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Working Over Oil & Gas Production Wells

Problems like parted rods and leaking tubing, while they may require a servicing unit and crew, are part of standard maintenance operations for a well. There are larger problems that may require a full workover. Workovers can be expensive, as they not only require heavy equipment and a crew, but also may require that a well be killed and production totally stopped for a period of time.

Workover

 

Beginning Workover Operations

Before a workover can begin, the well usually has to be killed. This means that the pressure of the formation has to be equaled by pressure from above, usually by injecting treated water, oil, or formation water into the well. This brings the flow of formation fluid to a temporary halt. The fluid that is injected will eventually dissipate, allowing the well to flow once more. Swabbing the well can help hurry that process along. If more fluid is injected, the well will be killed for a longer period. The precise moment the well will begin flowing again can’t be predicted, so the workover should be completed in a time efficient way. If water is used as the fluid, potassium chloride can be mixed in to prevent the formation from being over hydrated.

Workover

Figure 1. Some equipment used for workovers. Shown is a water holding tank, a mud pit, and mud pump.

Blowout preventers may be installed as part of a workover. This is a valve at the top of the tubing string that can be shut to cut off flow from the well. Most are made up of two parts. In the upper part are rams that will enclose the pipe when closed. The lower part has several blind rams which are closed when the pipe is not in the hole. That means the flow can be contained if it begins at any point. There will need to be a quick switch between the christmas tree and blowout preventer.

 

Why Workover A Well?

A workover is an expensive operation, and it’s usually worth it only if there’s a serious problem or it could lead to a genuine increase in production. The majority of workovers are used to address problems downhole.

 

Stuck Pipe

Tubing or other pipe may become stuck when you attempt to pull it from the well. A workover may be required to free the stuck pipe so maintenance can be carried out and flow restored. Stuck pipes are usually caused by a few common problems.

Salt bridges are one of the more common problems that can lead to a stuck pipe. Salt bridges are created when the well is pumped in several daily cycles and the formation holds very salty water. The water will collect in the annulus space until pumping begins, when it will drain out. The water leaves behind a salt residue. When the process is repeated many hundreds of times over months of pumping, the residue can build up into bridges that block the annular space. Production can be reduced or even stopped altogether by the salt bridges that form. Fresh water can be dropped in the annular space, dissolving the salt. Salt bridges may still occur, however.

Scale can have a similar effect when it builds up over time. More scale will break out of the water as the temperature and pressure drop. Scale buildup can be drilled out, though there are chemicals and coatings that can be used to reduce scale.

Sand may also migrate to the bottom of the hole, and gravel may also become packed so that pipe or other equipment becomes stuck. Adding screens to perforated joints can help keep sand out of the well.

 

Stripping Wells

When both the tubing and rod string are removed from a well at the same time, it’s called stripping the well. The rod string can be broken out if the pump clutch is engaged and the rods turned counterclockwise. When the rods are turned enough, the rod will break. The upper part can be pulled, and then the tubing is also pulled so that the loose rod string comes to the surface. That’s repeated until both the entire tube and rod strings have been pulled from the well.

A notch or clutch is placed on the bottom of most downhole pumps, which is what allows the rod string to be broken from the surface. At the bottom of the pump is the clutch, and the string is lowered until the clutch engages and the rod string can be broken. A clutch is also placed at the top of some pumps, allow the string to be raised until the clutch engages. The placement of the clutch should be noted in the records, but the string can also be lowered or raised until the clutch engages. Safety joints can make it easier to separate the string so it’s easier to pull. Using a safety joint presents its own problems, however.

When stripping a well, there’s a risk of spilling oil. Lighter oils may also begin flowing up in the well, and potentially even lead to a blow out. All of these are time consuming and expensive to clean up. These problems can be prevented by using some special equipment, swabbing, and some other basic safety procedures.

 

Fishing Parted Tubing

Removing parted tubing from a well can be a pain, particularly when it’s difficult to catch and latch on to the loose, broken end downhole. To make fishing the tubing easier, a custom tool may be designed and made in a shop. Before that tool can be made, however, one or more impression blocks need to be run.

An impression block is a flat tool that is run downhole. The bottom face is made of some soft material which can be dropped onto the parted tubing so an impression could be made. A standard impression block is made of soft lead. In some cases, a softer block shop-made of tar may be used, or a harder block may also be used. The block is attached to the tubing and allowed to string and allowed to drop down the hole.

A variety of tools are available for rent and can be used to catch different types of parted tubing. An overshot with a milling surface is helpful when trying to catch a rounder fish and a spear is a tool best suited for fishing a jagged opening. The tubing string may fall to one side of the casing. When that happens, an offset finger can be constructed in the shop. This is a tool that wraps around the string when turned. The company that rents the tools may also have specialist that can help with difficult operations.

