (Production) annulus
Provides an appropriate base for the completion Xmas Tree
Is landed and locked.
An example of a tubing hanger/tubing head spool system is shown in Figure 26. Such tubing
hanger systems allow completion tubing to be suspended in tension (i.e. all the tubing weight
minus fluid buoyancy) or the tubing suspended in compression.
NOTE: Completion strings may be set in compression to accommodate for
tubing movement as a result of pumping cold fluids into the tubing, i.e.
thermal contraction effects. For example, water injection wells may be set
in compression prior to landing the hanger by installing additional tubing
in the well. When the water injection system is operating, thermal effects
will contract the string appropriate to the additional tubing installed.
Setting a completion in compression requires that the tubing-to-packer
arrangement be appropriate. (Packer systems will be discussed later.)
NOTE: Completion strings may also be set in tension to compensate for thermal
expansion of the tubing due to production. Setting a completion in
tension requires pulling the tubing in tension prior to production and
closing rams around a hanger nipple. The hanger nipple is run an
appropriate distance below a ram type tubing hanger (Refer to Figure 27)
and the tension applied to the tubing string to remove tubing from the
well equivalent to that expected from thermal expansion. Setting a
completion in tension requires that the tubing- o-packer arrangement be
appropriate. (Packer systems will be discussed later.)

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Figure 26 - Tubing Head Spool/Tubing Hanger System
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Figure 27 - Ram Type Tubing Hanger System

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1.9.5 Xmas Tree
A Xmas Tree is an assembly of valves, all with specific functions, used to control flow from
the well and to provide well intervention access for well maintenance or reservoir monitoring.
NOTE: The Xmas Tree is normally connected directly to the tubing hanger spool
that sits on the uppermost casing head spool. The whole assemblage of
Xmas Tree, tubing hanger, and uppermost casing head spool is
sometimes referred to as the wellhead.
A Xmas Tree may be a composite collection of valves or, more commonly nowadays,
constructed from a single block (Refer to Figure 28). The solid block enables the unit to be
smaller and eliminates the danger of leakage from flanges.
Typically, from bottom to top, an Xmas Tree will contain the following valves:
Lower master gate valve Manually operated and used as a last resort to shut in a well.
Upper master gate valve Usually hydraulically operated and also used to shut in a well.
Flow wing valve Manually operated to permit the passage of hydrocarbons to
the production choke.
Kill wing valve Manually operated to permit entry of kill fluid to into the
Swab valve Manually operated and used to allow vertical access into the
tubing for well intervention work.
NOTE: Modern Xmas Tree valves are of the gate-valve type that allows full bore
A typical surface wellhead and Xmas Tree are shown in Figure 29.
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Figure 28 - Typical Xmas Tree

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Figure 29 - Typical Surface Wellhead And Xmas Tree
46 RIG

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1.9.6 Production Packers
A production packer may be defined as a sub-surface component used to provide a seal
between the casing and the tubing in a well to prevent the vertical movement of fluids past the
sealing point, allowing fluids from a reservoir to be produced to surface facilities through the
production tubing.
NOTE: By no means are all wells completed with production packers. However,
for the purposes of this course, only those packers used in well
completions will be discussed.
The prime purpose of using a packer or packers in a well completion is as follows:
To protect the casing from reservoir fluids
To protect the casing from the effects of flowing pressures
To isolate various producing zones.
In general, packers are constructed of hardened slips, which are forced to bite into the casing
wall to prevent upward or downward movement while a system of rubberised elements
contact the casing wall to effect a seal.
Production packers may be grouped according to their ability to be removed from a well, that
is, retrievable or permanent.
Retrievable Production Packers
Are run on the tubing string and may be set mechanically or hydraulically. They are usually
removed from the well by the application of mechanical forces. An example of a retrievable
production packer is shown in Figure 30.
Permanent Production Packers
These may be run in a variety of ways and become an integral part of the casing once set. A
permanent packer may be run as follows:
On electric wireline and set in the casing using pyrotechnics to generate the forces
required to set it in the casing
On pipe and set hydraulically by the application of pipe pressure.
Figure 31 shows an example of this type of permanent packer.
NOTE: Both the above methods provide a disconnect mechanism from the
setting device. The setting device is removed from the well after the
packer has been set. The completion string is then run into the well and a
seal assembly stabbed into the polished bore of the packer.

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Figure 30 - Example Of A Retrievable Packer
48 RIG

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Figure 31 - Example Of A Permanent Packer

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Permanent packers may also be run:
Latched onto the completion tubing and hydraulically set by the application of
tubing pressure.
NOTE: The tubing may be disconnected from the packer by rotation of the latch
system or by utilising an expansion joint located in the completion
directly above the latch assembly.
Figure 32 shows an example of this type of permanent (hydro-set) packer.
Permanent/Retrievable Production Packers
These packers have the same mechanical characteristics as permanent packers, but have the
facility to be released and recovered from the well. These packers will not be discussed in this
NOTE: In general, permanent production packers can withstand greater
differential pressures than the equivalent retrievable packer, although
recent developments in packer technologies have narrowed the gap
between the two types.
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Figure 32 - Example Of Hydro-Set Permanent Packer

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1.9.7 Seal Assemblies
Seal assemblies; run on tubing, packs off in the bore of a permanent packer. The sealing
element frequently used is the chevron packing ring, fabricated from synthetic rubber, or from
plastic such as Teflon. Seal rings are assembled in sets, facing opposite directions, to give a
two-way seal. An alternative to chevron seals is the moulded rubber sleeve and in some
permanent packer systems a choice of either is provided.
Figure 33 illustrates the assemblies available for connecting the tubing to the packer and
maintaining a seal.
Locator Seal Assembly
Locator seal assemblies incorporates a top No-Go shoulder, which locates on the bevel of the
packer body, just above the le ft-hand thread. This type of assembly allows the tubing to set in
neutral or compression.
NOTE: Seal assemblies of this type can be used without the locating No-Go
Locator seal assemblies do not permit the tubing to be landed in tension. At most the full
tubing weight can be hung off at the tubing hanger. However, when the well is producing, the
temperature of the tubing will increase and the tubing will expand longitudinally. With the
locator seated on the packer, and top of the tubing string fixed in the tubing hanger,
expansion can take place only at the expense of buckling. By using a series of seal subs below
the locator, the tubing can be pulled back a calculated distance (space-out) and then landed,
leaving the locator the same distance above the packer, but with the seal assembly still within
the packer bore. This will allow for tubing expansion or contraction. A completion string may
also be spaced out appropriately if overall cooling of the tubing string will occur e.g. in a water
injection well.
Anchor Seal Assembly
This seal assembly has a latch sleeve, threaded to match the le ft-hand thread at the top of the
packer. The lower part of the sleeve, carrying the thread, has vertical slots cut in it, and the
lower flank of the thread is chamfered. On entry into the packer, the latch sleeve collapses
inwards, and then springs out to engage the thread of the packer. The anchor seal assembly
permits the tubing to be landed in compression, neutral, or tension. The anchor seal assembly
can be released from the permanent packer by pulling the tubing in slight tension and rotating
the tubing right-handed at surface. The latching sleeve will back out of the packer.
Polished Bore Receptacles (PBRs)
These are usually anchor latched to a hydro-set packer and run in the well in the closed
position (shear ringed, shear pinned, J-slotted). After the packer is set, the PBR may be spaced
out appropriately. A PBR affords maximum flow capability through the packer and allows a
method of disconnecting from the packer for workover operation.
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Tubing Seal Receptacles (TSRs)
These are usually anchor latched to a hydro-set packer and run in the well in the closed
position (shear ringed, shear pinned, J-slotted). After the packer is set, the TSR may be spaced
out appropriately. A TSR affords maximum flow capability through the packer and allows a
method of disconnecting from the packer for workover operation. A TSR affords protection
to the seals. Also, a TSR may be manufactured with circulation ports on the inner mandrel.
PBRs and TSRs are shown in Figure 34.

Figure 33 - Seal Assemblies

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Figure 34 - PBR And TSR Schematics
54 RIG

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1.9.8 Expansion Joints
These are telescoping devices (Refer to Figure 35) usually used in a completion string above a
retrievable packer to compensate for tubing movement and possibly to prevent premature
release of the packer from the well.

Figure 35 - Expansion Joint

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1.9.9 Tubing
Although tubing is the last string of tubulars to be run in the well, its requirements often
dictate the whole well design. Tubing is run mainly to serve as the flow conduit for the
produced fluids. It also serves to isolate these fluids from the A (Production) annulus when it
is used in conjunction with a casing packer.
The basic tubing string design criteria are:
Size, appropriate to producing operations
Tensile strength
Corrosion resistance.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) identifies, assesses and develops standards for oil and
gas industry goods. Tubing is considered appropriate to API standard if the following
conform to certain specifications:
Weight per foot
Length ranges
Outside diameter
Wall thickness
Steel grade
Method of steel manufacture.
and API standards also specify:
Physical dimensions of the thread connections
Performance for burst, collapse and tensile strength of the pipe body and thread
An API type connection is shown in Figure 36.
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Figure 36 - API Type Connection
API tubing steel grades are identified by letters and numbers which dictate various
characteristics of the steel. For each grade, the number designates the minimum yield strength.
Thus J-55 grade steel has a minimum yield strength of 55,000 psi. In other words, it can
support a stress of 55,000 psi with an elongation of less than 0.5%. The letter in conjunction
with the number designates parameters such as the maximum yield strength and the minimum
ultimate strength which for J-55 pipe is 80,000 psi and 75,000 psi respectively. Table 4 shows
the yield values for various API tubing grades:
Grade Minimum Yield (psi) Maximum Yield (psi)
Minimum Ultimate
Yield (psi)
H-40 40,000 80,000 60,000
J-55 55,000 80,000 75,000
C-75 75,000 90,000 95,000
L-80 80,000 95,000 95,000
N-80 80,000 110,000 100,000
P105 105,000 135,000 120,000
Table 4 - Yield Values For Various API Tubing Grades

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Grade C-75 is for hydrogen sulphide service and where a higher strength than J-55 is required.
In addition to API grades, there are many proprietary steel grades which may conform to API
specifications, but which are used extensively for various applications requiring properties
such as:
Very high tensile strength
Disproportionately high collapse strength
Resistance to sulphide stress cracking.
Many tubing strings are run which contain these non-API tubulars. This pipe is made to many
but not all API specifications, with variations in steel grade, wall thickness, outside diameter,
thread connections, and related upset. Due to these variations, the ratings of burst, collapse,
and tensile specifications are non-API.
The type of tubing connections selected for a completion will depend mainly on the well
characteristics. The connection must be able to contain the produced fluids safely and at the
maximum pressures anticipated. The basic requirements of a tubing string connection are:
Strength compatible with the operational requirements of the string during, and
after running
Sealing properties suitable for the fluid and pressures expected
Ease of stabbing during make-up, and safe breakout when pulling the tubing
Resistance to damage, corrosion, and erosion.
There are two types of thread connection, API and Premium.
Premium connections are proprietary connections that offer premium features not available
on API connections. Most offer a metal-to-metal seal for improved high pressure seal
integrity. Premium connections exist with features such as flush connections, recess free
bores, and special clearance. An example of a premium thread is shown in Figure 37.
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Figure 37 - An Example Of A Premium Connection
1.9.10 Sub-sea Wellheads
Sub-sea wellheads serve the same function as a surface wellhead in providing support and
pressure integrity but are assembled differently. After positioning a guide base on the sea bed
which is run with the initial conductor casing, a wellhead is then run on the next string of
casing and hung off in the conductor (Refer to Figure 38). This sub-sea wellhead is the basis
for further operations. Drilling BOPs are installed in some cases on a special oriented profile
on top of the wellhead. The sub-sea Xmas Tree is subsequently latched to the wellhead. (Refer
to Figure 39)

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Figure 38 - Sub-sea Wellhead

Figure 39 - Typical Sub-sea Wellhead And Xmas Tree
60 RIG

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1.9.11 Examples of Single String Completions
1. Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Completion Refer to Figure 40
2. Single Zone Single String Water Injection Completion Refer to Figure 41
3. Multiple Zone Single String Completion Refer to Figure 42
4. Single Zone Single String Completion c/w ASV System Refer to Figure 43
5. Dual Zone Single String Completion Refer to Figure 44
6. Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Horizontal Completion Refer to Figure 45

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Figure 40 - Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Completion
62 RIG

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Figure 41 - Single Zone Single String Water Injection Completion

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Figure 42 - Multiple Zone Single String Completion
64 RIG

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Figure 43 - Single Zone Single String Completion c/w ASV System

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Figure 44 - Dual Zone Single String Completion
66 RIG

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Figure 45 - Single Zone Single String Gravel Pack Horizontal Completion

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Dual completions allow two zones to be produced separately and simultaneously via separate
tubing strings. Dual completions maximise the hydrocarbon recovery from a well where the
producing zones differ in pressure and/or fluid type. The philosophy behind designing each
production conduit is the same as that for a single zone completion possibly with the added
contingency for converting the completion to one that allows alternate production from each
zone usually up the long string.
Apart from using dual hydraulic set production packers (Refer to Figure 46) dual tubing
hanger systems (Refer to Figure 47) and dual Xmas Trees (Refer to Figure 48) the completion
components used are as that for a single zone completion. To combat erosion of the long
string opposite perforations in the upper zone, the long string is fitted with blast joints.
1.10.1 Examples of Dual String Completions
1. Dual zone dual string completion Refer to Figure 49
2. Triple zone dual string completion Refer to Figure 50
68 RIG

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Figure 46 - Example Of A Retrievable Dual Production Packer

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Figure 47 - Segmented Dual Hanger System
70 RIG

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Figure 48 - Example Of A Dual Xmas Tree

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Figure 49 - Dual Zone Dual String Completion
72 RIG

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Figure 50 - Triple Zone Dual String Completion

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1.3.1 Blanking Plugs 4
1.3.2 Check Valve 4
1.3.3 Pump Open Plug 4
1.3.4 Pump Out Plugs (Expendable Plugs) 5
1.3.5 Retrievable Bridge Plugs 5
1.3.6 Pump Out Subs 5
1.3.7 Ice Plugs 5

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ii RIG

3. Barriers and containment devices in place after nippling up the BOP:
2002 Rev 1 1
In general, a well barrier is defined as any substance or device that will prevent the flow of a
well. A barrier is an obstacle to well flow and pressure.
In general, a containment device is a device which becomes a barrier when it is energised.
The type and number of barriers and containment devices that must be in place depends on
the operation being performed. This is defined by procedures, themselves based on legislation
and other requirements combined with experience and accepted practice. Strict definitions
exist as to which devices may be regarded as barriers.
NOTE: Current philosophy requires that two mechanical barriers (for both the
annulus and the tubing) and one fluid barrier be considered as the
1. Barriers and containment devices in place during normal production:
Production packer (Element)
Annulus fluid. (Over balance)
Xmas Tree valves.
NOTE: There are several barriers which prevent flow up the annulus:
Tubing hanger (Seals)
Annulus fluid (Over balance)
Production packer. (Element)
2. Barriers and containment devices in place prior to Xmas Tree removal:
Workover fluid of sufficient weight to provide an appropriate over balance
Wireline plugs.
Back pressure valves. (BPVs)
Workover fluid of sufficient weight to provide an appropriate overbalance
Blow out preventers.
NOTE: There must be procedures in place for each of the three phases of a

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Barriers can be in the form of mechanical plugs or fluid. Mechanical barriers consist of
positive plugs, which are set by well intervention methods, and freeze plugs, which are set by
freezing method. A fluid barrier is considered as a barrier when the hydrostatic pressure of the
fluid is slightly higher than the formation pressure.
All barriers should be tested from the direction of flow by means of a inflow test. Sometimes
it may not be possible to test a barrier from the direction of flow; in this case it should be
tested from above. Double barrier protection against well pressure and flow is the
recommended minimum requirements for a production well. If a barrier fails, or observations
indicate that it is likely to fail, then procedures should be in place to restore or supplement
that barrier. Numerous barriers are available for pressure control depending on the status of a
well and the operation being performed.
A liquid with the appropriate density in the tubing-casing annulus provides the fluid barrier. A
fluid barrier may already exist in the annulus or may be circulated in using appropriate devices
in the completion string. A fluid barrier that performs pressure control during normal
operating condition is a primary barrier. Common fluid barriers are seawater, brine, and
drilling mud.
Barriers are classified into three categories:
Primary barrier Is a barrier that performs pressure control during normal operating
conditions. A primary barrier is usually a closed barrier.
Secondary barrier Is a barrier that performs pressure control in the event that the
primary barrier fails. A secondary barrier is usually a closable barrier.
Tertiary barrier Is a barrier that performs pressure control in the event of failure of
the primary and secondary barrier systems. A tertiary barrier is
usually a closable barrier and is the last and final means of pressure
control. Usually the tertiary barrier is a shear and seal system.
In general, mechanical barriers are either closed or closable. Closed and closable barrier
systems for well intervention equipment are as follows:
Production Side Annulus Side
Wireline stuffing box Packer/tubing system
Grease injection head Tubing hanger
Coiled tubing strippers Tubing head spool system
Coiled tubing check valves Casing head spool outlet valves
Snubbing strippers Tubing hanger spool outlet valves
Snubbing string check valves
Table 1 - Closed Barrier Systems

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Production Side Annulus Side
Xmas Tree valves
BOP rams
Annular preventers
Shear/seal valves
Sub-surface safety valves (?) Annulus safety valves (?)
Table 2 - Closable Barrier Systems
Production Side Annulus Side
Wireline plugs (slickline)
Tubing hanger plugs (bpvs)
Packer plugs
Bridge plugs
Cement plugs
Ice plugs Ice plugs
Table 3 - Additional Barrier Systems
NOTE: SCSSCVs and SCASVs my not be classed as appropriate barriers or
containment systems as they may not satisfy inflow test criteria as set
down by the operating company philosophy and/or government
Barrier envelope is the whole enclosed flow path that is containing the pressure in a well. In a
slick line rig up the envelope barrier is the tree crossover, BOP, lubricator sections, and
stuffing box.
In the drawing on the following page, the envelope of barrier elements that prevents flow out
of the well via the tubing string when the tree is closed is as follows:
Casing below the packer
Production tubing
Tubing hanger
Tubing hanger spool
Xmas Tree.
In most parts of the world, the DHSV is not considered as a barrier element because of the
leakage rate allowed by API. The DHSV is purely used as a fail- safe emergency shut off valve.
Should any one of the elements in this envelope fail, there are various secondary elements
which will prevent the escape of well bore fluids from the well. For example, should there be a
leak at the packer into the annulus, an overbalanced completion fluid will initially stop the
wellbore fluids from reaching the production casing.

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After a while, this may change as the completion fluid escapes from the annulus and the well
bore fluids will then be prevented from leaving the well by the production casing, annulus
valves and the tubing hanger seal.
There are very many different devices that can be installed in a nipple. There are a great many
different names for the various devices and some of the more common ones are described
1.3.1 Blanking Plugs
Are attached to the bottom of wireline locks and are run and set in a nipple. They seal off in
the nipple and hold pressure from both directions. In this case they may be referred to as
positive plugs. Set with one wireline run and pulled with one wireline run, a true blanking plug
has no bypass facility on the plug bottom. This makes them very slow to run to the due to the
restricted flow around the body and very difficult to pull unless the pressure is exactly
equalised across the plug.
Normally when speaking about a plug it is a bypass blanking plug. This has a body and a
separate inner mandrel. These plugs allow the wellbore fluid to bypass through the plug
bottom when running in hole. They may require one or two wireline runs to set them. They
are almost always pulled with two wireline runs. The inner mandrel is pulled first allowing
equalisation across the plug to take place. It is however, strongly recommended that pressure
across the plug be approximately equalised before pulling the mandrel. The mandrel is
sometimes wrongly referred to as a prong. The pressure rating of any plug should always be
checked if it is planned to pressure up against it from above.
1.3.2 Check Valve
Standing valves are usually single wireline tools that are run and set in a nipple. They seal off
in the nipple and hold pressure from above only. They are usually used for pressure testing the
completion above the valve. They are nearly always fitted with an equalising facility (equalising
check valves) which is sheared first as they are pulled.
They normally only require one wireline run to set them and, with many designs, it is possible
to stay attached to the standing valve (latched on) with wireline whilst the pressure test takes
place. They can then be pulled again as soon as the pressure test is complete. They are often
used for setting packers.
Check valves are also available which hold pressure from below only. Sometimes called Pump
through plugs, they can be used to isolate the well below a certain point while retaining the
ability to pump into or kill the well.
1.3.3 Pump Open Plug
Pump open plugs are set in a nipple on a wireline lock. They can be run with wireline or pre-
installed when a completion component is run. By pressuring up on the top of the plug to a
pre-determined level, the inside of the plug shears, which allows flow from below. They are
sometimes used in deviated (difficult for wireline) wells in the nipple below the packer. They
can be run pre-installed in the nipple so that after the packer has been hydraulically set, the
pressure can be increased and the pump down plug opened.

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The well can now be produced. The plug of course remains in the completion and would have
to be removed to run coiled tubing, for example. Some of these plugs are called Pressure
cycle plugs. With this design, the over balance pressure above the plug must be cycled from
zero to a pre-set value (perhaps 2,500 psi for example) a fixed number of times before the
plug opens. Cycles can be pre-set to anything up to 20. The pressure cycle plug offers more
flexibility and security before the plug is opened.
1.3.4 Pump Out Plugs (Expendable Plugs)
These are the same in principle as the pump open plug except that when the correct pressure
is applied above the plug, the bottom of the plug shears off and is left down hole. They can
give a greater flow path than pump open plugs although they have the same disadvantage of
leaving a restriction in the nipple.
1.3.5 Retrievable Bridge Plugs
Often called explosive set plugs, the most common forms can be set anywhere in the tubing
and are usually set by an explosive force, having been run on electric line. In this respect they
are like a miniature packer in that they have slips and packing elements. Slickline or coiled
tubing can however pull them.
1.3.6 Pump Out Subs
Working on exactly the same principle as the pump out plug, they are attached to the bottom
of the completion, coiled tubing or snubbing string. When pressured up on and sheared, they
leave a smooth full-bore end on the pipe. They can be used when running completions in the
same way as a pump open plug. When used with coiled tubing or snubbing, they are a way of
getting pipe into a live well and then being able to reverse circulate. Once reversing has
finished, a check valve or other device must be run, or pumped in, to allow the pipe to be
pulled out.
1.3.7 Ice Plugs
This is not a mechanical wireline device. Exceptionally, when all other methods of plugging a
well are not possible, an ice plug may be set in a piece of surface equipment. Freeze jobs were
originally done by surrounding the item to be frozen with a metal jacket and packing the space
between with dry ice (solid CO
). With this method, there is no control over the minimum
temperature that the item of surface equipment is subjected to which can damage the structure
of the steel. The more modern method involves wrapping the item to be frozen in a special
coil through which chemicals like glycol are passed that have been cooled to a pre-determined
level in a heat exchanger by liquid nitrogen.
In either case, it is necessary to have static (not flowing) fresh water at the point where the
plug is to be formed. The process can be slow with plugs taking up to 18 hrs and more to
Many of these flow control devices are used as mechanical barriers for intervention work and
it is important that they are tested to prove that they are holding pressure. It is always
considered important to test any barrier from the direction of flow.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
This applies to any down hole or surface barrier. With down hole plugs, etc. it is usually not
possible to apply pressure below the barrier to test that it is holding pressure. In this case, the
best solution is to inflow test the device.
This is done by bleeding off the pressure above the downhole device and watching for a
pressure build up that would show that the device is leaking. It is normal in this situation to
bleed down to approximately 100 psi or any suitable amount that can still seen on the surface
pressure gauge. It is then much easier to see a small build up on the pressure gauge if the
device is leaking.
Occasionally it may not be possible to pressure test from below or to inflow test, in which
case the only option is to pressure test the device from above.
With all mechanical plugs, consideration must be given to the method of pulling the device if
there is a danger of debris, etc. settling out on top of the plug. If there is a danger of this
happening, mandrel extensions are available which leave room for a certain amount of sand,
scale, debris etc. The well pressure containment envelope is shown in Figure 1. This consists
The production casing below packer
The packer
The production tubing
The tubing hanger seal
The production Xmas Tree.
NOTE: The downhole safety valve is not classed as a barrier.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 7

Figure 1 - Barriers Containing Well Pressure

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

After the installation of a barrier in a well, that barrier should be pressure integrity tested.
Pressure integrity testing on closed barriers should display a zero leak off rate. Pressure
integrity testing on closable barriers should display a leak off rate below that specified by
operating company philosophy.
All devices which are to be used as barriers or containment devices, will be pressure tested
before use. The lowermost mechanical barrier in a live well will always be integrity tested
against the well pressure with which it must contain. Pressure integrity testing under these
circumstances will be to bleed off the pressure in the tubing and then monitor for pressure
build up over a specified period of time (e.g. 30 minutes). This barrier may also be tested from
above (if possible) to some pressure above formation pressure if specified in the workover
The next mechanical barrier should be tested from above to avoid trapping pressure
underneath with no means of bleeding off.
NOTE: Testing barriers from above can be limited by the shear pin rating o
pump-open plugs (if used) and can also be limited by the pressure rating
of the wireline lock mandrel to pressure from above.
The procedure for testing the upper barrier from above will be to pressure up the Xmas Tree
and tubing above the barrier to the test pressure using the cement pump or surface pump unit,
shutting in on surface and then monitoring for pressure fall off. When testing a plug or
dummy SCSSV in an SVLN, the plug should first be tested by pressuring up on the SCSSV
control line to the operating pressure of the SCSSV; this will test both seal stacks on the
dummy valve. Testing from above will only test the top seal stack.
The term Back pressure valve is often used to describe any kind of pressure control device
that is set in the tubing hanger profile. In fact, this term should only be applied to the check
valve type devices which hold pressure from below only and which cannot be tested from
above. A test dart may be installed in the back pressure valve to allow testing from above
during Xmas Tree installation or repairs. Even if this is the case, the test from above will not
test the mechanical sealing device inside the valve, but only the seal between the device and
the tubing hanger profile. In general, backpressure valves, if being used, will not be inflow

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 i
1.2.1 Equipment Failure 1
1.2.2 Well Performance Problems 2
1.2.3 General 2
1.3.1 Workover Planning 3
1.3.2 Workover Programs 4
1.3.3 Well Control Problems During Workover 5

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

ii RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 1
Once a well has been drilled and completed it will be utilised to produce from or inject fluid
into the formation. Workover is the term that is commonly used to describe the process
anytime the well is entered after it is completed. This normally involves a process to stop the
well producing hydrocarbons, so that the purpose for which it has been entered may be
carried out in a safe and controlled manner.
Problems associated with well completions account for the majority of workovers conducted
on oil and gas wells. The necessity to perform a workover may be due to a problem in one of
two categories:
1. Equipment failure
2. The need to replace/change the completion string due to well performance problems or
other reservoir management needs.
1.2.1 Equipment Failure
A typical completion string has many components and sometimes is designed with an
incomplete knowledge of the likely conditions for the full life of the well. Equipment may fail
for a number of reasons including:
Effects of pressure
Effects of thermal stress
Applied and induced mechanical loading
Corrosion failure (O
, CO
, H
S, Acids)
It is also important to distinguish two types of failure, namely:
1. Catastrophic failure implying a safety concern e.g. tubing leak.
2. Inability to function with no immediate significant safety concerns e.g. gas lift valve
Failure of equipment may dictate two courses of action:
1. Repair or removal and replacement.
2. Abandon the well in cases where due to safety implications the well is not salvageable.

