Retrofit conductor guide centralizer keeps drilling on track
A comprehensive solution
Claxton in Dubai provided a complete packaged solution, including platform and rig surveys; design, analysis and fabrication of subsea and surface retrofit Centralizers; and a full installation package. Claxton also engaged and managed the activities of third-party abseiling and diving teams to assist with installation.
Mid-way through the drilling programme, during drilling of the long 133/8-in. casing section, there was sufficient space on the rig to enable Claxton to mobilise the installation team, abseilers and divers, and complete the subsea installation of the Centralizer with no adverse effect on drilling operations.
Gordon Hunter, drilling manager, DNO said, “Claxton provided a seamless service in terms of engineering, planning and final installation of the retrofit Centralizers. During an intense period for well operations, the Claxton team went about their business in a safe and professional manner to install well-engineered Centralizers right first time.
The system that Claxton supplied was a 31-in. conductor × 40-in. conductor guide, retrofit, hinged Centralizer complete with polyurethane buffers, quick-release collapsible hinges and profiled fins to enable the Centralizer to interface with the platform guide funnels. The Centralizer was fabricated from AISI 4130 steel and had a corrosion-resistant, thermally sprayed aluminium coating.
The time to completion, discounting offshore delays, was approximately six months. This included the three months from initial discussions to contract award, one and a half months of fabrication work, one and a half months of planning, surveying and writing procedures, and finally one week offshore to complete the installation process.
Dale said, “We strongly recommend that clients should consider centralisation at an early stage when planning new wells, but retrofit solutions like this one give the added flexibility to enable them to address fatigue concerns on existing wells before damage occurs and so minimise the risk of expensive repair work. A retrofit solution was perfect for the project at West Bukha 4 where there was insufficient time to fabricate the Centralizers and run them with the conductors.”
Claxton has extensive experience of modifying and retrofitting Centralizers, and carries a broad range of proven designs. This experience made it possible to take the installation work off the critical path of the DNO project, as Dale explains, “We have provided several styles of retrofit Centralizer to clients worldwide. Centralisation is an area that may be neglected during the planning process for new wells, and ever-changing drilling schedules may mean that we have to react quickly to satisfy clients’ priorities.”
Retrofitting has proved its value in other fields and many different situations, as Dale points out, “We have provided retrofit solutions for old wells that were installed without centralisation and where the conductor and guides were showing signs of fatigue through the unrestricted movement of the conductor within the guide. We have also provided retrofit solutions for wells where the space-out prepared during drilling was incorrect and the Centralizers were pre-installed in the conductor and not in the guide.”
The retrofit approach also provides a valuable solution in cases where components have reached the end of their design life. Dale concludes, “The ability to devise and deliver solutions that meet customers’ needs at all stages of a field’s life cycle is a key part of what we do. This is a particularly important consideration when the industry is seeking to extend the life expectancy of infrastructure and assets.”
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