 

Fracturing Operations

Fracturing operations, better known as fracking, are done as a way of increasing the porosity of a formation, allowing a higher flow and an increase in production. There’s a wide range of fracking techniques and technology available.

The fracking process includes applying hydraulic pressure to split rock open. Sand is then injected into the fractures. The sand is much more porous than the rock, and allows for an increased flow through the formation. A few different fluids can be used to apply hydraulic pressure. Treated water, water produced from the well, and crude oil are the most common fluids used. A few other fluids made from petroleum products are also in use. Water soluble rock salt or oil soluble moth balls are added to the fluid so that it will penetrate further into the reservoir and create a deeper fracture.

Another sort of fracking uses high pressure acid to etch new passages and widen existing flow paths. A chemical called a neutralizer will make the acid safe after a period so that it can be produced back up to the wellhead after fracking has finished.

There are a few other more specialized forms of fracking, such as explosive heat fracking. That’s a method that is best used in shallow wells where denser products like paraffin are common.

 

Other Reasons

A well workover may be done for several other reasons. In some cases, it may be necessary to drill scale out of the bottom of the hole to bring production rates back up to expected levels. In these cases, the tubing can be used as a drill pipe by adding a rotating head and a power swivel.

Workover

Figure 2. This rig for working over a well has a double blowout stack so it can continue to be produced while the workover is in progress.

Is your appetite for oil & gas operating knowledge insatiable like ours? 😀 If so, check out these related articles below – they’ll be sure to pump you up!!!

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*PLEASE NOTE: 6% is the AVERAGE result of producers who implement the app into their operations..... which means a full HALF of our clients do better 🤑

Centralized Repository

Get full production history, well files, commentary and the like in the hands of the people who need it (when they need it) and enable everyone in the field or office to do their best work.

Reduced Overhead

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Reduced Downtime through Alerts

Gain timely detection of equipment malfunctions or other operational issues and prevent costly breakdowns. With Greasebook, alert your in-house team to issues in the field wherever they're at.

Increased Production

Catch a hole in the tubing or an engine issue immediately when a well begins to slip (not several weeks later when your purchaser statements come in…) 💸 Greasebook is the next best thing to 'sitting shotgun' with each pumper on every route. And because you'll have complete visibility of your assets and your field crew, you'll not only avoid significant expenses associated with repairs and oversights but you'll also produce more oil because of it.

Timely Reports

Weekly, monthly, or missed reports simply don’t cut it. Why? Because longer reporting intervals increase the risk of inaccuracies and discrepancies in your production data, which not only erodes trust in the reported figures but also makes it challenging to analyze trends or forecast future production 📉 With Greasebook, eliminate any excuse NOT to have your production data.

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Production data syncs across all pumpers who share the responsibility of a particular lease. That means no more calling, no more meeting up to trade-off books, and no more miscommunication.

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Pumpers retain access to historical production by making their work available even when a connection isn’t.

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57000449
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Simple 8-minute Ramp Up

Average time to learn? 8 minutes (and yes, this goes for those pumpers who are 75 years old still tending wells…)

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Alarm Alerts

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Field Data Collection

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Comments

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Well Testing and Allocation Engine

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Downtime Tracker

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State & Government Auto-Report Filer

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Scheduled Reports

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Well History Files

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Pumper GPS Tracker

Wanna know how many times your pumper is showing up each month? When was the last time someone set foot on a particular lease? No more “he said, she said” – with GPS tracker, now you’ll know the full story.

Custom Variables

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Custom Logic

Components of a production system don’t operate in a vacuum. We make complex math simple so you can focus on analysis NOT spreadsheet jockeying.

Partner/Investor Permissions

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Privacy and security. Keep what’s private pri****.

Bring the most advanced security of any device to your operations. The GreaseBook comes with built-in protections against malware and viruses, and given our open API it gives you the freedom to choose what you share and how you share it. So no matter what you’re doing (or where you’re doing it), GreaseBook helps your private information stay that way.

(just a few of) the products we integrate with

GREASEBOOK INTEGRATIONS

“If you’re unsatisfied for any reason during your 6-week trial, we'll either work with you until it's right or refund 200% of what you paid for the app. How can we do this? We're just that good. But don't take it from me. Check out what our clients are saying below......"
Greg Archbald
Perpetual Student of the Oilfield
Founder of GreaseBook
FEAST YOUR EYES, NON-BELIEVERS 👀👇

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Ask us anything

F.A.Q.