Failure of a flow control device (e.g. SCSSV, SSD)
2002 Rev 1
Typical component failures include:
Tubing failure
Packer failure
Xmas Tree, tubing hanger failure or leakage
Failure of gas lift valve and/or SPM
Downhole pump failure.
The consequences of a component failure depends upon its integration with the completion
string and its replacement may require:
Removal and replacement by means of wireline or coiled tubing without having to
kill the well.
Removal and replacement of the Xmas Tree.
Partial or full removal and replacement of the completion string.
Other remedial work.
1.2.2 Well Performance Problems
Workovers designed to improve the vertical lift performance of wells are very common.
Workovers conducted in this way can be directed at:
The improvement or restoration of the performance of the well under natural lift.
The installation or replacement of artificial lift equipment.
The two major factors affecting well performance are reservoir pressure and water cut, and
changes in completion design have to be made accordingly.
1.2.3 General
It may not always be possible, or desirable, to perform a workover immediately, if for
example, the means are not readily available. In this case the well may be:
Shut-in, if there is no safety problem, e.g. this may be the case of high water cut.
Temporarily suspended, if there is a safety problem, such as a tubing leak. This
involves installing the required number of mechanical and fluid barriers so that
the well is rendered safe.
Abandoned, if the problem is so severe that it is not safe or economical to
perform a workover. This may occur if there are major well performance
problems or irretrievable junk in the well. In this case, permanent barriers such as
cement plugs will be placed in the well, perhaps along with other requirements
such as removing the Xmas Tree.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 3
The following methods can be used to workover a well:
Drilling/Workover rig
Wireline Intervention System
Coiled Tubing Intervention System
Hydraulic Workover System (Snubbing).
It will be clear that the hazards associated with workover operations must be identified and
procedures put in place to minimise or eradicate the hazard. This is clearly tied in to planning
and programming the workover for the rig or whatever the type of workover unit is used. The
following information is provided with the rig workover in mind.
1.3.1 Workover Planning
Clearly, well control is the key safety element in any workover plan and must be reflected in
the workover program.
Workover planning and the subsequent production of workover programs is second nature
to those engineers who are continually involve in that process - this is not necessarily true of
all of those involved in the chain of communication from planning to the execution of the
workover. Individuals preparing/updating the safety and management system (SMS) will have
involved the well operations group so that the documentation used in the planning and
execution of workovers is an integral part of the SMS.
It would be useful for well operations groups to highlight the mechanism for supervisors in
charge of well operations at the site to communicate proposed changes in the workover
program to the onshore co-ordinator, and the method of responding to the proposed changes.
This may seem unnecessary to those continually involved in that process, but if there is a
change out of personnel, illness or vacation the norm could become the abnormal and
problems could ensue that may affect safety and costs.
Most well operations groups include well diagrams showing barriers and containment devices
in the well before, during and after the workover and well files are updated accordingly. There
is normally feedback to adjust procedures, where necessary, after a post workover review and
this may include changes in barrier philosophy.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.3.2 Workover Programs
Having established the objective for a workover, a program is produced. The following is an
example of the main headings of the contents of a typical program for a producing well.
1. Well history
2. Current status of the well
3. Proposed completion details
4. Proposed deviation from standard procedures (if any)
5. Procedures for.
Well kill
Removal of Xmas Tree
Installation of BOP
Cleaning out the well
Running the completion
Removing the BOP
Re-installing the Xmas Tree.
From a well control perspective we would want to have specific information on:
Pore pressure of exposed formations Kill fluid requirements
Fracture pressure of exposed formations Bullheading requirements
Permeability of exposed formations Kill fluid specifications
Accessibility to tailpipe nipples Barrier considerations
Integrity of packer and tubing hanger Procedures to control the well
Current wellhead annuli info on pressures Procedures to control the well
Hydrate formation Procedures to control the well
From an operational point of point of view the following should be considered:
Disposal of contaminants
Personnel protection
Prevalence/likelihood of hydrogen sulphide (H
S) and low specific activity (LSA)
scale radioactivity.
As discussed earlier, careful considerations should be given to the BOP configuration,
particularly with respect to the workover objective and anticipated problems.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 5
The following considerations also apply:
All pressure control equipment, ie. BOPs, risers, lubricators should:
Be rated to at least the maximum anticipated surface pressure
Be suited to the working environment allowing for:
Temperature e.g. BOP elastomeric components
Corrosive effects e.g. CO
, H
S, and brines
Allow passage of all toolstring components.
Allowance should be made for the possibility of operations such as bullheading.
NOTE: Typically the pressure rating of BOPs will be the same as that for the
Xmas Tree, unless there has been considerable reservoir pressure
depletion during the life of the well.
1.3.3 Well Control Problems During Workover
The following are typical causes of well control problems during workover:
1. Different workover philosophies within the same company for different fields can lead
to subtle changes in procedures which in turn can lead to errors.
2. In some cases there is no test of mechanical barriers from below the barrier.
3. Attempting to remove a toolstring from a well having insufficient length of riser to
isolate the formation and isolate to depressurise the toolstring
4. Brine densities can be considerably affected by downhole pressures and temperatures.
This is particularly hazardous where a low overbalance margin exists.
In many cases the procedures initially proposed will fail because they may have to be modified
in the light of new facts uncovered during the process of the workover operation. Many
aspects must be considered before developing procedures.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The objective of this workover is to remove a permanent packer from a production well with
a surface Xmas Tree (Refer to Figure 1 - Figure 4). In this case the well must be killed, the
tubing pulled from the well, the packer milled, and a new packer installed. The following is a
general list to consider:
1. Permit to work
Well handover certificate sharing status of the well. heavy lift.
Isolation and de-pressurisation of wellhead prior to plugging well.
Close liaison with production and clear lines of communication.
Safe handling of corrosive brines.
Protection against biocides and other additives.
3. Well control
Kill procedures either by bullheading and reverse circulation; communicate via sliding
side door or punch holes in the tubing.
Displace tubing contents to test separator for disposal.
At this stage, the well may be secured by installing plugs which fit specific landing
nipples or bridge plugs which can straddle the hole and secure it at any depth in the
tubing. To install plugs, a wireline well intervention method will be necessary.
4. Pressure test wireline intervention equipment
Cordon off wireline work area between wireline unit and the wellhead.
Tool string picked up by air tuggers. Ensure appropriate signalling system being used to
aid those positioning tool string on Xmas Tree.
No barriers are in place in the tool string but we do have several containment devices if
for any reason the well starts to flow:
Stuffing box Containment device
Safety check union Containment device
Lubricator Functional device
Tool trap Functional device
Wireline BOP Containment device

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 7
Leaks/containment problems may be as follows:
Major Leaks
Due to main sealing device failure
Due to freezing rendering sealing devices inoperative
Due to absence of cable
Due to elastomer failure
Due to riser/lubricator failure.
Minor Leaks
In gas well
In sour wells
Through closed BOPs.
Operating problems leading to leaks
Fragile cable breaking/stranding
Air/grease supply failure.
Well kill situation
Tubing blocked
Secondary well control device failure. (e.g. BOPs)
NOTE: Three plugs have been installed i.e. In tailpipe, in SCSSV profile, and in
tubing hanger profile (BPV).
Procedures are also required for:
Depressurising lubricator
Rigging down equipment
Heavy lift - remove Xmas Tree
Heavy lift - replace rig BOPs.
The details of how further operations are carried out will not be discussed here, but the
available barriers have been indicated. As stated previously, procedures for all steps outlined in
workover will be necessary until the well is handed back to production.
A workover to remove a permanent packer from a production well with a Sub-sea Xmas Tree
is shown in Figure 4 and Figure 8

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 1 - Well Closed In Prior To Well Kill

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 9

Figure 2 - Well Killed And Barrier In Place For Tree Removal

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 3 - BOP Removed And Tree Replaced After Workover
10 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 11

Figure 4 - Sub-sea Well - BOP Installed - Tubing Hanger Running Tool In Place - Prepare To
Rig Up Wireline

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 5 - Sub-sea Well - Prepare To Pull Tubing
12 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 13

Figure 6 - Sub-sea Well - Tubing Removed - Wear Bushing Installed

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 7 - Sub-sea Well - Milling The Packer
14 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 15

Figure 8 - Sub-sea Well - Running New Tubing

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 9 - Sub-sea Well - Plugs Removed - Prepare To Pull Tubing On Tubing Hanger
Running And Orientation Tool
16 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 17

Figure 10 - Sub-sea Well - Tubing Removed

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 11 - Sub-sea Well - Milling The Packer
18 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 19

Figure 12 - Sub-sea Well - New Tubing Run On Tubing Hanger Running And Orientation

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 13 - Sub-sea Well - Plugs Run Prior To Nipple Down BOP
20 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 21

Figure 14 - Sub-sea Well - BOP And Drilling Riser Pulled Tree Run On Workover Package

22 RIG 2002 Rev 1


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 1
1.1.1 Specific Gravity 7
1.1.2 API Gravity 8
1.1.3 Example Application of Hydrostatic Equations to Liquid Wells 9
1.2.1 Hydrostatic Pressure Due To A Gas Column 12
1.3.1 Example Hydrostatic Pressure Due To Combined Gas and Liquid Columns 15

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The basic principles of pressure control may be found in the science of hydrostatics, which
deals with the forces generated by fluid columns under static conditions. These forces are
produced by the effects of gravity. If well engineers can determine the magnitude of these
forces, then they can predict the effects of such forces on the various components installed in
a well at various depths.
The weight of a fluid is referred to as its density. A column of fluid exerts a pressure on the
walls and on the bottom of a well bore. If this fluid is stationary and not being circulated
around, it will exert a pressure that is commonly referred to a hydrostatic pressure.
The hydrostatic pressure of a fluid is a direct function of depth and density.
The units of density will be expressed as:
US pounds per gallon (ppg)
Pounds per Cubic feet (lbf/ft
Specific gravity (SG)
API gravity (American Petroleum Institute) degrees API
The unit of pressure will be in Pounds Per Square Inch (psi).
The unit of depth will be in Feet (ft)
NOTE: When calculating hydrostatic pressure the true vertical depth (TVD) is
used. Measured depth (MD) is used only to calculate capacities and
volumes. Figure 1 shows that measured depths will be greater than true
vertical depths if the hole is deviated.


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 3

Figure 1 - TVD v MD

ft 1
lbs 48 . 7
= 7.48 lbs/ft

2002 Rev 1

Figure 2 - 1ft Cubed Container
A cubic foot contains 7.48 US gallons.
Therefore, a fluid weighing 1 ppg would weigh 7.48 lbs.
The pressure exerted on the base (area) is:
1 ft
= 12 ins 12 ins area = 144 ins
, therefore the pressure per ins
ins 144
lbs 48 . 7
= 0.052 psi
This relationship between a fluid weight in ppg and gradient pressure in psi/ft is
always the same therefore, 0.052 is a constant.


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 5
Fresh water has a density of 8.33 ppg
To convert the density of fresh water 8.33 ppg into a pressure gradient:
8.33 ppg 0.052 = 0.433 psi/ft.
So the gradient of fresh water is 0.433 psi/ft.
To convert a fluid density of 10 ppg into a pressure gradient:
10 ppg 0.052 = 0.52 psi/ft.
So the gradient of a fluid density of 10 ppg is 0.52 psi/ft.
NOTE: The reference fluid for all liquid pressure calculations is fresh water.
It there for follows that to convert a gradient of fresh water back to a density in ppg the
calculation below should be used.
To convert the gradient of fresh water into a density:
052 . 0
ft / psi 433 . 0
= 8.33 ppg
NOTE: The constant 0.052 is probably the most useful constant used in pressure
In the container shown in Figure 2 the weight of the water may be expressed as a pound force
(lbf). The water in this container weighs 62.4 lbf. This force, however, is distributed over a
square area of 144 square inches. The force per square inch is given by the formula below:
F = lbf
A = Area
psi or ins / lbf 433 . 0
ins 144
lbf 4 . 62
= =
Now consider another container with the same volume but with a base of 6 inches by 24
inches and a height of 12, again filled with fresh water. The force per square inch is given by:
psi or ins / lbf 433 . 0
ins 144
lbf 4 . 62
= =
In fact, provided we keep the height of each container the same then the force per square inch
on the base remains 0.433 psi regardless of the dimensions of the sides of the base.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Now consider another container of the same volume but with a base of 12 inches by 48 inches
and a height of 3 inches, again filled with fresh water. The weight of water in such a container
is still 62.4 lbf. The force per square inch is given by:
psi or ins / lbf 108 . 0
ins 576
lbf 4 . 62
= =
Clearly, the force per square inch is less because the containers height is less than that of the
previous containers.
Since the (imperial) unit of depth in the oilfield is the foot, we will re-consider the container of
1 foot cubed to generate important quantities relating to fluids at rest.
For fresh water of density 62.4 lbf/ft
The hydrostatic pressure exerted at on the base of a container 1 foot in height is
0.433 psi
The hydrostatic pressure exerted at on the base of a container 2 feet in height is
0.866 psi
The hydrostatic pressure exerted at on the base a container 3 feet in height is
1.299 psi.
Thus, for every 1ft increase in TVD the pressure increases by 0.433 psi. This increase in
pressure per unit increase in depth is called the pressure gradient, and as shown for fresh
water is 0.433 psi/ft.
The hydrostatic pressure for a well will be its gradient multiplied by the TVD, i.e. Thus for a
10,000 ft well filled with fresh water the hydrostatic pressure would be:
psi 4,330
10,000 0.433
Depth Gradient pressure c Hydrostati

For a liquid of density 77 lbf/ft
The hydrostatic pressure exerted at on the base of a container 1 foot in height is
0.535 psi (77/144)
The hydrostatic pressure exerted on the base of a container 2 feet in height is
1.069 psi
The hydrostatic pressure exerted on the base a container 3 feet in height is 1.604
Thus, for every 1 ft increase in depth the pressure increases by 0.534 psi. This increase in
pressure per unit increase in depth is called the pressure g adient, and is 0.534 psi/ft for
this liquid of density 77 lbf/ft
The hydrostatic pressure for a well will be its gradient multiplied by the TVD, i.e. Thus for a
10,000 ft well filled with a liquid of density 77 lbf/ft
the hydrostatic pressure would be:
psi 340 , 5
000 , 10 534 . 0
TVD gradient Fluid P


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 7
1.1.1 Specific Gravity
Fresh water may be used as a universal standard since it may be obtained relatively easily in
any part of the world. In the oilfield it is common practice to used the density of fresh water
as the standard and compare all other liquids densities to this standard, (as shown for ppg and
) The specific gravity of a liquid is defined as the ratio of the density of the liquid to the
density of fresh water and is therefore a unit-less quantity. The SG of fresh water is 1.
Water Fresh of Density
Liquid of Density
Liquid of SG =
The SG of a liquid with a density of 77 lbf/ft
234 . 1
ft / lbf 4 . 62
ft / lbf 77
Water Fresh of Density
Liquid of Density
Liquid of SG
= = =
The quantity SG = 1.234 means that the liquid in question is 1.234 times more dense (and
thus heavier) than fresh water. Similarly a liquid with an SG = 0.76 is less dense (and less
heavy) than fresh water.
If the SG of a liquid is quoted rather than its density then the increase in hydrostatic pressure
per unit increase in depth (i.e. its gradient) must be its SG multiplied by the gradient of fresh
water. That is:
433 . 0 Gravity Specific Liquid
Water Fresh of Gradient Gravity Specific Liquid Liquid of Gradient

The density of an oil field brine is 68.4 lbf/ft
. Calculate the specific gravity, pressure gradient,
and the hydrostatic pressure due to an 11,375 ft true vertical column of this brine.
1. Specific gravity
SG 096 . 1
4 . 62
4 . 68
ft / lbf Water Fresh
ft / lbf Fluid
= =
2. Pressure gradient
ft / psi 475 . 0 433 . 0 096 . 1
Water Fresh of Gradient SG
= =

3. Hydrostatic pressure
psi 403 , 5 375 , 11 475 . 0
TVD Gradient Pressure
= =


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.1.2 API Gravity
The American Petroleum Institute (API) system for expressing fluid density was introduced to
standardise the weight of oilfield fluids at a base temperature of 60F. Fresh water is again
used as the standard reference fluid, and has an API gravity of 10.
For wells that produce oil or condensate the API gravity of such liquids may be given rather
than the density (ppg or lbs/ft
), pressure gradient (psi/ft), or the specific gravity (SG). The
API gravity of an oil or condensate can be related to its specific gravity by the empirical
API 5 . 131
5 . 141
or, to find an API,
5 . 131
5 . 141
The API gravity of an oil or condensate is measured using a hydrometer in conjunction with a
thermometer to convert the observed API at the observed temperature to the corrected API
at 60

NOTE: API gravity is a term commonly used by production personnel.
O Black/Green Oils Diesel Condensate
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
High viscosity Low viscosity
Table 1 - API Gravity Scale

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 9
1.1.3 Example Application of Hydrostatic Equations to Liquid Wells
Consider the well shown in Figure 3. The following data is pertinent:
Full column of fluid to surface
Surface pressure 0 psi
Oil from surface to 5,500 ft, API Gravity 38
Fresh water from 5,500 ft to 6,750 ft, 8.33 ppg
Formation water from 6,750 ft to 9,200 ft, 9.6 ppg
Top of perforations at 9,200 ft.
Calculate the reservoir pressure.
The process is as follows:
Step 1 Draw a diagram
Step 2 Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to oil column
Step 3 Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to fresh water column
Step 4 Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to formation water column
Step 5 Calculate total hydrostatic pressure at the perforations.
The calculations are as follows:
Step 1 Refer to Figure 3.
Step 2 Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to oil column
835 . 0
0 . 38 5 . 131
5 . 141
API 5 . 131
5 . 141
SG =
psi 989 , 1 500 , 5 433 . 0 835 . 0
TVD 433 . 0 SG pressure c Hydrostati
= =

Step 3 Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to fresh water column
psi 541 1,250 0.052 8.33
TVD 0.052 (ppg) water Fresh pressure c Hydrostati
= =


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 3 - Well Schematic For Calculation
10 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 11
Step 4 Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to formation water column
psi 223 , 1 450 , 2 052 . 0 60 . 9
TVD 052 . 0 ) ppg ( water Formation P
= =

Step 5 Calculate the total hydrostatic pressure at the top of the perforations by
adding the hydrostatic pressures of the three columns together
psi 753 , 3 223 , 1 541 989 , 1 = + +
Addition Of Surface Pressure To Above Example
The previous calculation was performed for a shut in tubing head pressure (SITHP) also
known as closed in tubing head pressure (CITHP) of 0 psi. If a SITHP were present, it would
be directly added to the total hydrostatic pressure of the individual columns in the well. Thus
if the SITHP was 2,000 psi, then the hydrostatic pressure at the top of the perforations would
psi 753 , 5 000 , 2 223 , 1 541 989 , 1 = + + + =

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.2.1 Hydrostatic Pressure Due To A Gas Column
There are 3 ways to calculate the pressure exerted at the base of a gas column.
Method 1 By using the gas correction factor table
Method 2 By calculation using a formula
Method 3 If the gas gradient is known, by multiplying by the TVD
The specific gravity (SG) of a gas (also referred to as the gas gravity, or relative density) is
measured when the gas is under standard reference conditions that are taken to be 60F at one
atmosphere pressure. The device used for this measurement in the field is the gas
gravitometer, more commonly known as a Ranarex. Up till now we have been using fresh
water as our reference point. For gas calculations, the reference substance is air, which is given
as 1.0. Hydrocarbon gasses are normally lighter than air, typically 0.6 to 0.9 relative to air. The
formula shown in example 2 is useful when the gas being investigated is outside of the table
Method 1
If the SITHP, gas SG and TVD are known, the gas correction factor table can be used.
A gas well has a TVD of 5,000 ft, a shut-in surface pressure of 2,000 psi and has a SG of 0.6.
Calculate the pressure at the base of the column (BHP):
1. Find the depth in the left hand column of the correction factor table (Refer to Table 2)
2. Find the gas gravity column corresponding to 0.6 SG along the top of the table
3. Where the two converge this is the correction factor required.
Gas correction factor from the table = 1.1098 SITHP (2,000psi) = 2,220 psi
12 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 13

Gas Specific Gravity (SG) Depth
0.60 0.65 0.70 0.75 0.80 0.85 0.90
1,000 1.0210 1.0228 1.0246 1.0264 1.0282 1.0299 1.0317
1,500 1.0371 1.0344 1.0371 1.0398 1.0425 1.0453 1.0480
2,000 1.0425 1.0462 1.0498 1.0535 1.0571 1.0608 1.0645
2,500 1.0535 1.0580 1.0626 1.0673 1.0719 1.0766 1.0812
3,000 1.0645 1.0700 1.0750 1.0812 1.0869 1.0926 1.0993
3,500 1.0756 1.0822 1.0888 1.0954 1.1021 1.1088 1.1156
4,000 1.0869 1.0945 1.1021 1.1098 1.1175 1.1253 1.1331
4,500 1.0983 1.1069 1.1156 1.1243 1.1331 1.1420 1.1510
5,000 1.1098 1.1194 1.1292 1.1390 1.1490 1.1590 1.1691
5,500 1.1214 1.1312 1.1430 1.1540 1.650 1.1762 1.1875
6,000 1.1331 1.450 1.1570 1.691 1.813 1.1937 1.2062
6,500 1.1450 1.1580 1.1711 1.1844 1.979 1.2114 1.2252
7,000 1.1570 1.1711 1.1854 1.1999 1.2146 1.2295 1.2554
7,500 1.1691 1.1844 1.1999 1.2157 1.2316 1.2477 1.2641
8,000 1.1813 1.979 1.2146 1.2316 1.2488 1.2663 1.2840
8,500 1.1937 1.2114 1.2295 1.2477 1.2663 1.2851 1.3042
9,000 1.2062 1.2252 1.2445 1.2641 1.2840 1.3042 1.3247
9,500 1.2188 1.2391 1.2597 1.2806 1.3019 1.3236 1.3456
10,000 1.2316 1.2532 1.2751 1.2974 1.3201 1.3433 1.3668
10,500 1.2445 1.2674 1.2907 1.3144 1.3386 1.3632 1.3883
11,000 1.2575 1.2818 1.3065 1.3317 1.3573 1.3835 1.4102
11,500 1.2707 1.2963 0.3224 1.3491 1.3763 1.4041 1.4324
12,000 1.2840 1.3110 0.3386 1.3688 1.3956 1.4249 1.4549
12,500 1.2974 1.3259 1.3550 1.3847 1.4151 1.4461 1.4778
13,000 1.3110 1.3409 1.3715 1.4028 1.4349 1.4676 1.5011
13,500 1.3247 1.3561 1.3883 1.4212 1.4549 1.4894 1.5247
14,000 1.3386 1.3715 1.4053 1.4398 1.4753 1.5116 1.5487
14,500 1.3526 1.3871 1.4225 1.4587 1.4959 1.5340 1.5731
15,000 1.3668 1.4028 1.4398 1.4778 1.5168 1.5568 1.5979
15,5,00 1.3811 1.4188 1.4575 1.4972 1.5380 1.5800 1.6231
16,000 1.3956 1.4349 1.4753 1.5168 1.5595 1.6035 1.6486
16,500 1.4102 1.4511 1.4933 1.5367 1.5813 1.6273 1.6746
17,000 1.4249 1.4676 1.5116 1.5568 1.6035 1.6515 1.7009
17,500 1.4398 1.4843 1.5300 1.5772 1.6259 1.6760 1.7277
18,000 1.4549 1.5011 1.5487 1.5979 1.6486 1.7009 1.7549
Table 2 - Gas Correction Factors

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Method 2
If the correction factor table is not available the following equations can be used. The first
equation is an accurate alternative to the correction factor table. The second is a drilling
estimation which has a built in over balance of approximately 30 psi in this case:
psi 214 , 2
903 . 0
903 . 0
107 . 1
Gives Which
107 . 1 718 . 2
102 . 0 000 , 5 6 . 0 000034 . 0
718 . 2
essure Pr Surface
102 . 0
D SG 000034 . 0
= =
= =
= =
= =

( )
( )
250 , 2
5 20 5 . 2 000 , 2
000 , 1
000 , 5
000 , 2
5 . 2 essure Pr Surface BHP
+ =

+ =

NOTE: These equations are useful where the gas in question has an SG out-with
the scale of the correction factor table
Method 3
If the SITHP, gas gradient and TVD are known, we can simply multiply the gas gradient by
the TVD and add the SITHP to find the pressure at the base of the column
Using the well example above, the difference between the pressure at the base of the column,
and the SITHP is:
2,220 psi 2,000 psi = 220 psi. The pressure difference between the two values, must be the
pressure exerted by the gas itself. We can therefore calculate the gas gradient in psi/ft.
Gas gradient = 220 psi divided by the length of the column (5,000 ft) = 0.044 psi/ft.
Once the gradient is known, we simply multiply by the depth, and add the SITHP to find the
total pressure exerted at the base of the column. For the above example:
0.044 (gas gradient) 5,000 ft + 2,000 psi = 2,220 psi
14 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 15
1.3.1 Example Hydrostatic Pressure Due To Combined Gas and Liquid Columns
A well is to be killed and has been shut in. Bottom hole pressure gauges were run to identify
fluid interfaces, fluid gradients and bottom hole pressure. The following data is pertinent:
CITHP 2,480 psi
Gas from surface to 3,560 ft, SG = 0.75
Oil from 3,560 to 7,840 ft, 32.6API
Formation water from 7,840 ft to top of perforations at 10,280 ft, 9.6 ppg
CIAHP 0 psi
Annulus full of 9.85 ppg brine
Side pocket mandrel c/w dummy valve at 10,230 ft
Packer at 10,300 ft
Formation fracture pressure 7,000 psi
The status of this well is illustrated in Figure 4.
1. The reservoir (or formation) pressure
2. The differential pressure between tubing and annulus at the depth of the SPM.
3. The formation gradient
Reservoir pressure / TVD
4. The kill fluid gradient with an over balance of 200 psi
Reservoir pressure + 200 psi / TVD
5. The formation fracture gradient
Reservoir fracture pressure /TVD
6. Suggest how you would equalise pressures prior to pulling the dummy valve.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 4 - Well Schematic for Calculation
16 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 17
Solution for 1
1. Calculate the pressure exerted at the bottom of the gas column:
psi 717 , 2 0954 . 1 480 , 2 = =
2. Calculate hydrostatic pressure due to the oil column:
862 . 0
6 . 32 5 . 131
5 . 141
API 5 . 131
5 . 141
SG =
Oil gradient = 0.862 0.433 = 0.373 psi/ft
psi 597 , 1 4280 373 . 0
TVD Gradient P
= =

3. Calculate the hydrostatic pressure due to the formation water column to the top of the
psi 218 , 1 440 , 2 052 . 0 6 . 9
TVD 052 . 0 6 . 9 P
= =

4. Total pressure exerted at the top of the perforations (reservoir pressure):
psi 532 , 5 water 218 , 1 oil 597 , 1 gas 717 , 2 BHP = + + =
Solution for 2
Calculate hydrostatic pressure in tubing at SPM:
The hydrostatic pressures for the gas and oil columns have already been calculated.
1. The formation water hydrostatic pressure inside the tubing, down to the ports on the
SPM is:
psi 193 , 1 390 , 2 052 . 0 6 . 9 = =
psi 508 , 5 193 , 1 597 , 1 717 , 2 = + + =
2. Calculate the hydrostatic pressure to SPM ports in the annulus:
psi 240 , 5 10230 052 . 0 85 . 9 =
3. Calculate differential pressure from tubing to annulus.
psi 268 240 , 5 508 , 5 =
Solution for 3
Calculate the formation gradient
5,532 psi /10,280 ft TVD = 0.54 psi/ft (or 10.38 ppg)
Solution for 4
Calculate the kill fluid gradient
5,532 psi + 200 psi = 5,732 psi / 10,280 ft TVD = 0.56 psi/ft (or 10.77 ppg)

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Solution for 5
Calculate the formation fracture gradient
7,000 psi / 10,280 ft TVD = 0.68 psi/ft (or 13.08 ppg)
Solution for 6
Equalisation of pressures may be achieved by applying approx. 268 psi to the annulus.
18 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 19
To calculate well volumes, the inside and outside diameters of the tubular goods in the well
must be known. Consider the well of Figure 5 the following data is pertinent:
Casing ID 6.154 ins
Tubing OD 2.875 ins
Tubing ID 2.441 ins
Tubing Weight 6.4 lbf/ft
Depth of SSD 8,210 ft
Depth of packer 8,260 ft
Depth of perforations 8,310 ft
1. The volume of the annulus.
2. The tubing volume above the SSD.
3. Total well volume to the circulating device with the tubing in the well.
4. The time to circulate kill fluid in the well at 0.75 bbl/minute.
NOTE: To calculate circulating volumes and times the circulating device is the

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 5 - Schematic For Volumetric Calculations
20 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 21
Solution For 1
We can calculate the annulus volume in two ways, either by equation or table
Method - By Calculation:(XSA cross sectional area)
( ) ( )
( ) ( [ ] )
[ ]
2 2
g sin ca
g sin ca
ins 25 . 23
875 . 2 154 . 6
141 . 3
annulus of XSA


ft 57 . 325 , 1
210 , 8
25 . 23
) MD ( depth SSD area Annulus volume Annulus

bbl 236
615 . 5
57 . 325 , 1
volume Annulus = =
Note: 5.615 is a constant to convert cubic feet to barrels.
Method - By Table
Table 3 shows data on outside tubing diameter, inside casing diameters and annular volumes.
Locate for 7 inch casing that with an inside diameter of 6.154 inches. The annular volume in
barrels per linear foot is 0.0288 bbl/linear ft.
bbls 236 210 , 8 0288 . 0 Volume Annulus = =

