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Spotlight on Intervention

RLWI: A Low-Cost Boost for Subsea Productivity

By Brian Skeels, special feature for the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC 2010)*

Let’s say you’re operating a few mature subsea fields – which more and more operators are these days. 

 RLWI

 RLWI Island Well Section

You’re losing pressure and pumping mostly water. You know there’s more oil in there, but you can’t quite figure out how to reach it. Now there’s an effective – and surprisingly cost-effective – way to squeeze more production out of your mature subsea fields. Think about using FMC Technologies’ Riserless Light Well Intervention (RLWI) technology.

Results Without Rigs

The main difference between RLWI and older well intervention methods is that it’s riserless and doesn’t require the use of an expensive rig. Instead, it uses a purpose-built, dynamically positioned monohull vessel to perform well logging operations, gauging, plugging, downhole repair, scale removal, re-perforations and other workover activities to reduce flow restrictions and increase productivity. 

With RLWI, you can customize the workover to a specific need at half the cost and in half the time of a traditional intervention. In fact, you can be in and out, with the job complete, in just about a week. 

The payout can be enormous. At FMC Technologies, we saw overall oil recovery increase 46 percent from 28 North Sea wells on which we performed RLWI in 2006 and 2007. And now our technology is even more powerful. 

Ready for Deepwater Interventions

FMC Technology’s RLWI Mark II system uses a compact, electric, ROV-style umbilical cable that can be disconnected quickly and safely without ROV assistance and stands up to rigorous heave compensation winches. Reconfiguration between wells and/or tasks is now much easier and faster than it used to be.

FMC Technologies has already proven the effectiveness of RLWI in the North Sea, and Mark II is making RLWI interventions feasible in deeper water by reducing weight, optimizing the size of pressure control and closure devices, and upgrading the control.

*Brian Skeels is the Emerging Technologies Director for FMC Technologies and is this year’s recipient of the ASME Outstanding Achievement in the Oil Industry award.

Read more about RLWI