There are millions of oil and gas wells around the world, including in the United States. However, not all wells are productive enough because of several factors. Recompletion could be an answer to this dilemma faced by the oil and gas industry.
With depleting oil and gas resources around the world, there’s a serious need to increase production efficiency. While these resources are finite, many companies are not tapping the full production potentials of these wells. As a result, they are also not benefiting financially as much as they can.
In order to understand what benefits recompletion oil and gas wells can offer, it’s important to first understand what it is and why it is needed in the first place.
What is Recompletion?
Recompletion in the oil and gas industry refers to the completion of an existing well that may or may not be active. Any action or methodology to re-enter the well to restore it or improve it can be considered recompletion.
The main purpose behind recompletion in most cases is increasing or rekindling production. However, there can be other reasons as well.
Recompletion of a well may involve many different technologies or methodologies, depending on the goal. It’s usually carried out by well drilling and completion companies that have the equipment to construct wells.
Of course, it can be a highly expensive process as it’s similar to completion, just not that extensive. However, in some cases, recompletion may involve completing the well once again from scratch, which is not only extremely expensive but also time-consuming.
Reasons for Well Recompletion
There can be several reasons companies choose to take on recompletion of a well. Here are the main three reasons:
The main reason for recompletion of a well is to boost production. Now, a well may not be producing oil at all or producing very little of it.
Production can decrease over time because of various reasons. Perhaps, the formation is not explored completely, so the well doesn’t get all the oil. Another common reason is that there are hurdles in the flow from the formation into the wellbore.
In many cases, production can go as low as just 10 barrels per day. With extraction costs so high, such low production can result in losses for the oil company rather than profiting them. This is one of the reasons why companies often abandon wells because they are just not producing enough crude oil or gas to be profitable.
Recompletion can help increase the production of a well by dealing with the issues head-on.
For instance, it may involve horizontal drilling and completion in a vertical well to increase access of the well to other unexplored areas of the field, especially those that couldn’t be reached by vertical drilling.
Oil or gas wells may stop producing because of physical damage to the well. This is the second common reason for the need for recompletion.
As a result of an accident or mistake, the well may have been damaged. However, more commonly damage can occur because of perforating debris from the drilling process. This can reduce the permeability of the wellbore, resulting in a reduction in mineral flow.
Some damage may be so large that it may require overall reconstruction of the well or recompletion, so to speak.
Old Completion Technology
More often than not, the reason for low production is the use of old drilling and completion techniques, which didn’t penetrate the rock formation enough in the first place. Many wells around the world are producing remarkably low minerals because they were constructed using technologies or methodologies that had limitations.
Today, oil drilling and completion technologies have advanced a lot, addressing the issues completion methods like open-hole completion had. A well created with an open-hole completion may be recompleted with perforated case completion, which has become almost a standard in the new wells these days.
Cumulative perforations in oil wells are also a serious limitation in production. Although these changed in the 60s with bullet perforations, there are wells with proven resources with bullet perforations. Similarly, there are many wells that were constructed using old methods and still contain resources unextracted.
Well Recompletion Methods
Recompletion oil and gas wells is a little different from completion. While completion has several different methods, recompletion is a broad term that encompasses many methods and technologies. Consider it an umbrella term for any drilling, completion, or repairs of a crude oil or gas well.
However, in most cases, for recompletion, companies employ modern completion methods. There are no standards for recompletion as of yet. Also, the exact methods and technologies may vary based on the well. One recompletion method may not work for all types of wells.
What to Know Before Recompletion?
Before acquiring a depleted well or an inactive well with untapped resources, any entity must use geological and geophysical analysis to analyze the well. It can help them estimate the remaining reserves of the well if any.
More importantly, this analysis can help determine the best method for recompletion and how much it would cost. All of these factors will help the company interested in recompletion to determine whether the well can potentially be profitable.
Similarly, any entity buying such a well in need of recompletion or a company taking on the task of recompletion for the owner must ascertain the legal ownership of the well. An old well that is not actively producing can have disputed ownership, in which case any construction or activity by a third party may be unlawful.
Recompletion is similar to completion, but it’s for an already completed well. It can help start or increase production of the oil well or gas field. Either way, it’s a giant investment that calls for thorough research and analysis beforehand.
With newer technologies, it has become possible to access and extract resources previously inaccessible in old or underperforming wells. Any owner or oil and gas company with mineral rights should look into recompletion for putting back life into an old well and make it lucrative once again.