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Solution For 2
Method - By Calculation:
The area corresponding to the inside of the tubing is given by:
( )
ft 8 . 266
210 , 8
68 . 4
441 . 2 141 . 3


bbl 5 . 47
615 . 5
8 . 266
volume Tubing = =
Method - By Tables:
Table 4 shows data outside tubing diameters and tubing capacities. Locate the tubing capacity
in barrels per linear foot for 2,875 inch tubing with a weight per foot of 6.4 lbf/ft. This is
0.0058 bbl/linear foot.
bbl 6 . 47
210 , 8 0058 . 0 SSD to Volume Tubing

Solution For 3
Method - By Tables
( )
( )
bbl 284
210 , 8 0058 . 0 0288 . 0
SSD to depth ft / lin Cap Tubing ft / lin cap Annulus volume Total
+ =
+ =

Solution For 4
Calculate the pumping time
Pump Rate = 0.75 bbl/min
= =
75 . 0
time Pump 379 minutes or 6.3 hours
REMEMBER: Always use measured depths for volume calculations.
REMEMBER: Always use true ver ical depths for hydrostatic calculations. t
22 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 23

Outside Casing
Size OD
Wight with
Inside Diameter
Drift Diameter
Barrels for
Lin ft
Lin ft
per Barrel
4.500 9.50 4.090 3.965 0.0062 121.64
10.50 4.052 3.927 0.0079 126.26
11.60 4.0000 3.875 0.0075 133.10
13.50 3.920 3.795 0.0069 144.97
15.10 3.826 3.701 0.0062 161.54
16.60 3.754 3.629 0.0057 176.67
18.80 3.640 3.515 0.0048 206.54
4.750 16.00 4.082 3.957 0.0082 122.59
5.000 11.50 4.560 4.435 0.0122 82.17
13.00 4.494 4.369 0.0116 86.28
15.00 4.408 4.283 0.0108 92.20
18.00 4.276 4.151 0.0097 102.75
20.30 40184 4.059 0.0090 111.41
20.80 4.156 4.031 0.0087 114.29
23.20 4.044 3.919 0.0079 127.27
24.20 4.000 3.875 0.0075 133.10
5.500 13.00 5.044 4.919 0.0167 59.93
14.00 5.012 4.887 0.0164 61.08
15.00 4.974 4.849 0.0160 62.48
15.50 4.950 4.825 0.0158 63.40
17.00 4.892 4.767 0.0152 65.71
20.00 4.778 4.653 0.0141 70.68
23.00 4.670 4.545 0.0132 76.01
26.00 4.548 4.423 0.0121 82.89
5.750 14.00 5.290 5.165 0.0192 52.21
17.00 5.190 5.065 0.0181 55.14
19.50 5.090 4.965 0.0171 58.35
22.50 4.990 4.865 0.0162 61.88
6.000 15.00 5.524 5.399 0.216 46.27
16.00 5.500 5.375 0.0214 46.82
17.00 5.450 5.325 0.0208 48.02
18.00 5.424 5.299 0.0205 48.66
20.00 5.352 5.227 0.0198 50.52
23.00 5.240 5.115 0.186 53.64
26.00 5.140 5.015 0.0176 56.70
6.625 17.00 6.135 6.010 0.285 35.05
20.00 6.049 5.924 0.0275 36.34
22.00 5.989 5.864 0.0268 37.29
24.00 5.921 5.796 0.0260 38.42
26.00 5.855 5.730 0.0253 39.57
28.00 5.791 5.666 0.0245 40.74
29.00 5.761 5.636 0.0242 41.30
32.00 5.675 5.550 0.0233 43.00
7.000 17.00 6.538 6.413 0.0335 29.86
20.00 6.456 6.331 0.0325 30.81
22.00 6.398 6.273 0.0317 31.51
23.00 6.366 6.241 0.0313 31.91
24.00 6.336 6.211 0.0310 32.29
26.00 6.276 6.151 0.0302 33.08
28.00 6.214 6.089 0.0295 33.92
29.00 6.184 6.059 0.0291 34.34
30.00 6.154 6.029 0.0288 34.77
32.00 6.094 5.969 0.0280 35.66
33.70 6.048 5.923 0.0275 36.36
35.00 6.004 5.879 0.0270 37.05
38.00 5.920 5.795 0.0260 38.44
40.00 5.836 5.711 0.0251 39.91
Table 3 - Annular Volumes

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Weight With Coupling
lbs/ft Size OD
lin ft
lin ft per
1.050 1.14 1.20 1.20 0.824 0.730 0.0007 1516.13
1.315 1.30 1.125 0.955 0.0012 813.36
1.43 1.097 0.955 0.0012 855.42
1.63 1.065 0.955 0.0011 907.59
1.70 1.80 1.70 1.049 0.955 0.0011 935.49
2.25 0.957 0.848 0.0009 1124.00
1.660 2.10 1.140 1.286 0.0019 517.79
2.30 2.40 2.33 1.380 1.286 0.0018 540.55
3.02 1.278 1.184 0.0016 630.27
1.900 2.40 1.650 1.516 0.0026 378.11
2.75 2.90 2.75 1.610 1.516 0.0025 397.14
3.64 1.500 1.406 0.0022 457.52
2.000 3.30 1.670 1.576 0.0027 369.11
2.063 2.66 1.813 1.656 0.0032 313.18
3.20 3.25 1.751 1.656 0.0030 335.75
2.375 3.10 2.125 1.901 0.0044 227.97
3.32 2.107 1.901 0.0043 231.88
4.00 2.041 1.947 0.0040 247.12
4.60 4.70 4.70 1.995 1.901 0.0039 258.65
5.30 5.30 1.939 1.845 0.0037 273.80
5.80 5.95 5.95 1.867 1.773 0.0034 295.53
6.20 1.853 1.759 0.0033 299.81
7.70 1.703 1.609 0.0028 354.94
2.875 4.36 2.579 2.485 0.0065 154.77
4.64 2.563 2.347 0.0064 156.71
6.40 6.50 6.50 2.441 2.347 0.0058 172.76
7.90 7.90 2.323 2.229 0.0052 190.76
8.60 8.70 8.70 2.259 2.165 0.0050 201.72
8.90 2.243 2.149 0.0049 204.61
9.50 9.50 2.195 2.101 0.0047 213.66
10.40 2.151 2.057 0.0045 222.49
10.70 2.091 1.997 0.0042 235.44
11.00 11.00 2.065 1.971 0.0041 241.41
11.65 1.995 1.901 0.0039 258.65
3.500 5.63 3.188 3.3063 0.0099 101.29
7.70 7.70 3.068 2.943 0.0091 109.37
9.20 9.30 9.30 2.992 2.867 0.0087 114.99
10.20 10.30 10.30 2.922 2.797 0.0083 120.57
12.80 2.764 2.639 0.0074 134.75
12.70 12.95 12.95 2.750 2.625 0.0073 136.12
13.30 2.764 2.639 0.0074 134.75
15.80 15.80 2.548 2.423 0.0063 158.56
16.70 16.70 2.480 2.355 0.0060 167.37
17.05 2.440 2.315 0.0058 172.91
4.000 9.50 9.40 3.548 3.423 0.0122 81.78
11.00 11.00 3.476 3.351 0.0117 85.20
11.60 3.428 3.303 0.0114 87.60
13.40 13.40 3.340 3.215 0.0108 92.28
22.80 2.780 2.655 0.0075 133.20
4.500 12.60 12.75 12.75 3.958 3.833 0.0152 65.71
13.50 13.50 3.920 3.795 0.0149 66.99
15.50 15.50 3.826 3.701 0.0142 70.32
16.90 3.754 3.629 0.0137 73.05
19.20 19.20 3.640 3.515 0.0129 77.69
21.60 3.500 3.375 0.0119 84.03
Table 4 - Tubing Capacity
24 RIG

2002 Rev 1 i
1.2.1 Size And Lengths Of Wire 2
1.2.2 Slickline Categories 3
1.3.1 Minimising Bending Stress 4
1.9.1 Rope Socket 10
1.9.2 Jars 11
1.9.3 Spang Jars 11
1.9.4 Tubular Jars 11
1.10.1 Lead Stem 14
1.10.2 Roller Stem 14
1.13.1 Electrical 19
1.13.2 Diesel Power Packs 21
1.13.3 Safety Shutdown System 22

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.20.1 Conventional/Dyform Braided Line 32
1.20.2 Grease Injection System 34
1.20.3 Flow Tubes 37
1.20.4 Safety Check Union 38
1.20.5 Braided Line BOPs 39
1.22.1 Previous Well History 42
1.22.2 Pressure Testing 42
1.22.3 Lubricator Fluid 43
1.22.4 Lubricator Equalisation 43
1.22.5 Setting The Stuffing Box 44
1.22.6 DHSV And Tree Valve Control 44
1.22.7 DHSV Protection 45
1.22.8 Tool String Weight 45
1.22.9 Flowing Wells 45
1.22.10 Checking Valves Are Clear Before Closing 46
1.22.11 Gas Wells 46
1.22.12 Floating Operations 47
1.22.13 Riser/Lubricator Length 47
1.23.1 Yellow Alert (Production Shutdown) 48
1.23.2 Red Shutdown (Muster Stations) 48
1.23.3 Prepare To Abandon 48
1.24.1 Causes of Wireline Leaks/Containment Problems 49
1.24.2 Stuffing Box Leak (Slickline) 49
1.24.3 Grease Seal Leak (Braided Cable Operations) 50
1.24.4 Leak In Lubricator 52
1.24.5 Loss Of Power 53
1.24.6 Broken Strand 53
1.24.7 Wire Birds Nest 55
1.24.8 Tool Stuck Across Tree 56
1.24.9 Broken Wire 57

ii RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 1
This Rig up illustrates the various pressure control equipment and barrier classifications.
(Refer to Figure 1)

Figure 1 - Typical Slickline Rig up

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Wireline operation is a method used to lower and raise various tools and downhole controls,
in and out of a production well .In addition, it is also used to set and retrieve downhole
The setting and retrieving operations are achieved by means of using a standard tool string
which is attached to the wire. By manipulating the wire at surface the mechanical jar as part of
the tool string is opened or closed to create an upward or a downward jar. These hammer
actions provide the setting or retrieving of downhole controls.
Wireline operation can be carried out in dead or live wells. However, it has its limitation on
highly deviated wells.
Generally there are three types of wireline commonly in use:
Braided line
Electric line.
The solid single strand slick line is commonly described as: -
Piano wire
Solid wire
Measuring line.
1.2.1 Size And Lengths Of Wire
The size of solid single strand slick line most commonly used are 0.092, 0.108, 0.125 inches in
diameter and they are obtainable from the drawing mills in one piece standard length of 10,00
ft., 12,000 ft, 15,000 ft, 18,000 ft, 20,000 ft., and 25,000 ft.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 3
1.2.2 Slickline Categories
Generally there are two main types of solid single strand slick line:
Carbon steel
Stainless steel.
Carbon Steel
As the improved plow steel has high ultimate tensile strength, good ductility, and relatively
low cost, it is the most popular material for carbon steel.
Experience indicates that the IPS wire usually perform better than other types of wires, under
the same category. IPS wire is generally used in sweet service production wells. At times some
service companies may use IPS wire in H
S service wells.
To protect the wire from the corrosive effects of H
S, it has to be inhibited with approved
For IPS wire used in H
S service wells the maximum concentration should not be more than
30 ppm with a small percentage of CO
Stainless Steel
Due to the high H
S content of some wells special materials such as 0.108 Nitronic 50 of
stainless are used.
Although these are not as strong as IPS carbon steel wire they have an excellent resistance to
S corrosion.
Bending occurs whenever a line deviates from a straight line condition such as when it passes
over pulleys (sheaves) or reel drum, or when it is flexed by hand.
When carrying out wireline operations it is absolutely necessary to use specific mechanical
equipment, such as the reel drum, hay pulley, stuffing box pulley and measuring wheel.
Each time the line passes over a pulley it is subjected to two bending stresses when it changes
from a straight to a curved path and again when it reverts to a straight line.
For each trip in and out of the well the line is subjected to a minimum of 14 bending cycles:
1 When leaving the drum
2 & 3 Round the counter wheel
4 & 5 Round the hay pulley
6 & 7 Round the sheave
The above are repeated on the trip out of the hole.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
If standard operational procedures are not adhered to during a wireline operation, the bending
stresses that the line is subjected to may cause wire breakage.
To avoid wire breakage the following recommendations should be considered:
Minimise bending stresses
Proper care of wire
Correct handling of wire
Unsatisfactory wire testing
Incorrect method of wire spooling.
1.3.1 Minimising Bending Stress
To minimise the effects of bending stresses on the wireline, approximately 50-100 ft. of wire is
normally cut and discarded each time a new rope socket is made.
If this is not possible, then attempt should be made at least to move the weak points to a fresh
In addition ensure the correct size of sheaves are incorporated in the rig up for the size of
wire in use.
During prolonged jarring action the operation should be suspended periodically, for a certain
time to cool off the line at the weak points.
The following precautions should be taken when handling wire:
Avoid kinking of wire
To avoid abrasion wire should not be in contact with any metal surfaces
Wire in storage must be regularly inspected and be adequately protected
Correct procedure should be followed when spooling wire into winch reel
After completion of well intervention operation wire on reel should be lubricated
and protected from corrosive atmosphere.
Although steel wireline has high strength to weight ratio it still requires proper handling and
Improve plow steel should be stored with a lubricant covering over the surface of the wire.
(i.e. grease, grease paper)
Un-crated wireline spools should be lifted with nylon string to avoid damage to the wire.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 5
To avoid sudden breakage wireline should be regularly tested by using the torsion tester.
The torsion test should be carried out at the start of any wireline operations, and thereafter
every time a new rope socket is made.
The number of rotations should be in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines.
The torsion test recording should be entered into a log book along with the other wireline
Using correct spooling procedures can extend the lifespan of any wireline. The new wire
should be spooled on to the winch drum with 250 - 400 lbs. strain on it. Five to seven bedding
wraps of carefully aligned wire are recommended to provide a firm base. This also indicates
during subsequent wireline operations that only a small amount of wire remains on the drum.
Application of a thin coat of oil film over the wire during spooling process is highly

Figure 2 - Re-spooling

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Fishing is the name given to the operation to retrieve items from the well which may be
damaged, stuck, or have been dropped, and is an efficient way of rectifying these kind of
problems. The most common reason for fishing is when a wireline has broken either at
surface and remains visible or downhole and not visible. In the latter case several conditioning
and preparatory trips may be necessary before the fish can be located successfully and
retrieved. As each fishing job is different these operations cannot be covered by specific
procedures, but it is in this area the operators experience and skill can play a significant part.
Wireline fishing is not a planned operation, the variety of possible fishing jobs make it
impossible to obtain definitive procedures. However, it should be remembered that, standard
wireline procedures and practices must still be followed wherever possible even when the rig
up will almost certainly be different from normal.
Fishing techniques are extremely varied and depend largely on the circumstances and well
conditions for each individual situation.
The following are some of the causes of a slickline fish:
Bending stresses
Lack of control when jarring
Tool string entry into lubricator
Exceeding safe limits of wire strength
Unclear verbal communication
No proper equalisation
Defective fishing neck
Tools backed off.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 7
Slickline is manufactured in a variety of sizes and materials. The common ones are shown
Minimum Breaking Load
Nominal Nett
Weight per 1,000ft
Rec Min Pulley
Bridon UHT Bright
0.108 31.23 13.0 2,110 2,730
0.125* 41.84 15.0 2,830 3,665
* A non-API standard size.
Table 1 - Carbon Steel Wirelines To API 9a
Torsion to API 9A (where applicable)

Supa 70
Supa 75
Supa 80
0.108 2,100 1,920 1,720 2,100 2,030 2,175
0.125 2,700 2,500 - 2,600 2,560 2,775
Table 2 - Minimum Breaking Load
Steel Specifications
Strength Relative To
General Corrosion
Resistance Rating
Carbon steel API 9A API 9A Poor
Ultra high tensile Bridon UHT 25% higher Poor
Stainless special alloy:
304 type Bridon API 9A
Good - not in
316 type Bridon 10% lower
Better than 304 in very
low chlorides
18/18/2 Bridon 20% lower
Better than 304 higher
resistance to chlorides
Supa 70 Bridon Similar
Good in H
Supa 75 Bridon 5% lower
Good - better than
Supa 70
Supa 80 Bridon 3% higher
Good - better than
Supa 75
Table 3 - General Comparisons Of Grades

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The types of operation that can be performed by slickline are:
Depth determination, although the simplest use of slickline, accuracy is perhaps
no better than 20 ft at 10,000 ft. Stretch corrections are available but even these
can not take into account well deviations and different well fluids. Depth control
can be improved by the use of a tubing end locator and an accurate tubing tally.
Another straight forward application is to check whether or not a downhole or
sub sea valve is open
Checking access to the well before performing other operations, for example after
running the completion to check that there is no debris and that there is no
buckling or collapse
Maintaining the tubing, such as cutting wax or scale to prevent the inside diameter
being reduced to the extent that access or flow is restricted
Bottom hole sampling equipment is run down to producing horizons on slickline
During tubing conveyed perforating operations, slickline can be used to detonate
the guns when a mechanical bar drop firing head is being used. Slickline can also
be used to release the guns after detonation using special shifting tools that lock
into a mandrel above the TCP assembly
Downhole pressure gauges can be run and landed off in tubing nipple profiles or
left hanging to record pressure data
Fluid interface identification in the tubing can be achieved by detecting the change
in the hanging/pulling weight of the tool string which is a function of the well
fluid density and the rate at which the tool string can be run into the well. This
can be particularly useful for checking on the under displacement of gelled fracing
Setting or retrieving devices which normally stay in the well after the wireline
operation is finished, such as plugs or gas lift mandrels
Moving sliding sleeves and other devices which establish a flow path, for example
from the annulus to the tubing
Bailing operations can recover produced sand and other debris from the tubing or
from the sump.
Fishing for debris dropped in the well, (such as metallic parts which may have
broken off the completion, wellhead, or other wireline tool), using specialised
fishing tools.
The setting and retrieving operations are mechanical in nature and depend on precisely
machined profiles (called nipples) which are included in the completion string when it is run.
These nipples are designed to catch a pre-determined part of the conveyed device and actuate
it (setting). After actuation, the tool is released by jarring to break a shear pin or by the
latching dogs freeing the tool once engaged into their setting profiles. There are many
variations on this basic theme.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 9
The basic tool string is the name given to a standard assembly of wireline tools run into the
well. The tool string is run on wireline to a specific depth to perform various tasks and retrieve
by the upward movement of the wire.
It is made up of a number of basic components with various other service tools attached
according to the type of operation undertaken.
The precise configuration of tool string will be contingent of factors such as: job type,
accessibility, hole deviation, depth, pressure, completion type, log history and so on.

Figure 3 - Basic Tool String

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.9.1 Rope Socket
The rope socket provides the means of attaching the wireline to the tool string. Various
designs are available, depending on the size and type.
The two most common types of rope socket in used are:
Conventional or knot type rope socket.
Tear drop rope socket

Figure 4 - Rope Socket
10 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 11
1.9.2 Jars
Jars impart a hammer action. A telescopic device permits a short amount of axial free travel,
which allows the wire tension to accelerate one part of the tool while the other is stationary.
Both mechanical and hydraulic jars are available. With a set of mechanical jars below the stem,
the weight of the jars and stem can be used to jar up or down by pulling and then releasing the
wireline. Hydraulic/spring jars are designed to provide upward jarring action in wells where it
is difficult to obtain a good jarring action.
Hydraulic jars are usually run just below the weighted stem and above the mechanical jars.
1.9.3 Spang Jars
Spang jars are the most commonly used as they are mechanically simple, require little
maintenance and can be used to jar both up and down.
However, well debris can interfere with this action and their open construction can allow any
wireline being fished to become entangled.
Jarring force in both directions is governed by stem weight and wire speed and to a lesser
extent by stroke length. However the efficiency of jarring down is restricted by the viscosity of
the well fluid, the deviation and the friction of the wire.
In deeper wells long stroke jars can help give a more pronounced opening and closing
indication at surface. However, long stroke jars in large bore wells are prone to scissoring, i.e.
the jarring force can cause the jar body to buckle outwards. In small-bore tubing the tubing
walls present excessive buckling. However, in large bore tubing, the elastic limit of the jar
body may be exceeded, causing permanent buckling and misalignment scissoring of the
upper and lower body parts.
1.9.4 Tubular Jars
Tubular jars are commonly used when fishing for wireline. Its moving components are for the
most part enclosed inside a housing, protecting it from entanglement with the wireline to be
fished, and other well debris.
Tubular jars have screwed components, which are susceptible to backing off during prolonged
jarring. Also the efficiency of jarring down may be decreased due to the viscosity effects of the
fluid displaced from inside the housing.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 5 - Mechanical Jars
12 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 13

Figure 6 - Hydraulic Jars

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Wireline stem is a round solid steel rod in diameter from 1 to 2
and commonly 2 ft., 3 ft,
and 5 ft in lengths.
The stem gives weight to the tool string, and sometimes is referred to as sinker bar.
Increasing stem weight increases the impact force delivered by the jars. The toolstring should
not be over-weighted, as excessive mass dampens the feel and premature shearing of shear
pins which are fitted to either the running or pulling tools, can occur.
Flats for wrenches are provided and should be used, do not grip the tool on the fishing neck
as this may damage the fishing neck shoulder.
All connections should be clean and dry. Do not lubricate toolstring threads as they could
back off downhole with extended periods of jarring.
Threads should be checked before rig up and after use. Flaring can occur on sinker bar
threads. This is indicated by the peaks of one or more threads being angled upwards rather
than at right angles to the stem. It is probable they will not grip uniformly with good/bad
threads and can back of very easily. Therefore, any pieces of stem with flared threads should
be replaced immediately.
1.10.1 Lead Stem
Lead stem provides greater weight for the same diameter and length. This stem is used
primarily to run flow pressure and temperatures survey tools to obtain maximum weight with
minimum cross-sectional area to protect against floating of being blown up the hole by
pressure surges.
Other high density, heavy weight stem available includes: tungsten, uranium, and mallory
(mercury alloy) filled stem.
CAUTION: DO NOT USE lead filled stem for jarring as the lead will tend to
creep downwards and split the outer barrel.
1.10.2 Roller Stem
Roller stem is often used in highly deviated wells to lesson the friction and assist tool descent.
Sometimes roller stem is used in wells with paraffin, asphaltine, etc. on the tubing internal
walls. It allows the stem to roll down the tubing wall, hence cutting down friction incurred
when using regular stem.
CAUTION: Roller and axles should be inspected for wear before use. Tools to be
run should have a larger OD than the roller stem.
14 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 15

Figure 7 - Wireline Stem

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Quick lock system tool string may be used instead of (or in conjunction with) the threaded
type. The quick lock system is built into the whole range of toolstring equipment. There is no
need for wrenches when making up this system. The male half is mated to the female half
then rotated 90. A spring load locking clip engages a slot and locks the assembly in place. To
release the locking device it is mechanically lifted by means of a cut away window in the stem
This system is faster and easier to make up than the thread type. It is stronger and will not
accidentally back off since it does not incorporate threads. Also there are no wrench marks
and hence no burrs on equipment (cutting down wear and hand injuries).

Figure 8 - Quick Lock System
16 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 17
The wireline winch has progressed from a hand operated reel driven by a belt and propelled
by a pulley attached to the rear axle of a car or pick up to the present day truck/skid mounted
units. Todays wireline operations are often complex and demanding with wireline work being
carried out at ever increasing depths. To meet these demands the modern wireline winch unit
has been developed to provide increased power and transportability while meeting strict safety
requirements. A wireline winch receives its power from a power pack and is used as the means
of lowering and raising tool strings in wells that require wireline servicing.
A wireline winch unit consists of the following components:
Wireline drum
Power packs
The wireline drum assembly can be single or double drum offering the facility of running two
sizes of wireline from one winch unit e.g. 0.108 or 0.125 ins slickline and
ins. Braided line
or 0.108 or 0.125 ins slickline and
ins mono conductor, for electric line operations. A
wireline measuring head is installed as part of the unit assembly; head design will be dependent
on wire diameter and type.
A standard power pack supplies the hydraulic power to drive the wireline winch. The available
hydraulic power supplied from the power pack must be sufficient to support the wireline
operations especially when heavy jarring actions are required. The unit has to be compact for
transportation and must satisfy zoning regulations.
The power pack and winch may be combined into one unit or exist as separate items.
Separated units use hose connections to complete the hydraulic circuit.
Regardless of winch design, certain basic controls are common to all types of unit. Additional
controls and instrumentation are installed to ease winch operation and will be dependent again
on the type of unit used.
The diesel engine of a power pack, should be regularly maintained. Silencer spark arrester
should be cleaned regularly, if neglected soot may form inside the silencer and renders it
Hydraulic filtering system must be checked and cleaned regularly.
The starter motor should be either air or the hydraulic driven.
The wireline winch basic control consists of:
Drum brake- to keep drum stationary or used when jarring
Direction lever - to select rotation direction of drum
Gear box - to select speed of drum rotation (usually four gears)
Hydraulic control valve (double A valve) to control speed of drum rotation
Weight indicator- to measure strain on wireline
Odometer - to indicate wireline depth.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 9 - Double Drum Wireline Unit
18 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 19
1.13.1 Electrical
The power pack discussed in this section is the Zone 1, 75 HP electric/hydraulic type. This
power pack is an all steel construction skid mounted unit with detachable crash frame. Four
lifting points are provided with a safe working load of 2 tons. The heavy duty frame is fitted
with removable protection side panels for easy access and maintenance.
Most operators use diesel power packs but electrical power packs are used in some areas.
Electrical power packs are required to be intrinsically safe (i.e. spark proof) and can be used in
Zone 1 operations. Zone 1 is an area around the wellhead, which is restricted to intrinsically
safe equipment.
Electrical power packs are simple to operate and maintain. However care must be taken to
ensure that the power pack is connected to the correct power source. When the power pack
has been connected the direction in which the motor is running must be checked.
Little maintenance is required on electrical power packs. The hydraulic oil and the suction
strainer must be checked regularly.
Hydraulic Operation
The EXD electric motor drives an Abex Denison double vane pump, delivery at setting of
1,760 rpm. 32 imperial gallons minimum at P1 (wireline unit draw works supply) and 6.5
gallons per minute at P2 (re-spooling cat head or auxiliary equipment supply). The pump has
two relief valves P1 set at 2,200 psi and P2 set at 2,000 psi.
A suction stop valve is provided to isolate the hydraulic oil reservoir when servicing pump etc.
Relief valve P2 is fitted with a vent valve to allow the low volume section of the pump to be
unloaded when not in use. Hydraulic oil cooling is by the return oil heat exchanger installed at
the rear of the electric motor. Air is drawn through the oil cooler by the motor blower fan.
A 70 gallon hydraulic reservoir fitted with filler/breather and fluid level gauges.
The 125 micron suction strainer is located within the hydraulic oil reservoir. The return fluid is
through a 25 micron filter.
Operation and Maintenance
Electric power packs are very simple to operate. However, care must be taken to ensure that
the power pack is connected to the correct power source. When the power pack has been
connected the direction in which the motor is running must be checked.
NOTE: Before starting the electric pump, the hydraulic system must be looped or
connected to the wireline unit.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 10 - Electric Power Pack
20 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 21
1.13.2 Diesel Power Packs
Diesel engines are used because they are more reliable than petrol. They can be made to
function more safely in hydrocarbon hazardous areas (no spark plugs, contact breakers,
distributors etc) and the exhaust can be fitted with an efficient spark arrestor. Also diesel fuel
is widely available offshore whereas petrol is normally not allowed. Diesels engines are simple
in design; they require only fuel and compression to operate.

