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Well Intervention

No one seems to question oil wells. These offshore behemoths are taken for granted as machines that do what they are supposed to do. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill seems to have changed that impression drastically, causing many people to reconsider the safety of our offshore production units. This is why the process known as "well intervention" is so important. This type of well work is conducted to manage the state of the well. Intervention can alter the well's geometry, run diagnostics, and even manage what the well is producing. Through-tubing is the most commonly used method for intervention. This means maintenance can be conducted on a well while still in use.

Tubing maintenance can remove obstructions from the tubes that oil travels through so that it flows more evenly and the risk of pipe burst goes down. Coil tubing is also commonly used. This will pump chemicals into the bottom of the well to clean it. Subsea well intervention is likely the most dangerous because underwater structures are more difficult to conduct maintenance on. There are three major types of vessels used for these operations.

Vessels Used

There are more than 5,000 subsea wells scattered throughout the seven seas and that number is rising every day with the ever-increasing demand for oil. Wells age just like any other piece of machinery does and they need repair, especially after ten years of operation. Instead of replacing these wells completely, well intervention vessels can assist offshore workers in repairing them. Well Ops, a division of Helix, has three vessels for well operations: a mono-hull, a well enhancer with ROV capabilities, and a multi-service vessel that can work in depths of more than 10,000 feet. The advances made in well technology are amazing, but there is still much to be improved.

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~ Deepwater Horizon Crew Member

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