Figure 11 - Diesel Power Pack

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.13.3 Safety Shutdown System
Under normal operating conditions, engine oil pressure is supplied to the following
Over speed valve
Exhaust temperature valve
Fuel shut off valve
Control cylinder
Water temperature valve.
If oil pressure is lost, or seriously reduced, the fuel shut off valve and air intake D valve
closes, thus stopping the engine.
Oil pressure losses at the fuel shut off valve can be caused by any of the following:
Shortage of engine oil
Damaged or broken oil line
Oil pump failure
High exhaust gas temperature causing valve to open, thus dumping oil
High water temperature causing valve to open, thus dumping oil to sump
Engine over revving causing over-speed to dump oil to sump.
If the engine is over speeding due to incorrect operator control or to flammable gas entering
the inlet manifold, the D valve will close off the inlet preventing further entry of gas.
NOTE: Even if the fuel is shut off, the engine could continue to run on the
flammable gas entering the inlet manifold i the inlet manifold is not
closed off.
The diesel engine of a diesel power pack, should be regularly maintained. Exhaust/spark
arrester should be cleaned regularly, (if neglected, soot may form and render it ineffective).
Hydraulic filtering systems must be checked and cleaned regularly. Starter motor should be
either air or hydraulically driven.
The power pack requires to be positioned and operated only in areas designated as safe, in
accordance with IP model code of safe practise in the petroleum industry which classifies
areas as:
Zone 0 In which flammable atmosphere is continuously present or present for
long periods (More than 1,000 hours per year).
Zone 1 In which a flammable atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation
(About 10 to 1,000 hours per year).
Zone 2 In which a flammable atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal
operation, and if it occurs will exist only for a short period (less than 10
hours per year).
22 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 23
A wireline stuffing box is used when it is necessary to perform slickline work on a live well. It
has different purposes for slickline and braided line: (Refer to Figure 12 for slickline, braided
line will be discussed later).
The stuffing box consists of a packing chamber, containing short doughnut-shaped rubber
sleeves bored for the diameter of the wire, with an external adjustable nut. For slickline, the
nut is sufficiently tightened to compress the rubber packing around the wire, to minimise
leakage, while allowing the wire to move freely. Stuffing boxes are available with hydraulic
packing nut assemblies, designed mainly for H
S service, where the packings can be tightened
remotely without the danger of personnel being exposed to the leaking gas or where access to
the stuffing box is difficult.
For low pressure operations common designs utilise a blow out plug with blow out plug
retainer. For higher pressure an inbuilt ball and seat provide shut off in the event of a line
breakage. The high- pressure designs often include an integral injection point and check valve
to facilitate injection of inhibitors, lubricants or methanol to prevent hydrate formation for
braided line stuffing boxes.

Figure 12 - Hydraulic Stuffing Box

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The connections used to assemble the lubricator and related equipment are referred to as
quick unions. They are designed to be quickly and easily connected by hand. Quick unions are
the weakest link in a pressure control equipment rig up, and they will determine the overall
pressure ratings of the rig up.
The box end receives the pin end which carries a O ring seal. The collar has an internal
ACME thread to match the external thread on the box end. This thread makes up quickly by
hand and should be kept clean. The O ring forms the seal to contain the pressure and should
be thoroughly inspected for damage and replaced if necessary. A light film of oil or grease
helps in the make up of the union and prevents cutting of the O ring.
Pipe wrenches, chain tongs or hammers should never be used to loosen the collar of the
union. If it cannot be turned by hand all precautions must be taken to make sure that the well
pressure has been completely released.
WARNING: In general unions that cannot be loosened eas y ind ca e tha h gh
pressure may be trapped inside. If this pressure is not bled off first
unscrewing the union could cause a sudden release of pressure
projecting equipment parts at lethal speeds.
il i t t i

The collar of the union will make up by hand when the pin end, with the O ring has been
shouldered against the box end. When the collar bottoms out, it should be backed off
approximately one-quarter turn to eliminate any possibility of it sticking due to friction when
the time comes to disconnect it.
Rocking the lubricator to ensure it is perfectly straight will assist in loosening the quick union.
In addition, make sure that tugger lines and hoists are properly placed to lift the lubricator
assembly directly over the wellhead.

Figure 13 - Quick Unions
24 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 25
The lubricator is, in effect; a pressure vessel situated above the Xmas Tree, subject to the
wellhead shut in pressure and also test pressures. For this reason, it should be regularly
inspected and tested in accordance with statutory regulations.
All lubricator sections and accessories subject to pressure must be stainless steel banded; the
band should be appropriately stamped with the following data; maximum working pressure,
test pressure, date and rating of last hydrostatic test.
A lubricator allows wireline tools to enter or be removed from the well under pressure. It is a
tube of selected ID, and can be connected with other sections to obtain the desired length.
The following factors govern the selection of Lubricators:
Shut in wellhead pressure
Well fluid
Wireline tool diameter
Length of wireline tools.
The lowermost lubricator section normally has one or more bleed off valves installed; a
pressure gauge can be connected to one of the valves to monitor pressure in the lubricator. If
the lubricator has no facility to install valves then a bleed off sub, (a short lubricator section
with two valves fitted), should be connected between the wireline valve and lubricator.
Quick unions connect lubricator sections together and to the wireline valve these unions have
ACME type threads and seal by means of an O ring, there by requiring only tightening by
Lubricators for normal service (up to 5,000 psi) can be made of carbon or manganese steel.
Over 5,000 psi, consideration should be given to sour service as quantities of H
S can be
absorbed into the steel of the lubricator body and heat treatment becomes necessary.
All lubricator sections must have full certification from the manufacturer or test house. A
standard colour code identifies different pressure ratings of lubricator.
Some companies implement a colour coding system. The colour coding system uses one or
two bands of colour to identify the service. The pressure rating is identified by the base colour
of the item (e.g. lubricator) or accessory and should satisfy the following:
Maximum Working Pressure Colour
3,000 psi Red
5,000 psi Dark green
10,000 psi White
15,000 psi Yellow
Table 4 - Colour Coding And Pressure Rating of Pressure Control Equipment

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 14 - Lubricator
26 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 27
The wireline BOP has movable rams with shaped rubber elements and is used to close and
seal on the wire without damaging it. This allows well bore pressure to be contained
underneath while depressurising above. The rams can be manually or hydraulically actuated.
Manual Operated by manually turning the two handles to open and close the rams.
Manual BOPs are used primarily for low pressure non-gas service
Hydraulic Operated by a hydraulic pump, but with a manual backup. A hydraulic BOP
can be closed manually but must be opened hydraulically after the stems have
been back out manually, care must be taken to ensure hydraulic pressure is
kept to a minimum.
Hydraulically actuated wireline valves are more commonly used because of quick response
closure time and ease of operation.
A wireline valve is usually installed between the wellhead /Xmas Tree and wireline lubricator.
Wireline valves are fitted with equalising valves that allow well pressure to be equalised across
the closed rams assembly, prior to opening. Without this, if the valve rams were to be opened
without first equalising the pressure surge could blow the tool string or wire into the top of
the lubricator, causing damage or breakage.
Since the wireline valves are such a vital component to control the safety of the well it is
important that these valves are regularly pressure tested.
The purpose of using wireline valves is as follows:
To enable well pressure to be isolated from the lubricator when leaks develop etc
To permit assembly of a wireline cutter or cutter bar
To permit stripping of wire through closed ram when recovering broken wire
from a live well.
To avoid damage or cut the wire correct size of wire guides should be used to guide the wire
when closing the rams.
Wireline valves will hold pressure from below only.
Ram type wireline valves are designed to seal the wire when not in motion.
Ram type wireline valves are self actuating. Once an initial seal is established on closing, the
difference in pressure above and below the rams assist the sealing action. The seals are
arranged so that the pressure differential forces the rams together and upwards.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 15 - Hydraulic BOP Single
28 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 29

Figure 16 - Manual BOP

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The primary function of the weight indicator is to measure the degree of tension on the
wireline. It is essential that the weight indicator be monitored continuously during wireline
operations in order to prevent overloading of the wireline. In addition the weight indicator
will also show any changes affected by hole conditions.
A load cell or strain gauge, which is usually fitted as part of the rig up, measures the wireline
tension or total loading on the wireline. As the load sensor is designed and calibrated for a 90
angle, it is important that the angle of the hay pulley be positioned at this angle.
There are three main types of weight indicator:
Mechanical This type of weight indicator is not very often in use. It is suitable only for
0.072 wireline and the basic design combines measuring wheel.
Hydraulic This unit is incorporated with a load cell, gauge, and signal hose. The high-
pressure hydraulic hose is connected from the load cell to the weight indicator
located in the winch instrument panel. Any weight variation is transmitted to
the weight indicator via the hydraulic hose. A damper is provided to adjust the
required sensitivity and minimise any erratic movement. The hydraulic weight
indicator has been field proven and is very frequently used through out the
industry. It requires very little management.
Electric This unit has a sensing element similar to the hydraulic unit. Line pull is
however, transmitted via a potentiometer and a 2 conductor cable to the meter
read out. This instrument is delicate and requires careful handling to maintain
the sensitivity and accuracy.

Figure 17 - Load / Weight Indicator
30 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 31
This rig up illustrates the relevant pressure control equipment and barrier classifications.
(Refer to Figure 18)

Figure 18 - Typical Braided Line Rig up

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The most often used brained line is
cable comprising 16 (9 + 6 + 1) strands.
The core and the right-lay inner wires are thinner than the left-lay outer wires. By using right
and left lay the twisting tendency of the wire under load is minimised. The breaking strength
wire is approximately 4,500 lbs (2,000 Dan), giving a safe working tension of about
3,500 lbs (1,550 Dan).
Braided lines with no internal conductor are called sand lines and a rig usually has one on a
special winch used for fishing etc. They are much stronger than electric line, usually at least
double the breaking strength.
1.20.1 Conventional/Dyform Braided Line
The conventional cable comprises 16 (9 + 6 +1) strands. The core and the right lay inner
wires are thinner than the left lay outer wires. By using right and left lay the twisting tendency
of the wire under load is prevented.
Minimum Breaking Load
Flow Tube
Bore (ins)
(lbs/1,000 ft)
Rec Min
Pulley Dia
Steel (lbs)
Supa 60
Supa 70
/Supa 75
0.196 71.1 12 4,960 3,990 3,680 4,320
0.228 95.9 14 6,610 5,400 4,960 5,842
0.261 125.5 16 8,640 7,030 6,480 7,600
0.327 195.9 20 13,490 11,000 10,120 11,660
Table 5 - Relative Strengths of Various Conventional Braided Wireline Sizes
Some time ago Bridon introduced Dyform cable. Around the single centre core are nine
thinner right-lay wires.The outer wires are also right lay, but thicker. The finished cable is
pulled through a die. By doing so, the following improvements are made:
20% increased in breaking load, because there is more steel in the same diameter.
Smooth external periphery and closer tolerance of outside diameter, reducing leakage at the
stuffing box.
Higher crush resistance because of the increased steel content of the cable. Low twist
tendency because of the Dyform Process.
Table 6 gives wireline date relating to Dyform braided line.
Minimum Breaking Load
Flow Tube
Bore (ins)
(lbs/1,000 ft)
Rec Min
Pulley Dia
Steel (lbs)
Supa 60
Supa 70
/Supa 75
0.196 85.21 12 6,170 4,930 4,560 4,960
0.228 111.4 14 8,370 6,500 5,990 5,990
0.263 147.6 16 11,200 8,640 7,830 8,530
0.330 231.5 20 17,540 13,550 12,080 13,380
Table 6 - Relative Strengths of Various Dyform Braided Wireline Sizes
32 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 33

Figure 19 - Component Strands of Conventional Braided Line

Figure 20 - Component Strands of Dyform Cable

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.20.2 Grease Injection System
In wireline operations where braided line is being used, or in slickline operations where high
wellhead pressure or gas exists, a grease injection system is required in order to effect a
complete seal around the wire.
The grease injections head assembly consists of flow tubes providing a close fit around the
line, usually to within 0.004 diameter when both cable and tubes are new. Viscous grease is
pumped in at the joint at the top of the bottom tube through the grease inlet hose into the
small annulus between the flow tube ID and the cable.
Note that this clearance will usually be greater than this, and can be much as 0.025 without
affecting performance in an oil well. The tolerance in gas well situations should be towards the
lower end of the scale. As a new wire is broken in, it is said to season. This means that it
becomes impregnated with grease and makes a more reliable seal easier and faster running
speeds possible. However during seasoning, cable also gets thinner and longer, increasing the
tolerance, and this will also increase due to differences in tension, e.g., running in/pulling out.
As a cable ages it wears and stretches, causing it to thin. Different ID components are
available to take account of this, and must be correctly matched to the measure cable
The number of flow tubes and flow tune sleeves used, depends on the well pressure:
2 Flow tubes 0 - 2,000 psi
3 Flow tubes 2,000 - 10,000 psi
4 Flow tubes 10,000 - 15,000 psi.
Concentric Flow Tubes
Instead of wear inserts, this type of tube is in the form of a replaceable internal part,
surrounded by a concentric external load-bearing tube. This flow tube provides a much closer
fit on the cable all along its length and is therefore more efficient than solid type. Three tubes
will provide a seal at 10,000 psi, making the grease injection head shorter.
This can be important in situations where clearance is limited, e.g. when working on the
production deck.
Another method of reducing the overall length of the lubricator is to include a device called a
turn around sub. This is essentially a pressured sheave assembly which is inserted at the top
of the ball valve. It turns the injection assembly through 180 so that it points down, not up.
The hydraulic packing nut is a simple but efficient device which is remotely operated by a
hydraulic hand-pump assembly. The hydraulic packing nut is actuated by pumping pressure
into the cylinder. When a complete seal is established, the pressure is maintained by closing
the valve at the hand pump assembly. The pressure may be relieved by opening the valve and
thus relaxing the seal. Thus, the piston in the packing nut is retracted by a strong spring when
the pressure is relieved from the piston.
The body has a port into which is assembled a flow hose to lead off any seepage that migrates
through the line and finds its way above the two flow tubes.
34 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 35
The optional differential pressure regulator valve, when used, controls the flow of grease to
the control head which is supplied by the grease supply system. In all cases, the grease is
delivered at a pressure of 350 psi to 400 psi greater than the wellhead pressure.
The system is designed to deliver grease as demanded under continuous operation within the
parameters of a single pump unit.
There are two circuits on the unit for control/drive air and grease and both described below:
a) Grease system
The system pump draws grease from the grease reservoir through the pump section
tube and it is pumped to the outlet port which is split into two lines. One line delivers
grease to the control panel vent valve which allows the operator to vent grease pressure
to atmosphere via a short hose into an alternate grease reservoir which is not in use (this
is normally permissible as grease from this source should be clean; however, care should
be taken to isolate grease from airborne contamination). The other line is the grease
supply line plumbed via a rotary valve to hose storage reels and then to the appropriate
grease head.
The grease return line via the hose reel, rotary valve, and system pressure gauge leads to
a system pressure control vent valve from which the vented grease flow rate is
controlled. This grease is plumbed (now at atmosphere pressure) through a short
flexible hose to a waste grease container and should not be re-used as this may be
contaminated. Excessive grease returns will indicate incorrectly size flow tubes.
NOTE: If a
line is used, the supply pump must be fitted with at least a

ID hose to ensure adequate supply to retain seal.
b) Pneumatics
The driver air enters the unit via a bulkhead quick connect to a pressure control valve
which is pilot controlled from the control panel and also acts as a stop/start control. A
separate supply is plumbed to the control panel into a three way valve. Position one is
where the supply is blocked with the reservoir vented to atmosphere. Position two is
where the supply is directed to the reservoir via the reservoir lid pressure controller.
Both allow the operator an auto pre-set reservoir pressurisation or vent to atmosphere
in one control valve.
WARNING: HIGH PRESSURE - Never allow any part of the human body to
come in front of or in direct contact with the grease outlet.
Accidental operation of the pump could cause an injection into the
flesh. If injection occurs, medical aid must be immediately
obtained from a physic an. i
WARNING: COMPONENT RUPTURE - This unit is capable of producing
high fluid pressure as stated on the pump model plate. To avoid
component rupture and possible injury, do not exceed 75 cycles
per minute or operate at an air inlet pressure greater than 150 psi
(10 bar).

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
WARNING: SERVICING - Before servicing, cleaning or removing any
component, always disconnect or shut off the power source and
carefully relieve all fluid pressure from the system.

Figure 21 - Grease Injection Head
36 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 37
1.20.3 Flow Tubes
A range of flow tubes, available with small increments, of IDs so as to provide an effective
seal over the life of a wireline which reduces in size with usage.
The OD of the line should be measured and the size of the tubes selected for the closest fit,
(ID of flow tubes should be 0.004 ins to 0.006 ins larger than OD of wireline). Slip each tube
in turn over the wire and physically check that they do not grip the wire as this can lead to bird
caging of the outer strands when running in the well. This is an effect where the drag in the
outer strands gradually holds them back with regard to the inner strand so they become loose
and spring out from the cable like a birds cage until they jam at the packing nut. If the
packing nut is too tight it can also cause this same effect. (Alternatively, if the tubes are too
big, they will not create an effective barrier and too much grease will be wasted).

Figure 22 - Flow Tubes

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1.20.4 Safety Check Union
This device is normally included in stranded wireline lubricator hook-ups just below the grease
injection head. The wire is threaded through both these units and if the wire breaks and is
blown out of the grease injection head, the well pressure is automatically shut off by the safety
check union. Shut off is accomplished by the velocity of the escaping well effluents causing a
piston to lift a ball up against a ball seat. Well pressure holds the ball against the seat. This
device does in fact fulfil the same function as the internal BOP in the solid wireline stuffing
box. As with all lubricator equipment, this safety check union is furnished with quick unions.

Figure 23 - Safety Check Union
38 RIG

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1.20.5 Braided Line BOPs
Ram type BOPs are self-actuating. Once an initial seal is established in closing the difference
in pressure above and below the rams assists the sealing action. The seals are arranged so that
the pressure differential forces the rams together and upwards. (Refer to Figure 24)
This means that:
The sealing force is independent of the closing force after the seal is established
The ram sealing action is directional
The pressure must be equalised before opening.
Ram type BOPs are designed to seal with the cable static, and all cable movement should be
stopped before closing the rams.
Braided line dual ram BOPs are configured with the lower set of rams inverted, and with a
grease injection port in between the rams. This allows the two sets of rams to trap a cavity full
of grease between them of higher pressure, preventing escape up or down. This is mandatory
in gas wells since gas will migrate up the cable between the inner and outer armour. By filling
the cavity at a pressure higher than wellhead pressure, the grease fills the spaces and prevents
Dual ram BOPs are normally integral, but they may be made up, by stacking two single BOPs
on top of each other.
A typical braided line rig up is shown in Figure 25

Figure 24 - Braided Line Dual Hydraulic BOP

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Figure 25 - Braided Line Rig up
40 RIG

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During wireline operations it may become necessary to cut the wire, and a choice of valves are
available to do this. Some Xmas Tree valves are designed to do this without damaging the
valve. In some cases, e.g. when fishing with heavy duty wire, it may not be advisable to do so.
In such case, it may be necessary to include a purpose designed shear valve, mounted just
above the tree. This is a ram type shear/seal BOP because of its superior cut capacity. The
valve should cut the wire or the BHA. It has the additional advantage of sealing at the bottom
of the riser.

Figure 26 - Shear Valves
Shear valves should be considered when:
The DHSV is locked permanently open using a sleeve. This means that it cannot
be used as a barrier with the wireline out of the well
The lubricator is not long enough to contain the whole tool string. If the Xmas
Tree valves leak, the lubricator could not be isolated otherwise
An extra barrier is required due to the nature of the operation, or the equipment

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1.22.1 Previous Well History
Prior to commencing any braided line operations on a well, it is prudent to check the well file
for any previous problems that may have been encountered (most operators keep a problem
database for each well). A well schematic showing depths of nipples, gas lift valves, sliding
sleeves etc., is an essential item for the braided line operator.
When the duration of braided line operations necessitates a change of personnel at the end of
a shift it is important that a comprehensive handover is conducted between the crew going off
shift and those coming on. Information as to the status of the job, problems encountered, and
the current tool string configuration should be included.
1.22.2 Pressure Testing
Each time the tool string is loaded into the lubricator the system should be pressure tested
prior to opening up the well and running in hole. The test value should be decided
beforehand, and would commonly be 110% of SIWHP, rather than design pressure. It is
unnecessary to test to several thousand psi when the SIWHP of a depleted reservoir may only
be a few hundred psi.
A typical test will consist of pressuring up the lubricator (and riser, if used) against the closed
tree swab valve, to the working pressure of the lowest pressure rated item of equipment in the
rig up. It is important to ensure as much air is bled from the system as possible, in order to
obtain a satisfactory pressure trace on the chart recorder. Water or other suitable liquid should
be used.
When using braided line, to achieve this:
Pump at a sufficient rate to vent air via the grease injection head. Cement or other
high-capacity pumps might be used to speed this up
As the liquid begins to leak out at the grease injection head slow the pump rate
down and increase the grease injection pressure to effect a seal (if pump rate is
not reduced, grease may be stripped through the flow tube too quickly and a seal
will not be achieved)
Continue to pressure up with the test pump and hold stabilised pressure for the
prescribed time.
The grease injection system should always be pressure tested to its maximum, irrespective of
the well pressure expected.
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When using slickline:
While pumping, vent air through lubricator bleed off line
When water appears at bleed off line reduce pump rate and close in needle valve
Continue to pressure up with the test pump and hold stabilised pressure for the
prescribed time.
1.22.3 Lubricator Fluid
When conducting wireline operations on gas wells or high GOR oil wells it is important that
the fluid used to pressure test the lubricator is inhibited, to prevent the formation of hydrate
plugs around the wellhead. Typically, a mixture of glycol and water is used.
Normally the pressure testing fluid falls down the well and consequently consideration should
be given to ensure that the fluid is chemically compatible with the formation. Small
concentrations may also enter the process facilities when conducting cleanup flows.
It may not be advisable or advantageous to allow the riser contents to enter the well after
pressure testing, and in this case the riser/lubricator will need to be evacuated of pressure test
fluid (and possibly the test fluid saved for re-use), at the surface prior to running in the hole.
The BOP/riser manifold has to be made up to enable this.
1.22.4 Lubricator Equalisation
Prior to opening the tree valves it is important to ensure that the pressure in the lubricator is
approximately equal to, or slightly above, the SIWHP. This is to:
Reduce the chance of damaging the valve seals by opening them against a
Reduce the chance of differential surges jerking and damaging the tool or wire.
Pressure gauges should be positioned in the following places:
Above the wireline BOP to monitor lubricator pressure
Below the wireline BOP to provide BOP differential pressure
On the tree to monitor SIWHP.
A convenient procedure is to bleed the lubricator pressure down, after completion of a
satisfactory pressure test, to 100 psi above the SIWHP. This small pressure differential will
not damage the valves and it will serve as an indication that the valves have opened and the
pressure has equalised correctly. Difficulty in opening valves could indicate that pressure has
not been equalised correctly.
When RIH the tree valve opening sequence should be:
1. Hydraulic master valve (HMV)
2. Swab valve.

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So that the HMV does not have a differential pressure across it when opening, when pulling
out the shut-in sequence should be:
1. Swab valve
2. HMV
Check that the correct number of turns have been used to open and close the swab valve.
1.22.5 Setting The Stuffing Box
During slickline operations, the stuffing box needs to provide a leak tight seal around the wire
while still allowing the wire to move. However the stuffing box should not be over tightened,
This causes excessive packing wear
More weight needs to be used to overcome the extra friction
The extra weight brings line tensions closer to limits
The tool string is lengthened, requiring a longer lubricator.
On high wellhead pressure wells, note that extra stem is required not only to overcome the
extra upwards force on the cable, but to overcome the extra stuffing box friction.
1.22.6 DHSV And Tree Valve Control
During wireline operations, the normal tree valve control system is overridden and operation
of the valves is achieved through a separate bypass control unit. This ensures that valves are
not accidentally closed by the process control ESDs, etc. while wireline is in the hole.
This unit should not be placed in the wellbay area, unless it is permanently manned by
someone in adequate communication with the wireline operator/supervisor. It may have
mimic controls placed in safe position for emergency use. Ideally it should be available to the
person in charge of the wireline operation who has a clear view of the ongoing job and other
activities taking place on the installation, e.g. crane operations, etc.
When conducting wireline operations below the DHSV, the control line can be closed in at
the Xmas Tree, to lock in pressure, ensuring that the valve cannot be accidentally closed on
the cable. Closing the valve on the cable if it is of the flapper type will not necessarily part the
cable but will almost certainly damage the valve seat. This is recommended if the bypass
control does not have a hydraulic accumulator feed. The closing pressure should be
continuously monitored downstream of the shut-in valve to ensure that slow leaks do not lead
to accidental valve closure. For this reason, pressure regulator systems connected to
accumulators are preferred to hand pumps.
Removing a DHSV can permit the well fluids access to the control line. In the case of
unexpected pressure in the well, a build-up can escape via this line. This can cause:
External leaks
Pressurisation of components and hydraulic oil reservoirs beyond their rating.
DHSV control lines should therefore always be fitted with a manual block valve close to the
tree, which should be closed immediately prior to DHSV removal.
44 RIG

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1.22.7 DHSV Protection
If the well contains a wireline retrievable DHSV, the valve may have to be pulled in order to
provide access for the tool string. Protection sleeves are available for setting in the DHSV
landing nipple that prevent damage of the seal bore by wireline cutting. Tubing retrievable
valves can also be locked out during wireline operations.
If the operator chooses to lock the DHSV open then they must ensure that two mechanical
barriers are available to shut in above it, i.e. master valve and swab valve.
When wireline is in the well in the hole below the DHSV, it is not normally considered to be a
barrier, whether or not it is capable of cutting the wire.
1.22.8 Tool String Weight
The weight of the tool string should be tailored to the specific requirements of the operation
to be undertaken. Weight should be increased to:
Overcome sealing assembly friction and well pressure on the cross-sectional area
of the wireline
Ensure sufficient weight to provide required jarring force
Ensure sufficient weight to keep tool string stationary if flowing the well for
logging purposes.
Adjusting the tool string weight is simply achieved by adding or removing lengths of stem.
However there are limits to the amount of weight that can be added because of:
Tool length limit
Riser length limit.
Downhole pick-up weight constraints (cable strength limit).
For a standard
(0.221) braided line, each 1,000 psi wellhead pressure will require
approximately 40 lbs weight to overcome, and add 3 ft length to the tool string.
1.22.9 Flowing Wells
Flowing the well with tools in the hole is carried out when:
Production logging (braided line)
Conducting pressure/temperature/gradient/PLT surveys. (slickline)
The main area of concern is in preventing the tools from being carried up the hole by the
force of the wellbore fluid, with the potential for the tools to overtake the wire and become
stuck, or the cable produced through the flow line.
Ensure sufficient tool string weight
Open well slowly, after positioning the tool string below the fluid level
Determine whether the tool string may be pulled into the tubing shoe or not. If
not, make sure that depth upper and lower limits (which take account of the tool
length) are set and observed
Exercise caution if pulling tools through restrictions or gas lift valves.

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When conducting slickline logging it is sometimes difficult to detect a loss in weight on the
weight indicator if the tool string is being pushed up the well by the producing fluid. With
braided line the tool position can be monitored by means of the CCL to give a positive
indication of movement.
The required tool string weight should be estimated during pre-job planning to determine if
well flowing conditions will impede the tool string descent. Most service companies have
software packages to calculate flowing conditions and alter tool string design accordingly.
When pulling plugs, etc. it is important to ensure that the device is equalised, i.e. has the same
pressure above and below. If the pressure above is too high, it may be impossible to pull the
prong/device, perhaps eventually leading to a broken wire. If the pressure below is too high,
the surge may cause the prong/device to be blown up the well, also leading to tangling and
possibly broken wire.
1.22.10 Checking Valves Are Clear Before Closing
Prior to commencing wireline operations on a platform or land based rig up, it is important to
check the number of turns required to fully open, and close both the swab and master valves
on the tree. This will serve as an indication as to whether the tool string has completely
cleared the valves and is totally into the lubricator before opening up the riser to lay down the
tools. Some manufacturers provide tool in riser indicator devices.
1.22.11 Gas Wells
During braided line operations in gas wells, if the seal is lost it will prove harder to re-establish
The increased volume of gas compared to oil will tend to strip the grease out of
the flow tube
Lube oil based grease becomes contaminated and thins (loses viscosity)
The cooling effect of gas escape thickens the grease.
Careful selection of grease type and the number and diameter of flow tubes required is
important to minimise the chance of a leak. The ambient temperature has an important effect,
and the grease selected must retain its properties at low temperatures. The use of synthetic
greases (usually silicon-based) is sometimes necessary, despite its cost.
NOTE: Grease cannot be re-used.
When conducting wireline operations on gas wells the following additional points should be
The probability of hydrate formation is much increased in comparison to oil wells.
Monitor line tension closely when pulling tools through tree valves in case hydrate
plugs have formed, causing a restriction in ID.
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Alertness to steps in the OD of braided line is critical in gas well operations.
Because the seal in gas is much more sensitive to clearance, the flow tube
assembly will only effect a good seal around a constant cable OD. Steps typically
occur when a cable used often at the same depth is used in a deeper well for the
first time. Turning the cable round on the drum aggravates the problem, e.g. the
tool is difficult to get down at surface (least weight on cable) and leaks occur at
the thinner section of cable (tool downhole).
Twin BOPs should always be used, with the bottom pair inverted to allow for the
injection of grease between the two.
All O ring seals and BOP seal elements etc. should be compatible with the well
The injection grease can be doped with H
S inhibitor if required.
1.22.12 Floating Operations
Floating operations may require to have wave motion compensation, and usually the rig
compensator is used. Note that if the unit is far enough away from the rig floor, hanging the
sheave/pulley directly on the top of the lubricator may be sufficient. If not, compensation is
achieved by hanging the upper sheave on the travelling block, and utilising the rig drilling
compensator. Since the compensation systems works by moving the sheave up and down, it
must only be activated when the tool string has been run some distance into the well.
NOTE: That the construction of braided l ne means that some gas migration is
possible through the core, even though the grease seal equipment is
functioning perfectly.
1.22.13 Riser/Lubricator Length
If both the riser and lubricator are used to contain the tool string, there is no way to close the
well in the case that the tree valves leak. In this case the use of a shear/seal valve above the
tree should be seriously considered. However, in general this configuration is not
recommended. Operations should be planned to contain the complete tool string above the
riser within the lubricator only. If on a drilling rig, there should be plenty of space in the
derrick to assemble a lubricator of at least 80 ft, long enough for most tool strings. If on a
satellite wellhead, the crane boom is normally long enough to provide a similar clearance.

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1.23.1 Yellow Alert (Production Shutdown)
Although the shut down is not necessarily directly related to the wireline operation, the alert
may escalate. The following actions should be taken immediately, presuming that the situation
might deteriorate:
If close to the surface, move the wireline so that the tool string is not across the
Apply winch brakes and shut down the wireline unit power pack
If necessary close the stuffing box, since it is harder to seal on a cable which is
stationary (braided line).
If the tool string is in the lubricator:
Close the upper master valve
Then close the swab valve, then bleed down lubricator pressure, or
If the tool string is below the Xmas tree:
Close the BOPs
Check that the well has been made safe as per permit stipulations
Return work permit.
1.23.2 Red Shutdown (Muster Stations)
Proceed as per yellow shutdown (there is no need to hand back permit)
If directed, essential personnel should stay with unit
Other personnel should proceed to muster stations.
1.23.3 Prepare To Abandon
If the tool string is in the lubricator, check that the upper master valve, the swab
valve and if possible the DHSV are closed
If the tool string is below the Xmas tree, cut the wireline using the correct valve.
NOTE: That tree valve are not always able (or designed) to cut the wire, and the
valve to be used for this should be determined before the job. Then close
the tree valves as above

All personnel to proceed to muster stations or lifeboats as directed.
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1.24.1 Causes of Wireline Leaks/Containment Problems
Due to main sealing device failure
Due to freezing rendering sealing devices inoperative
Due to absence of cable
Due to elastomer seal failure
Due to riser/lubricator mechanical failure.
In gas wells
In sour gas
Thru closed BOPs.
Fragile cable breaking/stranding
Air/grease supply failure.
Tubing blocked by wireline
Secondary well control device failure (e.g. BOPs).
1.24.2 Stuffing Box Leak (Slickline)
Hydrocarbons escaping from the stuffing box during slickline operations are predominantly
caused by packing wear. This should be quite an unusual situation, and is easily avoided by:
Correct packing nut setting (not over tightened)
Regular inspection of stuffing box packing and changing as required, e.g. every
time wire is cut back.
The packing nut compression is usually a small fraction of the maximum available. Leaks are
most often cured, by simply increasing the compression accordingly. However, a rough or
corroded cable can sometimes lead to excessive wear.
If tightening the packing nut does not cure the leak at that point, particularly in oil wells at
moderate pressures, small leaks may be acceptable in order to pull out of hole and make
repairs. Alternatively, it may be acceptable to close one set of BOPs and strip through them.

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Otherwise, the stuffing box will have to be repaired by replacing the packing. Normally this
repair is made by cutting the wire. To do this:
1. If possible stop cable movement immediately or move tool string to a position where
the cable can be held stationary
2. Close both sets of wireline BOPs and bleed down lubricator pressure
3. Inflow test BOPs to ensure they are sealing. This is done by observing that the
lubricator pressure stays at zero after closing the bleed valves after bleeding down
4. Open the bleed screw in the stuffing box to ensure that no pressure remains
5. Unscrew the gland nut completely to expose the packing elements
6. Clamp and cut the wire
7. Withdraw the packing elements and remove them from the wire
8. Ream the new packing element with a piece of scored wire and place them on the wire
9. Rejoin the wire.
Normally in slickline operations it is perfectly acceptable to cut the wire, however there may
be a reason not to do so. In this case, a temporary repair may be made by splitting the
packings with a knife to allow them to be placed on the line without cutting it. Before pushing
the new elements into the stuffing box it is essential to rotate each packing element to ensure
that the diagonal splits do not line up. This will prevent selective wear and a keyseat appearing
on one side of the packing. This should be considered a last resort emergency measure only,
and this temporary packing should be changed as soon as the tool is retrieved.
1.24.3 Grease Seal Leak (Braided Cable Operations)
A leak past the grease injection head is a common occurrence, and is usually associated with a
lack of grease pressure. Normally this is due to simple operational factors which can be easily
prevented and remedied:
Pulling out (or running in) too fast, particularly on the first run (dry cable)
Setting the grease injection pressure too low
An increase in wellhead pressure, e.g. after perforating
Not enough grease in the supply tank
Restrictions in the grease supply system
Low grease pump air supply pressure.
However a leak could also be as a result of one or a combination of the following factors, with
potentially more serious consequences:
Grease type incompatible with conditions, e.g. ambient temperature or freezing
due to gas escape
Contaminated grease becoming thinner
Incorrect flow tube insert ID or worn flow tubes
Insufficient flow tube length.
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Leaks are potentially serious in gas wells. If acted upon early enough, it may be possible to re-
establish the grease seal in the following ways.
NOTE: That the time available is short in gas wells and contingency plans should
be well developed for this:
Increase grease injection pressure
RIH slowly to:
1. Help the grease flow into the well rather than out
2. Pass a well-greased section of wire through the flow tubes.
In oil wells, this is normally sufficient to re-establish the seal, or slow it sufficiently to retrieve
the tool and reconfigure or repair the seal assembly.
The stuffing box may be used to slow the leak and help the grease seal re-establish itself.
NOTE: That when the stuffing box is closed, flowing well fluid may be diverted
down the grease return hose, and i should be securely tied down before
the job. In this case:

Stop all cable movement
Close stuffing box
Close the valve at the end of the grease return line
Once the leak has been contained, re-open the grease return line and allow grease
to circulate before continuing the operation.
Do not close the grease return line valve first, as this requires the stuffing box to close against
a higher initial pressure.
In gas wells, this may not be sufficient. Before any corrective measures are taken, the escaping
gas must be immediately brought under control to prevent freeze-up and hydrate formation.
This is done by:
Stopping cable movement immediately if possible, or move tool string to a
position where the cable can hold stationary
Close both sets of wireline BOPs, inject grease between them and bleed down
lubricator pressure
Once the escape is stabilised, a number of corrective steps can be taken in an
attempt to re-establish the grease seal. These are:
1. Wait for the freeze up to thaw, or assist with a steam hose.
2. Pump heavy oil first to re-establish grease circulation.
3. Circulate grease for some time to remove all thin grease or oil remains.
4. Change grease type if possible.
At the same time the pressure and volume capability of the grease system should be verified.
Because the ID of high-pressure grease hoses is so small, quite modest restrictions can cause
considerable pressure losses.

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If none of the above actions helps to abate the leak the cable may have to be cut to allow the
seal assembly to be inspected and repaired/reconfigured. There are a number of possibilities
which become possible once the cable has been cut:
Worn flow tubes replaced, or smaller ID inserts used
More flow tubes added
Additional grease injection points added.
The procedure for cutting the cable is as given below.
NOTE That a knotted cable cannot be pulled over sheaves, and that the
operation is considerably speeded up if the cut and knot is made far away
from the top of the lubricator at the winch drum after slacking some
If possible stop cable movement immediately or move tool string to a position
where the cable can remain stationary
Close both sets of wireline BOPs and bleed down lubricator pressure
Inflow test BOPs to ensure they are sealing
Disconnect lubricator and secure wire above BOPs with fishing clamp
Pull a few wraps a wire off cable drum and cut wire close to winch unit, pull wire
out of stuffing box and grease seal assembly
Make the necessary inspection and or/adjustments to the sealing assembly
Rethread wire through stuffing box and knot free end at winch unit, spool loose
wire back onto drum
Remove fishing clamp and reconnect lubricator
Equalise pressure and open BOPs
Pull out of hole and replace knotted section of wire if sufficient is remaining on
1.24.4 Leak In Lubricator
Although the lubricator will have been pressure tested prior to commencing operations, the
action of jarring etc. can induce bending in the lubricator and hence cause leaks at the
connections probably as a result of O ring failure. It is good practice to visually inspect and
replace the O ring at the connection used every time the lubricator is broken open.
It may be sufficient to remove the damaged O ring, split a new one diagonally with a knife,
place over the cable, join it with a proprietary adhesive available from seal manufacturers then
place in the groove. If this does not work and it proves necessary to replace with an uncut
seal, then the procedure for cutting and re-splicing the line is as per 1.24.2
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1.24.5 Loss Of Power
In the event that the power pack fails:
Clamp wire at the vertical section close to the lower sheave/pulley and apply
manual brake to cable drum
Close BOPs (optional)
Repair or replace power pack
Open BOPs, unclamp wire and recommence operations.
1.24.6 Broken Strand
Breaking a single strand of a braided cable should be discovered by:
The winch operator noticing a dark spiral line in the cable caused by the missing
strand as the cable is winched in
Fluctuations in the line weight, caused by the lower end of the broken strand
stripping back off the cable and bunching up inside the lubricator, beneath the
grease injection flow tube.
A broken strand is more likely to occur after closing the BOP on the cable and special
attention should be paid when operations are recommenced. It can also be caused by crimping
the wire, e.g. when using clamps, by excessive bending, etc. Good cable handling and
protection procedures and special care during rig up is recommended.
In all broken strand/birds nest situations, there is a danger that strands of wire can foul the
BOPs causing them not to seal or be damaged when actuated. If correctly functioning BOPs
are not available, then the well will have to be killed. Ensure that:
The cable is not moved down too much, keeping the broken strand/birds nest to
the top of the lubricator
The BOPs are closed carefully, checking that there is no unusual resistance.
During recovery from broken strands and birds nests, the lubricator may need to be raised
more than normal, and extra tugger lines may be required. On set-ups other than on drilling
rigs, this may be difficult to arrange.

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If this problem is identified early enough, before a birds nest is formed, it may be possible to
cut the broken strand back in such a way that it will pass through the flow tube. To attempt
this operation:
Pump open the head catcher to spread the fingers
Attempt to go down a few feet to check if the broken strand is caught. Do not go
down too far, as the strand will foul the BOPs
Close BOP rams, bleed down lubricator pressure and inflow test BOPs
Pump the head catcher open to withdraw the fingers
Open the lubricator and clamp the cable above the BOPs
Lift up slowly and check that:
1. The wire is not being stripped through the BOPs
2. Cable tension limits are not being exceeded
Once it has been established that the cable is being dragged up, lift the lubricator
up as far as possible
Open the lubricator at a second point below the head catcher
Using a second tugger line lower the free middle section of the lubricator back
down onto the BOPs, revealing the broken strand at the top
Cut the broken strand back without bending it and replace it into the lay of the
It may be necessary to file down the OD of the cable slightly to ensure the broken
strand is not snagged again when attempting to pass it through the injection head
Pull tension on the cable, lower grease injection head, checking that the cable
underneath does not slack
Equalise pressure and open BOPs
POOH and replace cable drum.
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1.24.7 Wire Birds Nest
If a broken strand of cable has not been detected promptly, it will quickly form a birds nest
inside the lubricator. Note that when the gap left by the missing strand becomes visible close
to the unit, more than 200 ft of strand may already be missing. In the early stages the birds
nest may not be too big, or at least may not have caught on the fingers of the head catcher. In
this case handle as for a broken strand.
However, most often the birds nest will be stuck inside the lubricator, and the main problem
is to gain access to it. The action taken will depend on the wellhead pressure:
a) High WHP
In this situation it is not recommended to strip through the BOPs therefore the cable may
have to be cut and knotted twice to bring it through the grease injection head. Proceed as for
broken strand case to the point of checking if the wire is stuck.
If the birds nest is completely stuck inside the riser, it should be possible to strip a short
section of cable (1 - 2 ft) through the BOPs to gain access. To prepare the BOPs for stripping:
Close bottom BOP ram tightly
Close upper BOP ram lightly and inject grease to a pressure at least 500psi above
Apply sufficient pressure on upper BOP rams to just stop the leak of grease
Reduce pressure on bottom BOP ram to the same as upper
Monitor for grease leaking and adjust upper BOP pressure accordingly.
To recover from the stuck birds nest:
Install first clamp and reconnect the lubricator at the bottom. Open the lubricator
at the top one section below the ball valve
Cut cable below birds nest and allow the cut end to fall into the lubricator
Lay down the lubricator and remove a single section, then lay the grease injection
assembly down and remove birds nest
Prepare the cut end to pass more easily through the injection head by filing it
Pick up lubricator and pass a rope down from the bottom to be able to pull the
cut end back up
Thread cut end through injection head.
NOTE: That since the injection head is usually shorter than riser sections,
removing one will give sufficient slack to allow the cable to be passed
through to the top
Knot cable, pick up slack, remove clamp and reconnect lubricator
Equalise pressure and open BOP rams
Pull knot onto drum carefully, using clamp and moving upper sheave up/down to
provide slack to pass knot over sheaves.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
It is good practice to include one more section of riser than required to accommodate the
tool, to avoid having to cut the wire twice in this situation. Also, the riser and lubricator
together may be able to accommodate the tool, or the DHSV may be used to temporarily
close the well to allow the tool to be recovered.
If not, the missing lubricator sections will have to be replaced. In this case, it may be
expedient at the time of making the first cut to remove all the lubricator sections except one,
which will provide enough slack to pass the free end over both sheaves before knotting. To
make the second cut:
Pull sufficient cable to move knot securely onto cable drum
Close BOP rams and bleed down lubricator pressure
Break out lubricator, install clamp and cut cable leaving sufficient length to install
original lubricator sections and leave cable end free of lower sheave
Re-install lubricator sections, knot cable and remove clamp
Re-connect lubricator, pressure test, equalise pressure and open BOP rams
Pull out of the well and change out cable.
In this situation it may be possible to strip cable through the BOP rams and simplify the
operation. After cutting the cable below the birds nest as before:
Knot the free cable ends together without the lubricator and injection head
Pull the cable to strip through the BOP. Be ready to close the second BOP if
required. Monitor cable tension closely
Once enough slack has been pulled, re-clamp the cable, cut off the knot, and
thread cable through lubricator and injection head as above.
1.24.8 Tool Stuck Across Tree
When retrieving wireline plugs from the tubing hanger it is important to consider the
consequences of getting the pulling tool stuck on the plug and the wire breaking without being
able to recover the tool string.
In the situation where the wireline BOPs and lubricator are rigged up directly on top of the
Xmas Tree, the tool string may be straddling both the Xmas Tree valves and the BOPs. In this
case there will be no mechanical method of closing the well in order to remove the lubricator,
if the plug has been equalised or unseated, and the well is live.
The only available option would be to freeze the wellhead in order to provide an ice plug
pressure barrier for rigging down the lubricator and rigging up to fish the tool string.
To avoid the above mentioned problem either:
Include a riser section between the tree and the wireline BOPs of sufficient length
to accommodate the entire tool string
Reduce the length of the tool string so that it will not straddle both the tree valves
and the BOPs.
56 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 57
If space constrictions do not allow for any additional height to install a riser section then
reducing tool string length is the only option. There are tools available that combine tubular
jars, hydraulic jars, weight bars and rope socket in one short section thus providing a tool
string short enough to allow the wireline BOPs to be closed above it.
1.24.9 Broken Wire
Broken wire has different consequences for slickline and braided line. Slickline has a high
stiffness to weight ratio and will not bundle and drop in the tubing. Broken slickline will fall
and usually coil in a neat helix on the interior of the tubing, and can be normally easier to fish
than braided line.
However all fishing operations carry a high element of risk that the fish cannot be recovered.
This might lead to killing the well by bullheading, leading to loss of production. In extreme
cases it can lead to wells being abandoned. In all cases, fishing operations are to be avoided if
another option is available.
Broken braided line can form a bundle, which can sometimes be fished with difficulty, but
usually which will plug the tubing. This may require the well to be killed (which itself could be
difficult with plugged tubing) and the completion retrieved. For this reason braided line
should always run with a weak point at the tool, designed to shear out and leave a clean fishing
neck before tension limits are exceeded at surface. Greater care is required when dealing with
cases of stuck tools with braided line.
Slickline tends to part more easily than braided line for a number of reasons, including:
Work hardening at pulleys caused by excessive jarring at the same point on the
Embrittlement of the wire due to the presence of H
Incorrect make-up of the rope socket
Accidental (or otherwise) closing of valve on wire
Pulling in excess of the wires yield strength.
Particularly with braided line, if the tools are on bottom and the wire parts at surface, there is a
good chance that the end of the wire will drop through the stuffing box and BOPs. The ball
valve in the stuffing box should stop any escape of hydrocarbons, however the well should be
closed in at the tree.
Particularly with slickline, if the wire breaks the broken end often is bent enough that it
catches on the stuffing box and does not fall in the well. This happens particularly during
slickline jarring operations, when the device in the well is stuck. Then a decision has to be
made whether to cut the wire on bottom or to fish the end of the wire back out, splice onto it
and keep jarring. The latter is not recommended if the line is fatigued as there would be a risk
of parting the wire again. However, if the tool string is latched onto the fish with a shear down
tool it would be relatively simple to splice onto the line, jar down and release the tools, then
come out of the hole and spool on a new line.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The most likely location for the wire to have parted downhole is at the rope socket. The well
bore pressure will be acting such as to force the line out of the stuffing box, but this will be
counteracted by the weight of the line in the well. It is therefore recommended to:
POOH, using increased stuffing box and/or grease injection pressure, to a point
where stripping becomes necessary. However be careful not to clamp the cable
too tightly, or it will kink
Close the rams lightly (one set only)
Strip the wire out of the hole.
Caution should be exercised as the end of the line comes through the BOP rams. If the
stuffing box/grease injection head does not contain a ball valve then there should be someone
ready by the wellhead to close the tree in as the wire passes.
NOTE: That spliced cables are unacceptable for all operations involving pressure
control equipment.

58 RIG

1.4.3 Sub-Sea Rig Up 31
2002 Rev 1 i
1.2.1 Reel Unit 4
1.2.2 Coiled Tubing Operational Life 6
1.2.3 Tubing Injector Head 10
1.2.4 Power Systems And Controls 12
1.2.5 Control Cabin 12
1.3.1 Stripper Packer 14
1.3.2 Annular BOP 19
1.3.3 Risers And Connectors 20
1.3.4 Multi-Function Remote Controlled BOP or Quad BOP 20
1.3.5 Separate Shear/Seal BOP 24
1.3.6 Combi BOPs 24
1.3.7 Check Valves 27
1.3.8 Release Joints 29
1.4.1 Land Based Rig Up 31
1.4.2 OffShore Platform Rig Up 31
1.5.1 Pre-Load Out Checks 33
1.5.2 Pre-job Test Procedures 33
1.6.1 Production Platform Considerations 39
1.6.2 Yellow Alert (Production Shutdown) 39
1.6.3 Red Shutdown (Muster Stations) 39
1.6.4 Prepare To Abandon 39
1.7.1 Controlling Formation Pressure 40
1.7.2 Well Circulation For Solids Removal 41
1.7.3 Fluid Type 41
1.7.4 Washing With Nitrogen 42
1.7.5 Washing With Foam 43
1.7.6 System Frictional Pressure Losses 43
1.7.7 Fluid Density 44
1.7.8 Considerations When Unloading A Well 44

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.8.1 Introduction 45
1.8.2 Run In And Pull Out Of Hole Procedures 45
1.8.3 Running In Hole Procedure 46
1.8.4 Stuffing Box/Stripper Failure 47
1.8.5 Major Riser Assembly Leak 49
1.8.6 Pinhole At Surface 52
1.8.7 Tubing Parted At Surface 55
1.8.8 Tubing Parted Downhole 58
1.8.9 Internal Coiled Tubing Well Pressure 60
1.8.10 Loss Of Power 60
1.8.11 Coiled Tubing Collapse 61
1.8.12 Coiled Tubing Runaway 63
1.8.13 Stuck Coiled Tubing 64
1.8.14 Well Shrinkage 65
1.9.1 Riser And BOP Rig Up 67
1.9.2 Operational Summary 67
1.9.3 Conclusions And Recommendations 67

ii RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 1
Coiled tubing is utilised for a variety of operations Figure 1 and Figure 2, including:

Cleanout wellbore debris
Acid washing
Spotting cement plugs
Setting straddle packers/bridge plugs
Removal of wellbore skin damage
Spotting diverter agents
Clean out un-displaced fracture proppant
Production Services
Gas Lifting
Small bore permanent strings
Drilling Operations
Freeing stuck drill pipe
Drilling out flash set cement
Drilling slim hole
Side tracking
Logging Operations
Stiff wireline (horizontal wells)
Testing Operations
Gas lifting
Wellbore cleanup

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 1 - Sand Cleanout with Coiled Tubing

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 3

Figure 2 - Gas Lift

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.2.1 Reel Unit
Coiled tubing is stored on large reels in the same way as electric cable is stored for downhole
logging operations. The reel is supported on an axle and is rotated by a drive chain driven by
an hydraulic motor. The drive system has a dual function:
When uncoiling tubing i.e. when running into the well, the motor acts as a
constant torque brake, keeping the tubing between the reel and the gooseneck in
constant tension.
When coiling tubing, the reel rotates in order to keep the tubing under constant
The reel drive system is not used to raise or lower tubing into the well.
To ensure that the tubing is correctly coiled onto itself a reeling guideis synchronised with the
rotation of the reel by a chain drive taken from the axle.
The inner end of the coiled tubing is connected to the hub of the reel, which incorporates a
rotating joint. Fluids can be pumped through this joint and down the coiled tubing while the
reel is stationary, or rotating, at any pressure up to the specific working limit of the coiled
tubing itself. In order to be able to circulate a ball down the work string, to operate downhole
tools, the coiled tubing reel is fitted with a ball launcher. The launcher allows the ball to be
introduced into the coiled tubing without the need to depressurise or break any connections.
Typically two coiled tubing reels are supplied for each operation in case of a failure of the
primary reel.
Without tubing 9,000 lbs
With 15,000 ft 1
tubing (0.125 wall) 36,000 lbs
Tubing length
17,000 ft
13,000 ft
Length 12 ft
Width 8 ft
Height 10 ft
Table 1 - Reel Unit Dimensions

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 5

Figure 3 - Typical Coiled Tubing Rig Up

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.2.2 Coiled Tubing Operational Life
As the types of services being performed with coiled tubing increase, the demands on the
coiled tubing pipe itself increase. It is important that the limitations of the coiled tubing pipe
are thoroughly understood, before these more demanding services are performed. Typical
properties are given in Table 2.
Since its introduction in the mid 60s, coiled tubing has developed a somewhat checkered
history. There were too many stories about pieces, or entire strings of coiled tubing left in
wells. During the 70s and early 80s the use of coiled tubing reached a plateau, primarily
because of its poor service quality record. In recent years, tremendous improvements have
been made in the quality of coiled tubing pipe and in the understanding of coiled tubing
limitations. These improvements have resulted in a decrease in coiled tubing pipe failures, and
an increased acceptance of coiled tubing applications.
There are four coiled tubing limitations that must be understood:
1. Life Limits When being run on and off the reel and over the
gooseneck. (often with internal pressure on the pipe)
2. Tension Limits Which vary with depth and weight of coiled tubing.
3. Pressure Limits Burst and collapse pressure vary with tension and
4. Diameter and Ovality Limits Real time monitoring of the pipe is required to ensure
that the pipe is not ballooned, ovaled, or mechanically
It is important that all these limits are considered together. For example the life limits allow
1.25 OD coiled tubing with a 0.087 wall thickness, made of 70,000 psi yield material, with
5,000 psi internal pressure, to be cycled in and out of the hole about 40 times before reaching
the limit.
This means that the pipe will not fail due to fatigue before this point. However, when the pipe
reaches this limit, it will have grown from 1.25 OD to 1.5 OD, which is far beyond the
acceptable diameter limit.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 7

Pressure capacity
psi OD
(ins) wall
nom nom nom nom
yield min lbs
0.875 0.087 0.701 0.737 14,455 10,624 13,280
1.00 0.067 0.866 0.688 12,982 7,056 8,820
1.00 0.075 0.850 0.741 14,505 7,952 9,940
1.00 0.087 0.826 0.848 16,738 9,296 11,620
1.00 0.095 0.810 0.918 18,191 10,192 12,740
1.00 0.102 0.796 0.978 19,262 10,864 13,580
1.00 0.109 0.782 1.037 20,492 11,648 14,560
1.25 0.075 1.100 0.941 18,409 6,362 7,952
1.25 0.087 1.076 1.081 21,301 7,437 9,296
1.25 0.095 1.060 1.172 23,194 8,154 10,192
1.25 0.102 1.046 1.250 24,595 8,691 10,864
1.25 0.109 1.032 1.328 26,210 9,318 11,648
1.25 0.125 1.000 1.506 29,375 10,573 13,216
1.25 0.134 0.982 1.597 31,583 11,469 14,336
1.25 0.156 0.938 1.840 35,867 13,261 16,576
1.50 0.095 1.310 1.425 28,197 6,795 8,493
1.50 0.102 1.296 1.522 29,928 7,243 9,053
1.50 0.109 1.282 1.619 31,928 7,765 9,707
1.50 0.125 1.250 1.836 35,862 8,885 11,107
1.50 0.134 1.232 1.955 38,620 9,557 11,947
1.50 0.156 1.188 2.245 44,004 11,051 13,813
1.75 0.109 1.532 1.910 37,645 6,656 8,320
1.75 0.125 1.500 2.190 42,350 7,552 9,440
1.75 0.134 1.482 2.313 45,657 8,192 10,240
1.75 0.156 1.438 2.660 52,140 9,472 11,840
2.00 0.109 1.782 2.201 43,363 5,824 7,280
2.00 0.125 1.750 2.503 48,837 6,608 8,260
2.00 0.134 1.732 2.671 52,694 7,168 8,960
2.00 0.156 1.688 3.072 60,277 8,288 10,360
2.375 0.125 2.125 3.010 58,568 5,565 6,956
2.375 0.134 2.107 3.207 63,250 6,036 7,545
2.375 0.156 2.063 3.710 72,482 6,979 8,724
Table 2 - Sizes, Dimensions, Pressure Ratings and General Information about Commercially
Available Coiled Tubing.
Load capacity - Yield minimum calculated on minimum wall.
Tested: Test pressure value - 80% of internal yield pressure rating.
Maximum working pressure is a function of tube condition and is determined by user.
All data is for new tubing at minimum strength.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
In order to more accurately track fatigue loading conditions in the field, most coiled tubing
companies have developed computer based systems to quantify and record the historical job
exposure of each string. Depending on the internal pressure present in each section of the
coiled tubing while reeling, unreeling or travelling over the gooseneck, varying factors are
applied to the cycle count to adjust the cycle life of that section. Past and present job data are
merged and kept on file to maintain up-to-date records for each string.
The calculation and table below serve to demonstrate how coiled tubing is stressed beyond its
elastic limit each time it is run over the gooseneck or spool. Yield strength is reduced
considerably when stressed with internal pressure.
The minimum bend radius for coiled tubing around the reel or gooseneck can be calculated
R = E (D/2) / Sy (answer in inches)
E = 30 10
psi (modulus of elasticity for steel)
D = OD of coiled tubing
Sy = material yield strength
for 70,000 psi coiled tubing:
Coiled tubing OD Minimum bending radius (ft)
0.75 13
1.00 18
1.25 22
1.50 27
1.75 31
2.00 36
2.375 42
Table 3 - The Minimum Bending Radius
Beyond this minimum bending radius the steel will be stressed beyond its elastic strain limit.
When coiled tubing is initially spooled plastic deformation will take place. There are six
bending and straightening cycles. (Refer to Figure 4)


TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 9

Figure 4 - Bending Cycles
1 & 6 Pipe is pulled off or spooled on by the injector head. The reel hydraulic motor
resists placing the coiled tubing in tension and straightens the primary bend in the
coiled tubing.
2 & 5 Around the gooseneck the coiled tubing is bent around a similar radius to the reel.
3 & 4 The pipe is straightened again as it passes through the injector and into or out of
the well.
Buckling can also be a problem when running coiled tubing. If upward drag forces are greater
than downward injector forces then the coiled tubing will be in compression, and helical
buckling can occur. A contributory factor is the material microstructure due to the spooling

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.2.3 Tubing Injector Head
The injector head is mounted above the BOPs and stripper and drives the tubing to be run
into and out of the well under pressure.
The coiled tubing is gripped between contoured blocks which are carried by two sets of
double row chains. The chains are driven hydraulically to inject or retract the tubing with
precise control.
It is important that the correct pressure be maintained on the drive chains to prevent the
tubing from being crushed or letting it slip, through insufficient grip. This is achieved by
hydraulic tensioning cylinders which act on the chains through a roller system. Two opposed
rows of drive blocks are forced inward by a series of hydraulically controlled rollers to provide
the friction drive system with the necessary force. This also provides the flexibility necessary
to maintain uniform loading on the work string without loss of traction.
Units are available with pulling power of up to 60,000 lbs. A high and low gear is available to
run the coiled tubing at speeds of 125 and 250 ft/min respectively.
The chains and their motor and gearbox drive system are mounted in a sub-frame, one side of
which is hinged. The opposite lower side rests on a hydraulic load cell which is connected to a
weight indicator in the control unit. The forces exerted by the action of the driving system and
the tubing weight are all applied along the centre line of the tubing and cause the frame to
pivot. The deflection is small and is controlled by the compressibility of the load cell.
The injector head is also equipped with a roller guide, a gooseneck, on the top of the main
frame which is used to receive coiled tubing from the reel and guide it into the chain blocks;
Figure 5.
Weight 10,000 lbs (with gooseneck)
Length 10 ft (including skid)
Width 8 ft
Height 11 ft
Table 4 - Injector Dimensions
Injector head weight indicators are the main source of information on downhole coiled tubing
performance and as such are the single most important instrument on a coiled tubing unit.
Strain gauge instruments are the most accurate type and are becoming more prevalent.
10 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 11

Figure 5 - Injector Head

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.2.4 Power Systems And Controls
All coiled tubing surface power and control systems are hydraulic. A hydraulic pump provides
oil for the drive motors of the injector, while a second pump is used to drive the reel. Output
regulators are used to control the operation of the injector and reel. In response to the
operators demand, the regulators are used to impose a given oil pressure on the hydraulic
motors which is converted directly up to a maximum attainable torque.
Adjustable relief valves on the injector drive circuit can be set to limit pressure, restricting pull
and thrust to within the safe working limits of the coiled tubing. This is particularly important
when working with small to medium sized coiled tubing strings, in large casing, where critical
buckling loads are only a few thousand pounds.
The hydraulic tensioner for the injector chains and the stuffing box control are hydrostatic
systems, each with its own hand pump. The BOP is hydraulically controlled by oil stored in an
accumulator. The accumulator is charged by a hydraulic pump by means of an activator valve.
When the accumulator is fully charged, the blowout preventer can be taken through two
complete cycles before recharging is necessary. A hand pump is provided for emergency
operation after the accumulator is depleted. The BOP can also be operated manually.
1.2.5 Control Cabin
The coiled tubing control cabin is sited to provide a clear view of both the injector head and
the coiled tubing reel. It houses all the controls relevant to the operation, including: (Refer to
Figure 6)
The main hydraulic control panel (to control the injector reel and spooler system)
Well control package (Stuffing box, BOP functions)
Recording instrumentation
Depth correlation.
12 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 13

Figure 6 - Coiled Tubing Unit Control Panel

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Pressure control equipment includes:
Stripper sealing devices
Annular BOP
Riser/flanges/quick unions/hydraulic latches
Multifunction remote controlled BOPs
Shear seal BOPs
Kill lines and valves.
At least two barriers should be available at all stages of an operation to prevent the release of
All connections between the wellhead and the nearest barrier device capable of forming 100%
blind seal should be metal ringed sealed flange.
BOP should have the following as a minimum:
Flanged connection below the blind rams
Equalising valve across the pipe ram
Equalising valve across the blind ram.
Hydraulic connectors should only be used above the primary shear and seal BOP. The release
mechanism should be designed so that:
It cannot be activated when the connector is exposed to wellhead pressure
It remains latched by means of a simple pressure mechanical system
An indication device displays the latch status.
1.3.1 Stripper Packer
The stripper packer (or stuffing box) is the primary sealing mechanism for isolating wellbore
fluids while under static or dynamic operating conditions. A conventional stripper is shown in
Figure 7.
14 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 15

Figure 7 - Conventional Stripper
Conventional Design
The conventional stripper packer uses an hydraulic piston operating from below, to compress
a polyurethane element to effect a seal around the outside of the coiled tubing.
Wear bushings made of brass are run above and below the sealing element to centralise the
tubing before entering the packer insert. A Teflon non extrusion ring above the packing
element is required to minimise extrusion for maximum packer seal life.
For changing out packer inserts and wear bushings with the coiled tubing in situ, a split cap at
the top of the stripper packer is removed allowing the consumable parts to be replaced.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
Side Door Stripper
The side door design of a stripper has the following advantages over the conventional design.
(Refer to Figure 8)
It minimises the distance between the stripper and the injector chains, thus substantially
reducing the length of unsupported tubing.
It permits replacement of the stripper element, energiser and bushings from the open space
below the injector, thus stripper element change out is always easier particularly when tubing
is in the well.
The side door stripper is more commonly used than the conventional one.
Dual Strippers
The use of two strippers in one stack of coiled tubing pressure containing equipment is
becoming increasingly popular. The lower element is not energised and therefore kept in
reserve. Should the upper element become worn, the lower element can be energised and
The operation continued utilising the lower element as the primary seal
The upper element can be replaced and the lower element de-energised. (Refer to
Figure 9)
16 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 17

Figure 8 - Side Door Stripper

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 9 - Tandem Side Door Stripper
18 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 19

Figure 10 - Radial Stripper
1.3.2 Annular BOP
The coiled tubing annular BOP is designed to provide a seal around the outside of the tubing
in normal operations. The annular BOP can be used to seal on tool strings of different
diameters, collapsed tubing, wireline or to seal blind. Typically run below the quad or combi
BOPs, but can also be run below a single stripper/packer, as a backup, instead of having a
dual stripper. (Refer to Figure 10)
The annular BOP should only be used in addition to a multifunction BOP.
Annular BOPs will be described in detail in the snubbing section.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.3.3 Risers And Connectors
Risers with quick unions or ring sealed flanged connectors are used on coiled tubing
operations. There is a tendency to use the flanged connectors if possible. Some authorities
insist upon flanged connectors. In high pressure operations it would be essential. The flanged
connector is more reliable than the quick union. However, it takes longer to rig up than the
quick union. Depending upon the operation, wellhead pressure, availability, and cost, a
judgement would have to be made.
The hydraulic connector is used as an interface between pressure control devices. It provides a
quick means of rig up. Originally designed for use on floating vessels, the hydraulic connector
is becoming standard in all rig ups for some operators and service companies. Hydraulic
connectors should be:
Only used above the primary shear/seal preventer
Fail safe
Mechanically latched
Able to indicate latch status.
1.3.4 Multi-Function Remote Controlled BOP or Quad BOP
A quad BOP has four pairs of ram actuators with the following functions, in order, from the
top down (Refer to Figure 11)
Used to seal the well bore off at surface when well control is lost. Sealing of
the blind rams is achieved when the elastomeric elements in the rams are
compressed against each other. For the blind rams to seal correctly the tubing
must be removed. The rams are designed to hold pressure from below only.
Used to cut coiled tubing in an emergency. Rams have replaceable blades
specifically for coiled tubing applications. As the shearing plates are closed on
the coiled tubing, the forces imparted mechanically yield the body of the tube
to failure. The cut will leave the tubing open ended so that circulation is still
Slip rams
Designed to hold the tubing and prevent upward or downward movement.
Rams have replaceable inserts for changing tubing size. To prevent damage of
the tubing, by the slips, longer inserts are available adding 75% to the contact
area. In order to break up the stress risers (caused by circumferential slip
marks) the teeth have vertical grooves cut to interrupt the slip marks on the
The pipe rams are equipped with elastomeric seals sized to the diameter of the
tubing in use. When closed on the tubing they isolate the well annulus below
the rams. Guide sleeves fitted to the ram assembly centralise the coiled tubing
as the rams close.
BOPs are available in 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 psi ratings. The bore range is 2.5 to 6.4 inch.
20 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 21
The blind rams and shear rams are separated from the slip rams and pipe rams by a flanged
outlet in the BOP body which is used as a kill line during well control. This line can be used to
reverse circulate fluids however it is not recommended as the pipe rams and slip rams would
be exposed to debris which could impair their operation. Returns should either be taken via
the Xmas Tree or through a flow-tee mounted directly below the BOPs.

Figure 11 - Quad BOP
NOTE: Some operators prefer not to function slip rams unless absolutely
necessary. The extent of slip ram damage cannot be easily quantifiable by
visual inspection.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
The blind ram and pipe ram compartments of the BOP stack body are equipped with ports,
which when activated, equalise pressure within the ram body. Since the rams are self-actuating,
the pressure above and below must be equalised before they are opened. It is good practice to
monitor the opening and closing hydraulic pressure. A high opening pressure could indicate
that the riser pressure is not equalised. In this case the surge an opening can cause buckling or
other damage.
Should a situation arise where the tubing has to be cut, the order of operation should be:
Close the slip & pipe rams
Cut the coiled tubing with the shear rams
Using the injector pull the remaining coiled tubing above the blind rams
Close the blind rams.
Circulation down the coiled tubing is then possible via the circulating port in the BOP body
and into the cut end of the coiled tubing. (Refer to Figure 12)
There are six ways of closing the BOP:
Hydraulic pressure from the BOP control circuit
Accumulator pressure from the BOP control circuit
Haskel pump
Manual override for Haskel pump
Manual hydraulic hand pump
Manual handles on the BOP rams.
22 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 23

Figure 12 - Coiled Tubing Cut

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.3.5 Separate Shear/Seal BOP
This item sometimes referred to as the safety head is rigged up directly on to the Xmas Tree.
It should always be considered especially when a live well situation could be induced as it
protects the riser. It is essential for emergency shutdown situations. (Refer Figure 13 and
Figure 14)
1.3.6 Combi BOPs
The combi BOP has the same features as the quad BOP but combines the functions of two
rams in one actuator: (Refer to Figure 15 and Figure 16)
Quad BOP blind and shear rams become combination shear/seal rams
Quad BOP slip and pipe rams become combination pipe/slip rams (see slip
Consequently with combi rams a quad BOP becomes a dual BOP. This reduces height, weight
and the number of hydraulic hoses required.
The advantages of the combi BOP over the quad BOP is that the coiled tubing does not need
to be pulled out above the blind rams in order to affect a seal, thus enabling the well to be
secured more rapidly in a emergency situation.
All rams are operated hydraulically via a 10 gallon accumulator bottle with a 3,000 psi
operating pressure. The bottle is automatically recharged when the pressure falls to 2,700 psi.
The 10 gallon bottle provides enough usable fluid to close all the BOP functions should the
power pack not be running.
24 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 25

Figure 13 - EH44 Single BOP

Figure 14 - Shear Seal Actuator Assembly

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 15 - Wellhead Combination BOP

Figure 16 - Combi BOP Ram Assemblies
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1.3.7 Check Valves
When using coiled tubing on a live well it is standard practise to incorporate a check valve
(non-return valve) in the bottom hole assembly. Its function is to guard against a blow out if
the tubing leaks or parts at surface by preventing flow back up the string. There are four types
of check valve commonly available. (Refer to Figure 17)
The flapper valve is designed for use in conjunction with ball operated tools because the dart
valve will not allow the passage of a ball. Should a bottom hole assembly become stuck a ball
can be pumped through the flapper to operate the shear sub, while still providing check valve
protection for the coiled tubing as it is retrieved from the well. Hence the flapper valve is in
more common use and typically two valves are run in tandem or a dual flapper valve is used to
give backup in case of one flapper failing to seal.

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Figure 17 - Coiled Tubing Check Valves
28 RIG

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1.3.8 Release Joints
Although not strictly an item of primary pressure control equipment, the release joint provides
a means of disengaging the coiled tubing from the BHA, in case it is unexpectedly stuck down
hole. Because of its larger size the BHA has a tendency to hang up on down hole obstruction
especially on a highly deviated wells.
There are three basic types of Release Joints:
Ball operated shear sub (BOSS tool)
Hydraulic disconnect
Tension disconnect.
Ball Operated Shear Sub
The BOSS tool is activated by circulating a ball through the coiled tubing into a seat at the top
of the tool. A pre-determined pressure applied through the coiled tubing shears out a lock pin
and moves an internal sleeve down to release the retaining lugs. This allows the two halves on
the tool to separate leaving a standard internal fishing neck looking up. The ball is introduced
into the flow path through a ball launcher, which is fitted to the coiled tubing reel unit. Boss
tool operation can be seen in Figure 18.
Hydraulic Disconnect
The hydraulic disconnect is similar in design to the BOSS tool, but does not rely on a ball for
activation. The tool is operated by applying a differential pressure inside the coiled tubing. It
requires a much larger differential pressure because the surface area on which it is acting is
much smaller.
Tension Disconnect
These are simply two components pinned together such that they will separate upon
application of a straight pull on the coiled tubing, leaving a standard fishing neck looking up.
It is not generally recommended to use the tension disconnect as part of the down hole tools
because of the lack of control over down hole tension forces and the possibility of premature

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Figure 18 - Boss Tool Operation
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1.4.1 Land Based Rig Up
Typically for land based coiled tubing operations the BOPs can be rigged up directly onto the
Xmas Tree with no need for a riser. However if the toolstring configuration is complex and
hence long in length a riser can be installed below the BOPs.
1.4.2 OffShore Platform Rig Up
Figure 3 shows a typical rig up for an offshore platform where the injector head and BOPs are
positioned on a higher deck (probably the drill floor) than the wellhead. A riser connects the
BOPs and the Xmas Tree which acts as a lubricator for long toolstrings. In order to be able to
secure the well in an emergency and have the ability to depressurise the riser a shear/seal BOP
is usually included in the rig up, directly above the Xmas Tree.
1.4.3 Sub-sea Rig Up
Sub-sea coiled tubing operations from a floating rig require the injector head and BOPs etc. to
be compensated to allow for rig movement. The injector head, BOPs and stripper are housed
in a lift frame which is suspended from the drilling blocks. The riser and sub-sea BOPs are in
turn suspended from beneath the lift frame, commonly through a hydraulic connector for ease
of rig up, and are kept in constant tension when attached to the sub-sea Xmas Tree to avoid
buckling of the riser joints.
The sub-sea completion BOP will have the same functions as the shear/seal BOP run above
the tree on a platform rig up. A hydraulic control umbilical is run back to surface to allow
remote operation of the tree valves, SCSSV and BOP functions. There will be an emergency
disconnect sub above the BOP to allow the riser to be released and the rig moved off location,
in the event of a problem, leaving the well secured with the BOPs. (Refer to Figure 19)

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Figure 19 - Movement Compensated Coiled Tubing Assembly
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1.5.1 Pre-Load Out Checks
In addition to the pre-job offshore testing the following measures could be taken prior to the
equipment leaving the base.
The coiled tubing unit should be run and full function checks performed.
With straight bar inserted apply a pressure test to the stuffing box to check the operation.
Record on a chart. Pressure test all coiled tubing reels that are going on the job with water to a
high and low pressure. Record on a chart.
A depth flag (paint mark or ring) positioned +/- 300 ft from the end of the coiled tubing for
counter verification when pulling out of hole.
Coiled tubing pickled in HCl to remove any corrosion/debris deposits and then neutralised
and tested to maximum rated pressure.
Displace a ball of suitable diameter through coiled tubing reel(s) with N
. Leave tubing purged
with N
at atmospheric pressure.
Test cut a section of coiled tubing with pipe and slip rams closed. Inspect cut for deformation
and inspect all ram contact areas. Replace shear cutters. (If stiff wireline operations are to be
undertaken, test shear coiled tubing and cable together). Replace shear cutters.
BOP body test to maximum rated pressure and to 200-300 psi low pressure. Record on a
1.5.2 Pre-job Test Procedures
1. Shear/Seal BOP
Fill up the riser and BOP via the test line to the tree valve. Close the blind rams.
Increase pressure in 500 psi increments to maximum and hold for the prescribed time.
Record on a chart. (Refer to Figure 20)
2. Blind Rams and Riser
This should be tested once the BOP is rigged up on the tree and after function testing
all rams. Close the lower master valve, fill the tree through the open swab valve. Close
the blind ram and test from below via the wing valve on the tree using the cement pump
and seawater or water/glycol. Increase the test pressure in 500 psi increments to
maximum and hold stabilised pressure for the prescribed time. Record on a chart. (Refer
to Figure 21(3)).
3. Stripper
Position the straight bar across the BOP. Fill up via the reel until water overflows from
the stripper. Stop the pump, close the swab valve and energise the stripper packer.
Increase pressure in 500 psi increments to 5,000 psi and hold for 15 minutes. (Refer to
Figure 21(4))
NOTE: Applying too much stripper pressure may damage the coiled tubing.

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Figure 20 - Pre-job Test Procedures
34 RIG

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Figure 21 - Pre-job Test Procedures (Continued)

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4. Coiled Tubing Reel and Running Tools
Fill the coiled tubing reel with test water from the cement unit. Displace at least twice
the tubing volume to prevent any possible plugging of the coiled tubing small diameter
tools by contaminants from any previous work done with the cement unit. During this
circulation a chevron pig and stainless steel ball can be used to clear the tubing and
establish the reel volume whilst filling up the reel. Suspend the injector by the travelling
block and attach the coiled tubing tools; tubing connector, straight bar connections,
check valves, shear sub, test cap and valve. Close the test cap and pressure up in 500 psi
increments. Hold stabilised pressure for the prescribed time. Record on a chart. Bleed
off both ends. Remove the test cap and attach the tools for the impending job.
NOTE: The end of the string should be as close to deck as possible.
5. Pipe Rams
With pressure still maintained from the stripper test close the pipe rams. Bleed the
pressure from above via the BOP circulating port. Observe the pressure which is now
being applied to the underside of the pipe rams for the prescribed time. Equalise the
pressure above the rams via the equalising valve on the BOP. Open the pipe rams.
(Refer to Figure 22(5)).
6. Check Valves
Attach the valves to the coiled tubing in the reverse direction including a bleed off
manifold. Position as close to deck as possible. Pressure up in 500 psi increments. Hold
for the prescribed time. Bleed pressure off at both ends of the reel. Reinstate the check
valves in the string the correct way round. (Refer to Figure 22(6)).
Alternatively, after the pipe ram test, bleed off the coiled tubing pressure to 1,000 psi
and monitor the check valves are holding the pressure still inside the BOP body. This is
assuming the string is good for a differential equal to at least the test pressure being
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7. To Reinstate The System
Equalise the pressure in the coiled tubing. Bleed down the pressure from the BOP and
riser to equal the well pressure. Ensure all BOP rams are open. Reduce stripper packer
to required level. It will be necessary to free the coiled tubing from the high force
applied by the stripper during testing. Do this in the upward direction with the injector
NOTE: Ensure that when running coiled tubing into a riser, and the well is closed
in, that a vent is open to prevent pressure build up which could result in
pipe collapse.


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Figure 22 - Pre-job Test Procedures (Continued)
38 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 39
1.6.1 Production Platform Considerations
Specific procedures will vary depending upon the installation but the following are useful
1.6.2 Yellow Alert (Production Shut down)
1. If pumping is in progress, stop and shut down the pumping unit and close valve to
isolate flow line.
2. If a washing or milling operation is in progress the tubing should be lifted above the
worked interval and at least above any perforations (to prevent differential sticking if
well is taking fluid) prior to shutting down the coiled tubing unit and to prevent solids
settling in the annulus.
If time permits pull up the equivalent distance from the BOP to the DHSV. If the
situation deteriorates (e.g. prepare to abandon) then the coiled tubing can be sheared
and dropped so as it falls to below the DHSV which can then be closed.
3. If the coiled tubing end is above the DHSV, the valve should be closed. A decision to
remove this valve from any ESD circuit should have been taken. If the coiled tubing is
below the DHSV close the pipe rams and apply the injector brake on the quad and lock
them. Close the wing valve.
4. Shut down the coiled tubing unit, hand back permits.
1.6.3 Red Shutdown (Muster Stations)
As per yellow shut down steps 1 to 3 but essential personnel to stay with unit.
1.6.4 Prepare To Abandon
1, 2 and 3 as per yellow shut down.
4. If the well is live and a separate shear/seal head is rigged up it can be activated. When
this is done if the coiled tubing was far enough off bottom the Xmas Tree valves can
then be closed.
5. If the well is live and no shear/seal rams are available, the pipe can be sheared using the
quad after the slips are closed. The coiled tubing can then be dropped below the tree
and the tree valves closed. The DHSV can also be closed if possible.
If a situation arises where the coiled tubing cannot be pulled off bottom and the well is live
the only way to shut the well in is by using the blind rams after shearing the tubing. The
remaining coiled tubing must be pulled above the blind rams.
If the well is not live, pull the remainder of the coiled tubing out of the BOP and close the
blind rams. Close the Xmas Tree valves and DHSV.
Shut down the coiled tubing unit.

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1.7.1 Controlling Formation Pressure
Killing a well during coiled tubing operations would normally be done by bullheading. For
example, if coiled tubing collapse occurs. The well can be bullheaded down the coiled tubing,
the annulus or both, depending upon the circumstances. However, there are occasions when a
well will need to be killed by a circulation method. For example, if coiled tubing is actually
being used to perform a kill operation prior to a rig workover. A specific rig up to take returns
via a choke will be required. The responsibility for the kill operation being with the operator.

Figure 23 - Coiled Tubing Circulating Rig Up With Option To Rig Choke
40 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 41

Figure 24 - Internal Pressure Drop Curves
1.7.2 Well Circulation For Solids Removal
Mostly this type of operation is performed to establish communication with an open
completion interval. It is therefore important to balance the fluid pressure used to that of
reservoir pressure to avoid fluid loss or formation damage.
There are a number of factors to be considered:
Fluid type - to control solids carrying ability
Fluid density - to control hydrostatic pressure.
1.7.3 Fluid Type
The compatibility of well fluids and treatment fluids on the well control equipment should be
S or CO

Elastomer seal behaviour
Metal reaction.
There are two types of fluid; compressible and incompressible.
Incompressible fluids can be subdivided into Newtonian and Non-Newtonian.

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Properties of Newtonian and Non-Newtonian fluids
Viscosity Turbulent flow Solids carrying
Newtonian e.g. water,
Low Annulus
AV must be greater than
Non-Newtonian e.g. mud,
High Coiled Tubing
Wash fluids must be capable of transporting solids out of the well. Lack of hole cleaning can
lead to getting stuck and being unable to circulate, thereby compromising our primary means
of well control.
If circulation rates will achieve annular velocities exceeding terminal particle settling velocity
(TPSV), Newtonian fluids are generally adequate. It is important to bear in mind the different
annular capacities when the coiled tubing is washing inside the production tubing or below the
It is common practise to use brine or water and to circulate non-Newtonian viscous pills
periodically to assist in solids removal. With a Newtonian fluid solids will settle out when
circulation is below the TPSV, therefore a gel wash fluid may be considered more desirable.
Hole deviation has a great affect on solids removal. With wells of 45 degrees deviation the
annular velocity should be twice the TPSV. In horizontal wells the ratio should be at least
10:1. TPSV calculations are possible for Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, the latter
being more complex. Computer programmes are made available by service companies at the
planning stage of coiled tubing operations.
Compressible fluids are more difficult to design and use than incompressible fluids. They can
be used on wells with low reservoir pressures or to lift solids when annular velocities will be
too low with liquid fluids. Compressible fluids consist of a single gaseous phase or a liquid and
gaseous phase (nitrogen) as foams. In the annulus the gas fraction of the foam will expand as
it is circulated out of the well. This assists with solids removal but does create higher annular
pressure losses as compared with liquids.
1.7.4 Washing With Nitrogen
In low reservoir pressure wells nitrogen can be used as a wash medium. The solids removal is
entirely dependant on the annular velocity. Stopping pumping will immediately cause solids
settling. Erosion of coiled tubing and surface production equipment is also a concern.
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1.7.5 Washing With Foam
Foam is formed by commingling a liquid phase (treated with surfactants) with nitrogen gas to
create a homogeneous emulsified fluid. Foam can be generated in densities equivalent to 0.35
to 0.057 psi/ft depending on wellbore pressures and temperatures. Foam can most closely be
compared to a non-Newtonian fluid.
The volumetric gas quantity in a foam is known as quality:
= N
Volume / Liquid Volume + N
Volume x 100%
Foams of quality 60 to 85 percent possess some useful properties.
Solids suspension is up to 10 times greater than incompressible fluids
The foam can withstand up to 1,000 psi pressure with minimal fluid loss to the
1.7.6 System Frictional Pressure Losses
The capability of coiled tubing to withstand theoretical maximum internal pressure (based on
API BULLETIN 5C3) is still a topic of discussion because the effects of plastic deformation,
caused by the surface equipment, is not fully understood. A maximum circulating pressure
should be decided upon prior to any job being planned, after discussion with the service
company. As an example one operator chose the following parameters when performing an
under-reaming operation with 1
coiled tubing, 1.91 lbs/ft, 0.109 wall thickness (WT).
Published properties Operating parameters
Tensile strength 39,300 lbs 32,000 lbs
Burst 10,380 psi 3,800 psi
Collapse 7,260 psi 2,500 psi
Friction pressure losses in coiled tubing and coiled tubing/tubing annulus can be predicted
using computer programmes. Annular pressure losses are of the order 10 psi/1,000 ft whereas
internal pressure losses are of the order 100 psi/1,000 ft. These figures are quoted to
demonstrate the difference in order of magnitude; exact figures would vary depending on
individual cases.
Formation fluid can influence a wash programme. If the system becomes underbalanced and
the formation flows, this can help the removal of solids. If a gas well is being worked on,
under balance will lead to a gas influx. Whilst this could also assist with solids removal it is
advisable to be prepared for an increase in return flow rate. Additionally, as the gas expands, it
will displace the wash fluid either at surface or into the reservoir. A large influx of gas into the
annulus will reduce the solids carrying capability. An influx of oil may degrade the foam and
cause the same problem.

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1.7.7 Fluid Density
In a well planned operation the hydrostatic pressure of the wash fluid plus the annular
pressure loss (APL) should balance the reservoir pressure.
As a general guide:
Reservoir Pressure Wash Fluid
0.100 - 0.400 psi/ft Foam
0.434 - 0.465 psi/ft Brine
> 0.465 psi/ft Heavier brine or weighted fluid
1.7.8 Considerations When Unloading A Well
This technique is used to initialise flow during a DST, recommence flow after a workover or
when a well has killed itself due to overbalance from produced fluids after a shutdown. As
with any unloading technique it is important, particularly in unconsolidated formations, not to
shock the formation by unloading too quickly and causing perforation tunnel collapse.
On normally and abnormally pressured wells (> = 0.465 psi/ft) an under balance condition
can be achieved by running in with coiled tubing to a predetermined depth and displacing a
height of fluid to provide the required draw down, whilst maintaining constant BHP by means
of an adjustable choke. The coiled tubing is then pulled out of the well and an equivalent
volume of formation fluid is drawn into the wellbore.
On wells that are sub-normally pressured, and are unable to support a full column of fluid,
nitrogen can be used. The most effective method of nitrogen lifting is to run into the well to
the fluid level and commence circulating nitrogen while slowly running in hole. This allows for
a gradual reduction in the wellbore fluid density causing a controlled flow from the formation.
There are some complex considerations when unloading with nitrogen due to the high
annulus frictional pressure losses that can be induced in certain coiled tubing/tubing
configurations. Basically the smaller the annulus cross sectional area the higher the pressure
loss, which can cause cessation of flow when the coiled tubing is pushed below a certain
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1.8.1 Introduction
Coiled tubing is most likely to fail due to buckling when it encounters an object or catches on
a change in ID. It is therefore important that the coiled tubing unit operator has a copy of the
completion schematic with all IDs clearly indicated and possible hang up points discussed
with the company representative.
1.8.2 Run In And Pull Out Of Hole Procedures
Potentially most coiled tubing operational failures can occur when running coiled tubing in the
hole. The most likely form of failure is due to buckling when the tubing hits some object or
catches on a change of diameter. The potential for buckling is a function of the coiled tubing
wall thickness, diameter, and the size of the tubing or casing that the coiled tubing is being run
into. A full analysis is necessary to determine the minimum weight indicator reading allowable
whilst running in the hole.
Running Speeds
The maximum running speed in hole for normal operation will be 50 feet per
minute (15 m/min). This may be increased for reasons such as PLTs only if the
hole section has been previously traversed to ensure that no restrictions are
The maximum running speed is to be reduced to 10 feet per minute (3 m/min),
when running through restrictions such as sliding side doors, nipples and gas lift
mandrels amongst others. This reduced running speed will be applied for 50 feet
(15 m), before and 50 feet (15 m), after the position of the downhole obstruction
to allow for any discrepancies in the depth readings.
Pulling out of hole speed is not as critical, but will be limited to a maximum of
100 feet per minute (30 m/min). The same speed reductions are to be applied
when pulling through restrictions.
Pulling out of hole speed will be reduced to 10 feet per minute (3 m/min), when
within 100 feet (30 m), of the wellhead or BOP, until the end connector contacts
the stuffing box.
At all times when running in or pulling out of the hole the injector thrust must be
set at the minimum required to move the tubing.

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1.8.3 Running In Hole Procedure
Prior to running in the hole, the coiled tubing supervisor will have the following information
Well bore profile or completion diagram
Deviation profile of well bore
Operating limit predictions
The maximum allowable pressure rating of the tubing and the maximum
allowable pull
Fishing diagram of bottom hole assembly
Details of any wireline drift run prior to coiled tubing operations.
Ensure all wellhead and BOP valves are open via a physical check and commence running in
hole limiting running speeds as outlined above.
Perform pull tests every 1,000 feet (300 metres) or less if circumstances require to ensure that
the pick up weight does not exceed the operating limit. These pull tests should not be done at
exactly 1,000 feet increments, but should be varied so as to prevent fatiguing the coiled tubing
at the same point each time a pull test is performed.
Special Precautions
Control of remote actuated well valves, while coiled tubing is in a well, must be removed from
the automatic shutdown system.
Wellhead valves may either be locked open with fuseable discs or control transferred to a
separate control skid. Sub surface safety valves may be removed and sleeved, sleeved only, or
control transferred to a separate control skid. They should not be held open by locking in
hydraulic control pressure at the wellhead as pressure can bleed off over time and allow the
valve to close.
The wellbore fluid and geometry must always be considered before any coiled tubing
operation. The size of the bottom hole assembly in relation to the completion diameter can
have a significant effect on the running in and pulling out weight. In the case of large bottom
hole assemblies in relatively small tubulars, the annular clearance can be such that significant
pistoning effects can occur which resist the movement of the coiled tubing and can cause
swabbing of the well. High viscosity fluids in the annulus can also cause this effect.
High wellhead pressures cause a significant up thrust on coiled tubing, dependent on the cross
sectional area of the tubing. This means that in high pressure wells the weight indicator will
read negative until sufficient weight of coiled tubing is in the well to overcome the effect of
pressure. In these situations the injector head requires a large amount of hydraulic thrust to
snub the tubing in the well.
The thrust required from the injector reduces as more tubing is in the well and it is important
to reduce the thrust setting on the injector as the tubing is run in the well. This means that in
the event of the tubing hitting an unexpected object (such as hydrate plug), only a minimal
amount of extra thrust will be applied by the injector, reducing the possibility of buckling the
tubing. If at all possible circulate through coiled tubing while run in hole.
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Should buckling occur while running in hole the pipe will form a hinge that will in effect
prevent circulation. If pumping liquid this will be noticed by a rapid increase in circulating
pressure. In many instances of buckling failure the tubing has been folded over repeatedly
before the injector has been stopped, resulting in a difficult fishing operation.
Stripper rubbers have a significant effect on apparent coiled tubing weight and low friction
strippers must be used at all times. Correct lubricating oil should be used as required to reduce
stripper friction further in high pressure dry conditions.
NOTE: Never use diesel.
1.8.4 Stuffing Box/Stripper Failure
The operational life of the stuffing box packings are very dependant on the type of operation
being undertaken. Incorrect stuffing box hydraulic pressure, high wellhead pressures, poor
external surface of the tubing, and corrosive well bore fluids will accelerate the wear process
which may result in the stripper elements failing. (Refer to Figure 25)
In the event of stuffing box failure during coiled tubing operations:
Increase hydraulic pressure to stuffing box in an attempt to stop leak. Normally
operating at 200 psi with large operating margin up to 2,500 psi.
If this proves unsuccessful then:
Stop both pipe movement and circulation
Engage injector brake, close pipe rams
Bleed off pressure above pipe rams
Close lower stripper (if used)
Open (upper) stripper and replace sealing elements. Re-test stripper
Equalise pressure and open pipe rams
Release injector brake
Re-commence operations.

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Figure 25 - Stripper Failure
48 RIG

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1.8.5 Major Riser Assembly Leak
In the event of a major riser assembly leak developing between the Xmas Tree and coiled
tubing BOPs, that cannot be repaired during the coiled tubing operation, the following
procedures should be followed: (Refer to Figure 26 and Figure 27)
If the leak occurs with a short string of coiled tubing in the hole:
1. Pull out of hole to above the Xmas Tree (and shear/seal BOP if used).
2. Close the swab valve on the Xmas Tree.
3. Close hydraulic or manual master valve on the Xmas Tree.
4. Bleed off pressure in riser and repair leak.
5. Pressure test all broken connections and re-commence operations.
If the leak occurs with a long string of coiled tubing in the hole:
1. Pull sufficient coiled tubing out of hole to ensure that the string will drop below the
Xmas Tree master valve when the shear rams (or shear/seal BOPs) are activated.
2. Close shear rams (or shear/seal BOPs) to cut coiled tubing.
3. Close Xmas Tree swab and master valves.
4. Repair leak in riser and pressure test all broken connections.
5. Commence fishing operations.
NOTE: If it is not possible to establish two mechanical barriers below the leak
normally the well will have to be killed before any repairs are commenced.

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Figure 26 - Riser Assembly Leak With Long String Of Coiled Tubing In Hole
50 RIG

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Figure 27 - Riser Assembly Leak With Short String Of Coiled Tubing In Hole

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1.8.6 Pinhole At Surface
If a pinhole leak is observed at surface, coiled tubing operations should be suspended. (Refer
to Figure 28 and Figure 29)
If bottom hole assembly contains check valves:
Monitor coiled tubing pressure and observe leak to ensure check valves are
Pull out of hole to position the leak on the lower part of the reel (be prepared to
deal with containment of any hazardous fluid)
Displace coiled tubing to leak with water if hazardous fluid being used if this is
considered a safer option
Pull out of hole and replace coiled tubing reel.
If valves are not holding or have not been included in bottom hole assembly:
Observe severity of leak and decide whether it is safe to pull out of hole. Factors
such as fluid type and area of dispersion will influence decision.
If leak is too severe to continue pulling out of hole:
Close slip and pipe rams
Operate shear rams to cut pipe
Circulate well to kill fluid through coiled tubing left in well
Retrieve remainder of coiled tubing.
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Figure 28 - Pinhole Leak (1)

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Figure 29 - Pinhole Leak (2)
54 RIG

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1.8.7 Tubing Parted At Surface
In the event that the coiled tubing parts at surface: (Refer to Figure 30 and Figure 31)
Attempt to spool as much coiled tubing back on to the reel to avoid whiplash.
Equally important attempt to run excess coiled tubing through the gooseneck
Stop injector, close slip and pipe rams
If personnel are in danger from fluid release and/or the check valves are not
holding, operate the shear/seal rams and commence well kill operations.
Monitor WHP while contingency plans are reviewed
Kill well and make necessary repairs to coiled tubing
Remove injector and feed coiled tubing back through injector chains
Install fishing spear. (Depending on the tubing stick-up, other methods of
attachment may be more appropriate)
Rig up injector and stab into top of fish, pull test spear then release slips and pull
out of hole.

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Figure 30 - Tubing Parted at Surface Check Valves Holding
56 RIG

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Figure 31 - Tubing Parted At Surface Check Valves Not Holding

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1.8.8 Tubing Parted Downhole
Breakage of the coiled tubing downhole will be indicated by a sudden reduction in weight and
circulating pressure. Thereafter: (Refer to Figure 32)
Continue to maintain circulation with water at all times to prevent migration of
well fluids up the string. Circulation rate to be kept to a minimum
Determine approximate length of coiled tubing remaining from pick-up and
hanging weights
Pull out of the hole slowly until close to surface then begin to cycle tree swab
valve (if possible) every X ft, (where X is less than, or equal to, the riser length), to
determine when the end of the coiled tubing has cleared the xmas tree when end
of coiled tubing is clear of tree stop pulling out of the hole and close tree swab
and master valves
Depressurise riser and continue pulling out of hole
Commence fishing operations.
The leak should appear as a sudden change in pressure which depends on the circumstances,
e.g. if jetting or pumping the coiled tubing pressure will be greater than well pressure and a
leak will appear as a sudden reduction in pump pressure (and an increase in injection rate).
58 RIG

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Figure 32 - Tubing Parted Down Hole

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1.8.9 Internal Coiled Tubing Well Pressure
During most operations well pressure will be prevented from entering the coiled tubing by the
dual check valves. If these fail, the tubing itself becomes perforated, or the BHA is lost, well
fluids will be able to enter the coil. In this situation it will not be possible to depressurise the
coil until the point of leakage is out of the well. If coiled tubing pressure is greater than well
pressure i.e. if jetting or pumping, then the leak may appear as a sudden reduction in pump
In the event of well pressure being present inside the coiled tubing:
Stop pipe movement
Stop circulating for long enough for the pressure to stabilise and perform a
hydrostatic calculation to identify the point of leakage
Displace the reel to water and continue circulating at a low rate to stop migration
of well fluids up the coiled tubing.
It will be difficult to calculate the exact location of the leak and its severity and hence in most
cases it would be advisable to kill the well before attempting to pull out. However if the
wellhead pressure is low it may be possible to take the following action:
Continue pulling out of hole while circulating and observe the injector head for
signs of leakage passing the stuffing box. If the fluid escaping is the fluid being
pumped it may be possible to continue pulling out, after cutting back the
circulating rate to a minimum to reduce the risk of a washout parting the pipe
If the leak is too severe then run back into the well, set the slips, close the pipe
rams, shear the pipe and close the blind rams.
1.8.10 Loss Of Power
In the event of a power pack failure:
Engage injector brake
Close pipe rams and manually lock
Close manual stems on pipe and slip rams as back-up
Apply the reel brake if it is not fail-safe applied
While maintaining circulation (if possible), repair or replace power pack
Equalise pressure across pipe rams and open pipe and slip rams
Release injector brake
Re-commence coiled tubing operations.
60 RIG

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1.8.11 Coiled Tubing Collapse
Coiled tubing can collapse when exposed to higher than design differential pressures. If
collapse occurs, it should be evident from a rapid rise in circulating pressure, or becoming
stuck when trying to pull the collapsed section of tubing through the stuffing box. Should the
pipe become stuck downhole stretch measurements should be made to determine the stuck
point. (Refer to Figure 33)
With a 5,000 lbs over pull, the stretch for each 1,000 ft of coiled tubing is;
6/1,000 ft
5/1,000 ft
NOTE: In this situation, stripping the coiled tubing through the pipe rams is not
an option because if the collapsed section of tubing straddles the BOPs
then they w ll not be able to seal.

Once it has been established that the coiled tubing is stuck in the stuffing box:
Hang off coiled tubing in slips
Kill the well
Install clamps on the coiled tubing
Split the stuffing box and open the slips
Attempt to pull the coiled tubing with the injector head
If the injector head is unable to pull the tubing, break the connection above the
BOP and raise the injector. Connect to block and pull tubing out of hole to
remove collapsed section leaving 4-6 ft of good coiled tubing sticking up for the
Set slips
Re-connect the injector head, splice the coiled tubing, and pull out of hole.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 33 - Coiled Tubing Collapse
62 RIG

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1.8.12 Coiled Tubing Runaway
In both of the following cases the action to be taken will depend on the severity of the
situation. The quickest method, but not necessarily the most satisfactory, would be to close
the shear/seal rams.
Coiled tubing running into well: This is most likely to occur on low THP gas wells where
snubbing forces are lowest and string weight greatest. Runaway tubing can occur because of a
lack of grip between the drive chains and pipe, caused by under gauge tubing or loss of
hydraulic pressure. Once runaway has started it may be difficult to stop, however the
following actions can be taken:
Stop injector head movement and apply more inside tension
Increase stripper pressure to a maximum in an attempt to slow down rate of
As a last option close the slip rams. This will probably lead to pipe breakage but is
the safest option left
Under certain circumstances if the runaway tubing is at a speed above the critical
speed, the back-pressure created by the circulating hydraulic fluid may prevent the
injector motor brakes from actuating. If this situation occurs, select the pull mode
for the injector and increase system hydraulic pressure until the tubing comes to a
Coiled tubing is ejected out of the well: This condition is most likely to occur near surface on
high THP wells where snubbing forces are highest. In this situation:
Increase stuffing box pressure to a maximum
Close slip rams (only effective if slips are double acting).
NOTE: If the tubing is ejected from the well the blind rams must be closed and
injector stopped before coiled tubing passes through the injector chains.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
1.8.13 Stuck Coiled Tubing
When a pull of more than 80% of the yield strength is required to pull the coiled tubing out of
the hole, the pipe is defined as being stuck. Before any more pull force is applied, it is essential
to analyse the problem and take the necessary precautions.
Coiled tubing can get stuck in the following situations:
Solids settling and packing off around pipe caused by pump failure in cleanout
Unexpected increase in friction drag
Obstruction in well
Differential sticking.
How to react in the event of getting stuck:
Try to work the coiled tubing free without exceeding 80% of the yield strength of
the pipe. Be aware of the fact that moving the pipe up and down over the
gooseneck rapidly weakens the pipe. Pumping while working the pipe should be
avoided if possible as this greatly accelerates the fatigue problem. (Check fatigue
cycle log to assess if further cycling is possible). Maintain circulation when not
If stuck due to drag, circulate a pill of slick fluid to reduce the friction between the
pipe and tubing/casing wall
Rapidly bleed off annulus pressure (if possible) while pulling on the pipe. This
may cause sufficient backflow to dislodge debris
Try to increase the buoyancy by pumping heavier fluid into the annulus and
displacing the coiled tubing to nitrogen. Be aware of the risk of collapse.
Release the BHA by using ball operated shear sub if circulation is possible.
If it does not prove possible to get free using any of the above methods then:
Determine the stuck point by pull tests
Hang off the coiled tubing in the slip rams
Kill the well
Cut the coiled tubing at surface
Run chemical cutter* and cut pipe above free point
Fish for remainder of coiled tubing as necessary.
* Chemical cutters are run on electric line and can be used to cut tubing down to 1 OD
(cutters are available down to an OD of 0.688). The cut is flare free, burr free, and
undistorted and hence provides a good profile for fishing. When making the cut the coiled
tubing pressure should be slightly overbalanced to avoid the cutter being blown up the well.
64 RIG

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1.8.14 Well Shrinkage
It is likely that as workover fluids are introduced into a well that has been on production that
some shrinkage will occur due to the cooling effect of the workover fluid. This can put the
surface support frame into unacceptable compression. Frames have buckled in the past due to
Allowance has to be made for this possibility. Support frames are available with hydraulic feet
that can be adjusted if shrinkage occurs. (Refer to Figure 34)

Figure 34 - Well Shrinkage

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
A north sea gas injection well was being worked over with a coiled tubing unit when a small,
uncontrolled gas leak to atmosphere occurred. The gas leak was brought under control by
activating the BOPs, however, attempts to kill the well from the top were unsuccessful and
because of a complex tubing fish, the well was both time consuming and costly to secure.

Figure 35 - Case History Coiled Tubing Rig Up
66 RIG

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1.9.1 Riser And BOP Rig Up
The primary barrier was the quad (upper) BOP and the secondary barrier was the shear/seal
(lower) BOP with independent control systems. (Refer to Figure 35)
1.9.2 Operational Summary
A tubing end locator on 1.25 coiled tubing was being run into the well, to determine the
depth of a cement plug, while seawater was being pumped at a rate of 6 l/min. At an
odometer depth of 290 m the injector head stalled.
The operator, assuming that he was actually at 290 m, pulled out 3.5 m to ensure he was not
stuck downhole. During these operations the pump pressure was fluctuating which could have
been an indication of the coiled tubing breaking. Upon determining that the coiled tubing was
not stuck the operator increased the hydraulic pressure to the injector and attempted to run
past the assumed blockage. The injector head once again stalled at an odometer reading of
290m and at this time a gas leak was observed around the coiled tubing stuffing box. The
operator attempted to pull the tubing slowly out of the well to obtain a better seal between the
coiled tubing and the stuffing box and increased the hydraulic pressure to the stuffing box.
These actions did not decrease the leak.
The operator in conjunction with the drilling supervisor decided to close the slip and tubing
rams in the upper set of BOPs, which reduced, but did not stop the leak. The tubing and slip
rams were opened to attempt to pull out of the hole, however after pulling about one meter
the gas leak became stronger, and further attempts to control the leak using the pipe rams
were unsuccessful.
It was decided to cut the coiled tubing using the shear rams of the upper BOP, pull out of the
stuffing box and close the blind rams, which stopped the leak. The lower Shear rams were
closed as an additional barrier.
To establish the status of the Xmas Tree, closing of the swab valve was attempted and at 114
turns of a required 188 turns the gate valve met resistance. Subsequent X-rays of the riser
revealed that the coiled tubing had been packed into the cross sectional area of the riser,
which was later confirmed when the riser was rigged down and six strings of coiled tubing
were found in place. The coiled tubing operator believing he was at 290 m was never deeper
than 112 m.
Due to unsuccessful attempts to bullhead and lubricate the well dead, it was decided to freeze
the crossover between the Xmas Tree and the lower BOP. The riser was removed and a gate
valve installed and tested. The remainder of the coiled tubing was then fished successfully with
a snubbing unit.
1.9.3 Conclusions And Recommendations
The gas leak could have been avoided if the hydraulic pressure to the injector head motors
had been limited to less than that required to break the coiled tubing, or if better
instrumentation in the control unit had helped the operator to realise that an obstruction had
been encountered and the coiled tubing was breaking.
Indications of possible coiled tubing failure should have been identified from the fluctuating
pump pressures, however, probably due to inexperience on the part of the operator these were
not picked up on at the time.

68 RIG 2002 Rev 1


1.7.4 Surface Lines and Manifolds 39
2002 Rev 1 i
1.3 THE RIG UP 5
1.5.1 Hydraulic Jack 10
1.5.2 Guide Tubes 10
1.5.3 Slips 14
1.6.1 Stripper Bowl 16
1.6.2 Annular BOP 18
1.6.3 Stripping BOPs 20
1.6.4 Ram Type BOPs 20
1.6.5 Shear and Seal BOPs 24
1.6.6 Containment Devices in the Workstring 26
1.7.1 Scope 31
1.7.2 General Information 31
1.7.3 Procedure 31
1.7.5 BOP Control Skid 39
1.8.1 Pre Job Checks and Safety Procedures 39
1.8.2 Opening the Well 41
1.8.3 Crossing the Balance Point 41
1.8.4 Pulling Out of Hole With String 42
1.8.5 Emergency Response Procedures 42
1.8.6 Gas Wells 43
1.8.7 Combined Wireline/Snubbing Operations 44
1.9.1 BOP Sealing Element Leak 45
1.9.2 Check Valve Failure 46
1.9.3 Tubing Pinhole 46
1.9.4 Changing the Stripper Rubber 47
1.9.5 Loss of Power 47


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ii RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 1
Snubbing is performed by introducing an internally plugged pipe into a live well using BOPs
to obtain an external seal around the pipe. The pipe is filled with fluid while running in to
prevent collapse. The top of the pipe is run open.
Snubbing is used for a variety of operations when it is not desired, or possible, to kill the well,
Pulling and running completion strings
Running concentric completions inside existing production strings (sometimes
called insert strings or velocity strings)
Milling and washing below production tailpipe
Through tubing gravel packs
Cleaning out proppants after frac jobs
Fishing stuck or lost tools, ball valves, coiled tubing, etc.
Spotting and pumping acid and cement
Cleaning out obstructions inside tubing, casing, drill pipe and DST strings
Well control problems on drilling and workover operations
Well abandonment
Perforating and re-perforating - particularly using very long TCP guns
Running and pulling wireline and other mechanical tools - particularly in highly
deviated wells
Wells that cannot be killed because of heavy cross flow between zones or other
downhole problems that cause inability to hold a full column of fluid
Low pressure wells that require a kill fluid weight below that of sea water. These
are usually gas wells
Underground gas storage caverns (such as Immingham and in Eastern Germany).
These manmade holes in the ground full of gas cannot be killed.
Snubbing operations use the BOPs either singly or in pairs for primary well control depending
on the wellhead pressure, well conditions, pipe used and nature of work being undertaken.
On very high pressure wells, provision may be made for backup BOPs and they may be
initially provided for each size of pipe if a tapered workstring is to be used. This can lead to
large numbers of BOPs, up to perhaps 10, being used.
Snubbing unit configurations are very flexible and are tailored to the individual requirements
of each job.
Since the snubbing unit jack is positioned above all the pressure containment devices, the
BOPs must be rated for the particular task to be undertaken (5,000 psi, 10,000 psi, 15,000 psi
etc.). Of the 60 or so snubbing units outside of North America nearly all are different in size
and make etc., and there is no such thing as a standard unit.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 1 - Typical Hydraulic Workover Layout (foot print)

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 3
1.1.1 Rig Assist Unit (Mechanical)
The first snubbing unit was designed in the 1920s by Mr H Otis to enable a drilling rig to snub
pipe under pressure into a well. This unit is described as a mechanical or rig assist unit. (Refer
to Figure 2)
The rig assist units is rigged up on the rig floor and is only used in the pipe light mode. When
sufficient pipe weight is achieved, the rig assist unit would be rigged down and further
snubbing operations are continued with the rig stripping the rest of the pipe into the well.
The rig assist unit is operated by 2 cables attached to the travelling block of the hoist drilling
rig with each end of the cables passing around the pulleys on the base platform (or rig) of the
unit and being attached to the travelling snubbers (Slips).
The travelling snubbers are kept in position by re-positioning cables that pass around sheaves
attached to the derrick structure and which have counter weights attached to them. These
weights are sufficient to hold the travelling snubbers aloft and to maintain tension on the main
snub cables.
1.1.2 Rig Assist Unit (Hydraulic)
Recently hydraulic rig assist units have been built to enable rigs to trip pipe whilst under
balanced drilling. Unlike a remotely operated short stroke unit , they are installed below the rig
floor on top of the rigs BOP stack.
They are only used for the first or last few strands of drill pipe when the up ward force from
the well pressure is grater then the downward force from the pipe weight (pipe light mode)

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 2 - Rig Assist Rig Up

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HWO operations are undertaken for a variety of reasons, including:
Remote locations where a conventional derrick is impossible to obtain, expensive
or difficult to rig up or transport
Offshore platforms where there is no derrick.
HWO operations can include:
Full workovers
Clean out, squeeze-off, re-perforating, deepening etc., in the production zone
Running or pulling ESP completions and control lines which cannot be done on a
live well as the closure of any BOPs would damage them.
HWO operations are conducted in the same manner as snubbing operations although fewer
BOPs are used with primary well control being the kill fluid or mechanical plugging of the
In all operational aspects, the snubbing unit performing HWO operations is a portable
workover rig and normal well control procedures apply.
A typical rig up would only include:
Blind/shear rams
Pipe rams
Annular BOP.
HWO/Snubbing units are rigged up directly onto the Xmas Tree for through tubing work, or
onto the wellhead, after removal of the Xmas Tree, if completion components are to be pulled
or run. They are rigged up on drill pipe if required for washing out.
The equipment is rigged up as individual lifts or sub assemblies and directly nippled up onto
the tree/wellhead or previous component. The normal maximum lift is of the order of 6
tonnes for a larger jack and does not usually cause problems. If a very tall rig up is required
due to the number of BOPs in use, there are occasionally problems with the maximum reach
of a platform crane. Where this is the case, it is sometimes necessary to take a portable rig up
crane with the unit although this adds to the rig up time and costs.
All the equipment is transported in baskets or on skids and it is true that a full short stroke
unit, including all its auxiliary components, for North Sea use can occupy fully the deck of a
supply ship. Once rigged up, however, most of the equipment is on the well and the transport
baskets can be back loaded for storage. As the rig up progresses, it is a requirement in the
North Sea to build scaffolding around the BOPs and window/jack for access. This is always
done for one off jobs but if it is planned to undertake a multi well campaign, it can often be
cost effective to have built transport frames around the BOPs which also act as scaffolding
after rig up. Similarly, the window and jack can be equipped with frames which bolt on around
them and which act as platforms for an individual platform. The design of the individual
frames is dependant upon rig up heights and platform layout. There is no reason why a short
stroke unit cannot be rigged up inside the derrick of a drilling rig. (Refer to Figure 3)

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1

Figure 3 - HWO/Snubbing Unit Rig Up

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 7
Hydraulic Workover (HWO) is performed using the equipment in a workover function on a
dead or plugged well. For this reason, primary well control is by means of a kill fluid and
normal rig BOP stacks and procedures are utilised. A spool piece would be inserted just above
the BOPs for connection of a hole-filling pump and to a trip tank and normal tripping well
control procedures would be followed.
A typical scenario may be as follows:
The unit is rigged up on a derrick less and facility less platform in the North Sea. It is required
to change out the completion due to a leaking tubing retrievable SCSSV.
After the removal of the Xmas Tree, the unit has been rigged up on the top of the well head
with 1 shear/blind ram, 1 pipe ram and 1 annular BOP.
A full set of mixing/pumping/circulating equipment has been taken off shore and rigged up.
Well control has to be achieved in two areas:
Tree removal
Whilst pulling the completion.
In order to remove the Xmas Tree, it is normal practise to have two mechanical barriers (i.e.
plugs) and one fluid barrier (i.e. kill fluid or pill) in the well. This is no different to any
conventional workover rig. While pulling the completion the plugs will have been removed
and well control will rely on the kill fluid.
The BOPs remain as a precaution for external pipe sealing should the well kick (i.e. if well is
swabbed), as does the TIW valve or inside BOP for the pipe. The BOPs are controlled from
the work basket with a duplicate set on the BOP skid which is normally situated close to an
escape route.
Very often when working as an HWO unit, the stripping rams and stripper bowl will not be
rigged up or used and so the option of snubbing, should the well kick, is not available.
Snubbing is performed on a live well and uses BOPs and other mechanical devices as its
means of well control. In this respect, the principles are exactly the same as with coiled tubing.
A typical scenario might be as follows:
The unit is rigged up on a large offshore platform beside a derrick doing a normal workover.
It is required to wash out scale in the perforations and rat hole. The SIWHP prior to the well
scaling up was 2,850 psi.
The unit has been rigged up on top of the Xmas Tree with, from bottom to top, 1 shear/blind
ram, 1 pipe ram, 2 stripping rams, 1 annular BOP and a single element stripper bowl. The riser
between the Xmas Tree and the BOPs is long enough to accommodate the BHA of the
mill/under reamer/mud motors and BPVs.
The choke and kill lines are connected to the rig circulating system and cement pump via a
choke manifold.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1
A stand alone high pressure, high volume skid mounted triplex pump may be included as part
of the rig up and would be used for the following purposes:
Standby for well kill operations
Work string fill up
Conducting work string pumping operations
Pressure testing the pressure control equipment
Circulating hydrocarbons out of the work sting before rigging down
Pumping sand wash fluids during a sand cleanout operations
Being a live well job, well control will be maintained by means of the BOPs at all times.
Whilst running in with the clean out string, the wellhead pressure is sufficiently low to enable
the stripper bowl to be used. The two BPVs in the workstring prevent flow back up through
the tubing.
Once below the tail pipe, the rig cement pump is used to circulate down the tubing, under
reaming down with returns to the rig choke and de-gassers. Well control is initially achieved
by use of the annular BOP and stripper bowl with the stripping BOPs and stripper rubber
being used when the rat hole is reached.
Having finished washing out, it is discovered that the BPVs are both leaking so the pump
down plug is dropped and seated. With full wellhead pressure restored, the pipe is pulled using
the stripper rams for well control.
The BOPs are controlled from 3 locations:
The work basket
From the BOP skid
From a remote panel situated near by
Although in conventional well control terms, a drilling rig uses the kill fluid as its primary well
control, the descriptions during live well work applying equally to wireline and coiled tubing
are slightly different.
In live well terminology, we speak of containment devices which are split into primary,
secondary and tertiary well control devices. A containment device becomes a barrier when it
has been operated/closed. (Refer to Figure 4)
Primary well control containment devices/barriers are those used in the minute by minute
performance of the work such as stripper rubbers, annular preventers (bags, spherical, hydrils,
etc.), stripping Rams.
Secondary well control containment devices/barriers are those used back ups to the primary
devices such as pipe rams, variable rams, blind rams, shear rams and blind/shear rams.
Tertiary well control containment devices/barriers are those used solely in an emergency such
as safety heads placed immediately above the Xmas Tree/wellhead, consisting of hydraulically
boosted blind/shear rams capable of cutting large strings of pipe with braided line inside. Also
called shear/seal rams.

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 9

Figure 4 - Well Containment Devices

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1.5.1 Hydraulic Jack
The jack is the assembly of hydraulic cylinders and slip bowls which enables the pipe to me
moved in or out of the well. Situated at the top of the rig up, with the work basket attached to
the top of it, it has the work stations for the crew. Attached to it are the arm for the power
tongs, the gin pole and the counterbalance winch. On the top of the cylinders is the travelling
head which carries two slip bowls and the rotary. By means of valves, the hydraulic circuits
can be set up to provide different speeds and hence powers for the travelling head. The
hydraulic fluid can be directed into all 4 cylinders or optionally into 2 of the cylinders. On
some units it is possible to select which two opposing legs whereas on others, there is no
choice. This is called 4 leg and 2 leg operation. It is also possible to select whether the
hydraulic fluid being returned from the un-pressurised side of the cylinders is directed back to
the tank or added to the fluid going to do the work in the pressurised side. This is called
regeneration and is equivalent to high and low gearing. (Refer to Figure 5)
There are thus 4 operating modes:
2 leg high (with regeneration) Fastest but lowest power
2 leg low
4 leg high (with regeneration)
4 leg low Slowest with highest power
It is normal to start the job in 2 leg high and, as the pipe weight increases, change into the
other modes as required. It is a very simple job of turning a valve or two in the work basket to
change from one mode to another.
The stroke of a jack depends on the make, but most in the North Sea have a 10 ft working
1.5.2 Guide Tubes
The higher the well pressure, the greater the force pushing up on a given piece of pipe being
snubbed into or out of the well. Since the pipe coming up through the window and the jack is
only restrained at a distance from the stripper bowl, there is a problem with potential buckling
of the pipe which would bend the pipe out of the side of the window or jack. For this reason,
in higher pressure wells, guide tubes are placed in the window and in the jack. These restrain
the pipe and stop it being buckled out of the side. The guide tubes can be easily inserted or
removed and the one through the jack is in two pieces. One piece is sitting in the jack, hanging
from a level with the top of the legs, and the other (inner) piece is hanging from the travelling
head and sliding up and down in the lower section. (Refer to Figure 7)
10 RIG

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Figure 5 - Multi Cylinder Jack Assembly

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Figure 6 - Short Stroke
12 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 13

Figure 7 - Spline Tube And Snubbing Guide Tube Assembly

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1.5.3 Slips
Travelling slips are attached to the travelling head and consist of one bowl for pipe heavy and
one bowl for pipe light. Almost always hydraulically operated, the two bowls are the same with
the pipe light bowl facing down. Similarly, the stationary slips are attached near the bottom of
the jack, but do not move. In high pressure wells, it is normal to use an extra set of stationary
snubbers for safety. (Refer to Figure 8 and Figure 9)

Figure 8 - Travelling Slip Bowl Assembly (
ins bore)
14 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 15

Figure 9 - Slip Operating Sequence (light pipe running in)

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1.6.1 Stripper Bowl
The stripper assembly is a special device which is used for the following:
Primary well control with low wellhead pressure work
Pipe cleaning on pulling out
Prevents dropping of debris down the wellbore whilst tripping.
Stripper bowls are available with both single elements and dual elements. They are rated to an
absolute maximum of 3,000 psi. although in practice one would not rely on the stripper
rubber as the primary well containment device above 2,500 psi. wellhead pressure.
The use of the stripper bowl allows for the continuous handling of pipe with a tapered upset
or no upset. It is normal to change the stripper rubber(s) during a job. Wear on the rubbers is
affected by:
Wellhead pressure
Lubrication at the rubber
External pipe roughness.
In the dual element stripper, pressure equal to half the wellhead pressure is kept between the
rubbers by a small pump and reservoir. This is to halve the pressure on each rubber and thus
keep within its working range. The single element stripper bowl is effectively half of a dual
stripper bowl. More recent snubbing units, particularly in the North Sea, tend to have single
element stripper bowls. Each snubbing unit has a stripper bowl of whichever kind and cost
does not usually dictate changing it. (Refer to Figure 11)
16 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 17

Figure 10 - Stripper Bowl

Figure 11 - Dual Stripper Bowl

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1.6.2 Annular BOP
The annular BOP is identical to a standard BOP used in drilling operations although normally
of a smaller size. A typical BOP would be a Shaffer or Cameron 11 10k or 7
10k. The
pressure rating is specified according to the wellhead pressure. (Refer to Figure 12)
The annular BOP is used when the normal ram type BOPs cannot seal around something due
to its enlarged size, such as a side pocket mandrel, blast joint, slip joint, etc. Figure 13 shows a
Cameron DL annular preventer.

Figure 12 - Annular BOP
18 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 19

Figure 13 - Cameron DL Annular Preventer

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1.6.3 Stripping BOPs
Stripping BOPs are standard ram type BOPs as used in drilling operations with special
elements to enable them to seal on moving pipe. (Refer to Figure 14)
These BOPs are used as the primary well control when the wellhead pressure is greater than
the stripper bowl can handle alone i.e. above 2,500 psi.
The pressure rating and size are determined by the wellhead pressure and work to be
undertaken. They are always used in pairs to enable a tool joint to be worked through while
still retaining a seal around the pipe.
They are always furnished with an equalising loop, with hydraulically operated valves
controlled from the BOP console in the workbasket, and connected immediately below each
BOP. A bleed off line, with similar control valves, is connected between the two BOPs. (Refer
to Figure 15)
It is normal practise to have to change the inner seals with their inserts during the course of
the operation.
The life of the inserts is affected by:
Pipe external condition
Well pressure
Speed of running of the pipe.
It is normal practise when using stripping rams to also use a stripper bowl. This is to provide:
Barrier for egress of hydrocarbons
Pipe wiper
Debris barrier.
The spool between the two BOPs must be of sufficient length to allow the pipe to be pulled
slowly through the BOPs whilst sequentially opening and closing them. It is traditionally 4 to
6ft long. The spool and equalising loop are of a fixed size on any particular unit and pipe
pulling speed is reduced while the tool joint passes through the BOPs. It is not necessary
however to stop pulling for this operation.
The operation of the two BOPs is carried out in reverse order when pulling out of the hole.
Figure 16 shows the stripping sequence while running in the hole
1.6.4 Ram Type BOPs
These are normal drilling type BOPs and are used as pipe rams or as blind, shear or
blind/shear rams.
It is normal practise to have one BOP in the stack dressed for each size of pipe in use since
there is no way to redress the rams during the job. Often called the safety BOPs, they are
normally only used when changing elements in the stripping rams, annular or stripper bowl, or
when the pipe is stationary for a period of time. BOPs can be dressed with slip rams or
variable bore rams as per job requirements.
20 RIG

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Figure 14 - Stripping Ram Seals

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Figure 15 - Pressure Control Stack Up
22 RIG

TRAIN 2002 Rev 1 23

Figure 16 - Stripping BOP Sequence When Running In

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1.6.5 Shear and Seal BOPs
Now mainly replacing separate blind and shear rams, these are very often hydraulically
boosted BOPs to enable them to cut anything that may be in the well (workstring with fish
etc.) and then seal off the well bore. These BOPs are placed immediately above the wellhead
but below any riser on offshore installations for some regulatory bodies. (Refer to Figure 17)
Where separate blind and shear rams are used, the choice of which to place below which is
often dictated by well conditions or operator preference. For most snubbing jobs the shear is
commonly placed below the blind since the pipe may very well be trying to push out of the
well bore at the time it is required to be cut.
Conventional shear rams may not always cut the workstring completely (for example if it is
required to cut a BHA with a fish inside) and it may be necessary to RIH one or two joints
before operating normal shear rams in this case.
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Figure 17 - Shear Seal Rams

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1.6.6 Containment Devices in the Workstring
There are two main types which are commonly used:
Check valves
Pump down plug and landing nipple.
Check valve - Since the pipe is open at all times to surface, two check valves or back pressure
valves are always placed at the bottom of the string, above the BHA. They allow fluid to be
pumped down the string but inhibit flow up the pipe. (Refer to Figure 18) Both ball and seat
check valves and flapper valves are used.
Since the flow area through these valves is fairly small, if there is any scale in the tubing it is
quite easy for debris to plug them off. Two operations should be performed to minimise the
risk of this happening:
Tubing is to be inspected and rattled immediately prior to going offshore
When filling up the string the valves are pumped through for a barrel or two. This
is to ensure they are still open and to clear out any build up of debris.
Pump down plug and landing nipple - In jobs involving large amounts of pumping it is not
uncommon for both the back pressure valves (BPVs) to be washed out. A small but normal
completion type landing nipple is always placed above the BPVs so that in the event of a
leakage through the BPVs, a plug can be pumped and seated in the nipple prior to pulling out
with the pipe. The pulling of a wet string is a favourite time for snubbers although it is normal
to pump the pipe full of water prior to pumping the plug so as to minimise pollution from
hydrocarbons or corrosive brines. (Refer to Figure 19)
A very wide variety of BHA devices can be used as a means of internal primary well control
Pump out plugs or pump out BPVs
Sliding side doors or sliding sleeves coupled with positive plugs. This is mostly to
allow reverse circulation.
As well as these items on the bottom of the string, there are always available in the work
basket safety valves (TIW stab in valves) and/or inside BOPs which can be used in the event
of a tubing/BHA break or leak in the tubing string. An example of a stab-in valve is shown in
Figure 20, and examples of BPV bottom hole configurations used for inside pressure control
are show in Figure 21
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Figure 18 - Check Valves

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Figure 19 - Pump Down Plug And Nipple
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Figure 20 - Stab In Valve (Fully Opening Safety Valve)

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Tertiary well control is provided by shear/seal bop system, primary and secondary inside well
control is shown below:

Figure 21 - Inside Well Control
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1.7.1 Scope
Blow out preventers are pressure containing, hydraulically controlled, wellhead equipment.
When used with snubbing units, they are also a primary structural component of the unit.
1.7.2 General Information
The primary function of BOPs is to contain well pressure. BOPs are essential in well servicing
applications to allow movement of pipe in and out of the well under, sealing off of the
wellbore, and controlling flow of wellbore gases and fluids. BOP rams may be set up as blinds
(to seal the wellbore) safeties (to maintain seal around the pipe), strippers (to permit
movement of the pipe through the rams while sealing), cutters (to cut the pipe), or slip rams
(to hold the pipe).
A minimum, of three BOPs are usually rigged up. When the well pressure exceeds 3,000 psi
(or the working pressure of the stripper bowl) or when running collared pipe and a stripper
rubber cannot be used, it then becomes necessary to strip the pipe through the BOPs. The
quantity of BOPs and valve arrangements will depend on well conditions, pressures,
workstring configuration, and service operations. While most major oil companies have their
own arrangement for various conditions, it is the supervisors responsibility to determine if the
arrangement is satisfactory and to point out ways to improve it.
1.7.3 Procedure
The wellhead must have a minimum of two functional master valves, two blind
BOPs or a combination of both. (Exception - dead well workover)
A minimum of three BOPs will be rigged up on all snubbing jobs (Exception -
dead well workovers)
The BOP working pressure rating must be at least 20% higher than the maximum
anticipated shut in well pressure or rated at or above the working pressure rating
of the wellhead equipment
For well pressure of 0 to 3,000 psi and one pipe size, the minimum required BOP
stack containing three preventors (Refer to Figure 22). Additional equipment
maybe required depending on job conditions. Threaded connections up to 2 are
acceptable on valves, loops or outlets
When running more than one pipe size, at least one safety ram will be included in
the stack below the strippers for each different size pipe being used. (Refer to
Figure 23) Additional safeties may be required for higher pressure
For well pressures of 3,000 to 5,000 psi an additional safety ram will be included
in the BOPs stack for each pipe size. (Refer to Figure 24) Threaded connections
up to 2 are acceptable on the valves, loops or outlets. Additional equipment may
be required depending on job conditions
For well pressures of 5,000 to 10,000 psi a minimum of six preventors including
two strippers, two safeties, blinds and cutters with double valves will be used as
per Figure 25. No threaded connections are permitted. Additional equipment may
be required depending on job on job conditions

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For well pressures over 10,000 psi and for one pipe size, a minimum of seven
preventors (Refer to Figure 26). No threaded connections are permitted.
Additional equipment may be required depending on job conditions
When well pressures exceed 3,000 psi a doubled valve drilling cross should be
used for return and surface kill operations. This may prevent BOP damage and
potentially hazardous situations
Use a double valve cross for returns when the pressure exceeds 3,000 psi line pipe
connections on wellhead equipment are not permitted when well pressures exceed
3,000 psi
When well pressure exceeds 3,000 psi a minimum of one set of BOPs for each
pipe size will be rigged up below the return
A choke bean or choke nipple will be used in the equalising loop and bleed-off
New ring gaskets will be used whenever flanging up BOP connections
All flanges must be made up using B-7 studs and 2-H nuts
The opening of hydraulically controlled valves located on the return cross and
exposed to pressure differentials should be avoided. Equalising pressure across
valves prior to opening is preferred to avoid pressure cutting. Inside valves should
only be operated to repair downstream components
When shutting down at night with pipe in the hole, shut and lock a minimum of
two BOPs. The bottom safety BOP should only be closed when needed for BOP
repairs or in emergencies.
All side outlets on bottom safety BOPs must be blind flanged
S certified equipment must be used when working on any well that contains
S as per NACE MR-01-75. It is the supervisors responsibility to make sure all
valves and BOP parts are H
S certified.
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Figure 22 - Standard 4
10,000 BOP Snubbing Stack For 0 - 3,000 psi

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Figure 23 - Standard 4
10,000 BOP Snubbing Stack For 0 - 3,000 psi And A Tapered String
Of 1 And 1
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Figure 24 - Minimum Snubbing Stack For 3,000 - 5,000 psi

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Figure 25 - Minimum BOP Stack For 5,000 - 10,000 psi
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Figure 26 - Minimum BOP Stack For Pressure Over 10,000 psi

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Figure 27 Illustrates the recommended slip/BOP hydraulic circuits for operating up to four
casing/tubing BOPs from the basket (work platform) and additional casing base BOPS
console. Console Accumulators combined with auxiliary accumulators must be of sufficient
capacity to comply with requirements stated within the recommended practice.

Figure 27 - Recommended Hydraulic Circuits With Accumulators
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1.8.1 Surface Lines and Manifolds
The requirements for pumping and circulating facilities are different for each job, but all
operations require some form of pump.
Required facilities can vary from:
A complete mixing and killing facility on an offshore satellite with a large choke
A hook up on an offshore platform direct to the existing facilities
A remote land job requiring basic pressure testing and pumping facilities only.
Normal hook-ups to the stack are choke, kill and bleed off lines. On all these lines, main
pressure control is via hydraulically operated valves, controlled from the workbasket, with a
manual valve as a backup to each. In principal this is as per normal drilling practise.
On some dead well operations a trip tank and fill up line connections would be made to the
top of the stack below the window for use while tripping.
1.8.2 BOP Control Skid
All North Sea HWO/snubbing units have a BOP control skid separate from the main power
pack. All BOP skids derive their primary power supply from the power pack and have a
separate air or electric power supply as a back up. Basic controls are provided in the
workbasket for most or all of the BOP functions. Some units do not have the shear/seal
control in the basket. A duplicate set of controls is provided at the BOP control skid although
this does not always include the stripper rams. On some jobs, notably where the unit is rigged
up alongside a drilling rig offshore, the operator has asked for a third panel controlling only
the secondary and tertiary controls to be placed beside the rigs panel at an escape route.
Due to the comparative complexity of the equipment and the requirement for an in depth
knowledge of the operation of the equipment on a live well, it is normal practise to have a
snubbing supervisor (the equivalent of a pusher) on each snubbing crew.
It is his responsibility to ensure the safe and correct procedures are followed at all times and
particularly when using stripping BOPs, crossing the balance point, etc.
In all the following cases it is assumed that snubbing or live well work is being considered.
1.9.1 Pre Job Checks and Safety Procedures
In general, there are no items of a snubbing unit which require special procedures prior to
sending offshore. The normal requirements of modern certification levels and maintenance
standards, as found in the North Sea, should ensure that the equipment is in first class order
to undertake the task required. In more remote areas of the world, certification and
maintenance standards should be checked more closely.

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After the unit is rigged up on the well, all features are function tested. The stack is then tested
inclusive of all connections, lines, valves and manifolds. To test the rams it is necessary to pick
up one or more joints of pipe and run them into the stack so that the BOPs etc. can be tested.
These joints will have to be plugged either at the top, or bottom, and must be restrained from
being pumped back out of the well.
Before commencing a job, it is important that the following have all been checked:
There are sufficient spares for the job
i.e. Stripper rubbers, slip dies, BPV spares, BOP seals and elements, pump down
plug seals
The stabbing or TIW valves are in the work basket
The unit is rigged up vertically
The guy wires have equal and sufficient tension
Tubulars are clean and free of scale - inside and out
All snubbing unit functions operate correctly
All BOPs and valves operate correctly
BOP accumulator skid remote controls operate correctly
Power pack functions correctly
A plan has been formulated and understood by all to cover shutdowns and
For the rig up, a typical pressure test sequence might be as follows:
Surface lines and manifolds
Inner (manual) and outer (hydraulic) valves at stack connections
Shear/seal BOP and riser
After picking up a joint (or 2) of pipe with BPV on bottom, lower pipe ram (this
also tests BPVs)
Upper pipe ram
Lower stripping ram
Upper stripping ram
Equalising loop and valves (hydraulic and manual)
Stripper bowl
TIW and stabbing valves, etc.
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1.9.2 Opening the Well
Introducing the tool string into the wellhead is one of the most delicate phases of a snubbing
operation. It is at this time that the string is at its lightest and hence the upward force trying to
eject or buckle the pipe is at its greatest.
Great care must be taken to ensure that the inverted, or snubbing, slips have taken a proper
bite on the pipe, with the use of a clamp or dog collar below the slips often required.
It is remarkable how far 1 or 2 joints of 1
tubing and a few BPVs etc. can fly when they
are not properly set in the slips!
When introducing the pipe into the well, the stripper rubber is first inserted and secured. The
BHA is then made up onto the first joint and pushed through the rubber. The ram(s) can then
be closed and the well opened up after equalising across that which is closed.
It is normal practise to use one stripping BOP or the annular to centralise the BHA and stop it
hanging up in the stack and tree.
1.9.3 Crossing the Balance Point
In theory, this is a single point but due to friction both downhole and in the stack, this phase
can last for several hundred feet. The technique used is such that as the pipe gets close to the
balance point, by filling with fluid, it can be made rapidly heavier and thus pass through the
balance point.
During this phase it is very difficult to get the slips to bite on the pipe as the pipe appears to
have no weight. The use of two stationary slips together (regular and inverted) or the use of
two travelling slips together is to be avoided as this can lead to jamming of the pipe in the
There are various methods of shortening and helping the balance point transition, but no
matter what is done there will nearly always be a few tricky joints.
Pipe is usually filled (to prevent collapse) depending on well and pipe conditions and the
procedure for crossing the balance point running in is:
At first sight of reaching balance point, stop
Keep pipe hanging in travelling snubbers
Close stationary heavies
Fill pipe
Assuming pipe has now crossed balance point, change travelling snubbers to
regular slips and continue running in hole.
In rare cases this will not have been enough to cross the balance point completely, in which
case either:
Flow the well to reduce CITB
Slug the pipe with a heavy fluid
Continue running in hole using dog collars.

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During pulling out the pipe is full of fluid and since it is not possible to empty the pipe to
reduce its weight, the well pressure can be acted upon. Either:
Flow the well to increase the length of the heavy pipe phase and then shut in
again. The balance point will have been passed
If conditions permit, a slug of heavy fluid can be circulated round the outside of
the string to reduce CITB.
In some circumstances, usually caused by pressure changes in the well, it may be found that
once the balance point has been crossed it is found again after a few more joints and then
finally for the third time. Each time the same procedures are adopted.
1.9.4 Pulling Out of Hole With String
It is important that as the last few joints being pulled are reached, there is an indicator in the
tool string to warn the crew that the bottom of the string is approaching.
This is usually achieved by spacing out the landing nipple with a joint of pipe between it and
the BPVs so that when the nipple is at the work basket the master valve or blind ram can be
closed and the stack de pressurised.
If a very long BHA has been run or a fish has been caught, the landing nipple might be
directly on top of the top BPV.
1.9.5 Emergency Response Procedures
Job Suspension
On some jobs, only 12 hour operations are planned and the routine at night is usually as
Install closed stabbing valve having filled tubing
Close safety rams and manually lock
Tighten dogs on hanger flange.
Some operators like to have one of the snubbing hands watching over the unit at night during
ESD Systems
It is to be noted that if the main hydraulic power pack on a snubbing unit is linked to any
platform shutdown system more problems than advantages will occur.
It is imperative that the well is made safe in an emergency. Just as with a drilling rig, if the
snubbing unit is linked to the ESD system, on a shutdown the pipe can be left up in the air
with no way of closing it in. There is also the possibility that a joint of pipe hanging on the
second winch will start to slip (it is a hydraulic winch) and could cause injury.
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The detailed actions will vary from installation to installation and job to job depending on the
level of shutdown and whether abandonment is envisaged.
At the very least, the top of the pipe will be run into the rotary in the work basket so that an
inside BOP or stabbing valve can be installed, with one or more of the BOPs closed and
possibly manually locked.
In the event of abandonment, a plan will have to be formulated to cover whether or not to
close the blind/shear rams and/or the SCSSV (if it is in the well and can be closed).
1.9.6 Gas Wells
Sweet Gas Wells
If a dry sweet gas well is to be worked on, special consideration must be given to the hydraulic
connections of the snubbing unit (of which there are many). Avoidance of any spillage is
especially important as dry gas and hydraulic oil or grease/dope are a very volatile mixture.
Any oil or dope building up around the stripper rubber or on top of the stripping rams soon
becomes heavily contaminated with gas and is potentially dangerous.
These wells are fortunately rare and consideration is always given to injecting a small amount
of water into the well prior to running the pipe.
It is important to keep the stripper rubber or stripping rams well lubricated with water to
obtain a good seal around the pipe.
Sour Gas Wells
Sour gas wells can be found with H
S concentrations up to 40%+.
Normally not dry gas. The wells require extreme caution in all operational phases to ensure no
escape of gas is likely.
Usual precautions might include:
Use of top quality H
S rated, inspected and checked equipment only
Flare line laid
Provision of working air supply and masks from quads on deck for crew
Doubling up of BOPs to avoid changing elements and hence exposing personnel
to the risk of H
Daylight hours only to ensure adequate visibility for maintenance and repair
No work during periods of no wind
Essential personnel only
All workers checked for perforated ear drums
Rehearsed safety/escape drills.

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Although these jobs are special, they have been performed many times with complete safety.
As with all work, planning is paramount.
A typical job might involve drilling out a DST string that has become plugged with sulphur.
1.9.7 Combined Wireline/Snubbing Operations
Slickline or electric line operations can be conducted through the jack of a snubbing unit
either by:
Rigging up the wireline lubricator on the workstring
Screwing an adapter into the stripper bowl and connecting a riser to the
In both cases normal wireline well control considerations apply, with either a master valve
placed on top of the workstring or the snubbing unit blind ram used as a master valve.
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During an HWO operation there is always a possibility that the well will kick as with any
conventional derrick operation. In the North Sea, all company supervisors, snubbing
supervisors, and snubbing chief operators (equivalent to driller) have approved well control
certificates and are capable of handling such occurrences.
In more remote areas of the world where standards are not so high, the experience and
training of supervisors and crews is important to enable them to react to any problems that
may occur.
The following containment problems relate to snubbing operations:
1.10.1 BOP Sealing Element Leak
Ram Type
This can be considered as being in two categories:
BOP elements changed out as normal routine due to wear
Leaks around elements occurring unexpectedly.
In the case of routine replacement due to wear (the stripping rams are susceptible to this). The
procedure for changing inner seals is:
Stop running pipe, close heavies, travelling slips and insert stabbing valve
Close safety rams and stripping rams
With bleed off closed, open lower stripping rams. Keep equalising line closed
Open bleed off and check safeties are holding
Close annular, open upper stripping rams
Change all 4 inner seals
Close lower stripping rams
Open safeties to check lower stripping rams are holding
Close bleed off, open equalising line and check top stripping rams. Open lower
stripping rams
Open annular and prepare to RIH.
In the case of unexpected leaks, all the BOPs above the safeties can be repaired by closing the
safeties, checking they are holding and then working on the stack.
In the case of a leaking annular, it may be necessary to pull back out of the hole, close the
blind rams and rig the jack off the well before being able to open the bonnet of the annular.
The annular should always start a new job with a fresh rubber and it is indeed a rare
occurrence to have to change it during a job.

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In the case of a leaking shear/seal, safety BOP or riser connection, the only choices are:
Pull back out of the hole, close or plug the wellhead
Kill the well.
If the well being worked on is low pressure and the safeties will no longer hold pressure, the
lower stripper BOP (which has seen little or no use) can be used as a replacement safety until
the pipe is out of the hole.
1.10.2 Check Valve Failure
It is not uncommon for the BPVs to leak if a lot of pumping has taken place. The procedure
in this case is:
Install stabbing valve and close same
Place plug on top of valve
Connect circulating hose to top of valve
Open valve and allow plug to drop to nipple or pump it down
Pump to seat plug
Inflow test plug
Pull out of hole with wet trip.
1.10.3 Tubing Pin Hole
It is important that prior to using a workstring it should be properly inspected and rattled to
minimise the chance of pinholes and scale.
In some parts of the world where work strings are not well cared for, pinholes can sometimes
be a problem. Usually pin holes are found on picking up the pipe for the first time and the
crews will be looking out for them if the pipe quality looks poor.
As the pipe is run the operator can feel each tool joint, as it goes through the stripper rubber,
on his weight indicator. As this is the start of a new joint, most operators' first reaction to a
sudden egress of fluids out of the top of the pipe is to pull back to the tool joint and back it
out. The stabbing valve is then inserted and the leak stopped.
If the above action has not cured the leak then it must have occurred downhole and the plug
must be dropped and seated in the nipple to confirm whether it is the BHA or a tubing hole.
If it is a tubing hole, it is often possible to slug the pipe with a heavy fluid and pull a wet trip
back out of the hole. Multi-set Wireline bridge plugs are available which could be used to plug
the tubing above the hole to enable the pipe to be pulled. In the worst case the well might
have to be killed if the hole was very large.
Any sudden leak occurring before pulling out after washing operations could indicate a
washout in the string and will also require the same procedures.
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1.10.4 Changing the Stripper Rubber
This is a routine operation, but opens up the topmost containment device, and is performed
as follows:
Close the annular and lower stripping ram and check they are holding
Back out the retaining nut and pull out the rubber(s) with a tool joint
Hang off the pipe and close the safety ram
Bleed off below the annular through the bleed-off line
Break the joint in the window
Install the new rubber by placing on the box and screwing in the pin
Make up the joint, take the weight of the string and back out the hanger dogs
Open the safety ram and run in to seat the rubber(s)
Tighten the retaining nut
Open the BOPs and RIH.
1.10.5 Loss of Power
In the event of a power loss to the snubbing unit, the BOPs will not be affected as they are on
an individual skid with two independent power supplies (e.g. diesel and air).
The worst situation for a power loss to occur would be just after having made up a joint with
most of it sticking up in the air above the work basket. If the integrity of the BPVs was in
doubt the counterbalance winch could be rigged to run from the BOP skid and used to raise a
man to install the stabbing valve.

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