Not really. Simply share with us your Excel reports, paper gauge sheets, or the login to your existing legacy production software and we’ll take care of the rest.

Our petroleum engineers turn-key your entire setup, we’ll reach out once we’re done. Bada bing.

You’re right. And, because no one leaves their house without their phone (and because our app works offline), we eliminate any excuse for your pumpers NOT to send you their data. See, we told you this would be easy.

In addition to both Android and Apple smartphones, the Greasebook also works on any tablet, laptop, or desktop.

While Greasebook has been implemented in many of the country’s largest publicly traded production companies operating thousands of wells, Greasebook is focused on serving the small and mid-sized independent US-based oil & gas operators.

Anywhere, anytime, on any device (phone, tablet, desktop or laptop).

The beauty of the app is once your pumpers start submitting their production via the Greasebook – anyone on your team can access production reports, graphs and well files from any device at any time.

It’s sorta like a centralized place from which everyone on your team can work, without all the calls, text messages and emails that would go on otherwise.

Absolutely. As your pumpers continue to add tickets, comments, pressures, well tests and any other relevant information, your investors will have guest access to as much (or as little) information as you’d like.

Of course, they’ll only see production info for the wells in which they participate.

Oil & gas companies who run Legacy oil and gas software systems expose themselves to major risks (and minor annoyances…)

The complexity of traditional oil & gas production systems is twofold:

  1. Software Problem: Legacy software systems are expensive, outdated, clunky and have extremely complex interfaces. In fact, because of all the support and manual interventions required, continuing to use outdated software can often be more costly than simply upgrading.
  2. People Problem: Legacy software systems take an enormous amount of time to familiarize oneself with. And, anytime an employee quits, retires, or is let go the amount of training required for new employees can be significantly higher than for newer, more user-friendly software.

 

This is a lose/lose. What’s more, given all the set-up fees, training fees, support fees and the like the projected ‘savings’ never materialize and now your forced to contend with fluctuating hydrocarbon prices AND a bloated monthly OPEX.

Talk about getting stuck in the muck!

With Greasebook, office users are 99% proficient with the platform in about 20 minutes.

Within 2 seconds – FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE – you’ll have your answer to any question regarding production, allocations, performance, well history files, commentary, run ticket reconciliation, Custom Reports, State reports, and more – all sliced and diced and customized at the Company, Operator, Battery, Well, State, County, Section, Township, Range, Acquisition, or even Supervisor level…

We’ve been at this for awhile. Greasebook was established in 2012 and now supports more than 400+ oil and gas operators (small ma & pops and publicly traded companies alike) across 20 States and is the fastest growing production software in the patch.

The Greasebook corporate outpost is proudly located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 🤠📍

The Greasebook helpdesk is staffed by Petroleum Engineers, Geologists, and Completions Experts Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM CST. 

We have a real-time chat through which most questions are answered in 2 minutes or less.

Naturally, some questions are more complex and you’ll want to speak to someone over the phone. In this case, we aim to complete all callbacks within two hours of scheduling.👌

Of course, your Dashboard and Reports are available to you 24/7.

We don’t blame them.

Pumpers have been burned by Legacy Production Systems in the past. 😵

However, given how much upside you stand to gain in the form of time savings and profit, DO NOT make the mistake of letting the tail wag the dog, folks!! 💸

Real talk: the average pumper takes about 8 minutes to learn Greasebook (and that goes for guys in their 80s still tending wells…)

Give us two days and we’ll make believers out of your entire pumping crew….

Still not convinced? Check out Greasebook’s “Pumper Wall of Love” by clicking here and let the pumpers tell you themselves 😘

Let us help you help yourself. Simply send us your existing production info, and we’ll assign a production engineer to turn-key your entire setup for you.

We’ll build your wells, your tank straps, your users and anything else you require.

Finally, once everything has been reviewed by your team, we’ll roll out your pumpers and either train them for you or with you while you focus on more important stuff.

That’s not a question, but actually no.

The average pumper demands anywhere from $125 to $400 per month.

And depending on what you require, Greasebook is priced anywhere from $5-15 well/mo.

So, given how much more you’ll get out of your pumpers, how much we’ll streamline your operations, and how quickly we’ll get this all done for you, we’re actually kind of a bargain.

Our guarantee is two-pronged…

First, run the app for full 6 weeks in your operations. If you’re not completely satisfied, let us know and we’ll DOUBLE your money back.

Second, if for any reason you’d like your money back in first 30 days after paying simply let us know and it’s yours. 🤝

However, if you’re anything like our other 400+ operators you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do this 6 months ago…

We’re ready when you are. Take the quiz and schedule a call here – depending how many operators we have in front of you, there’s a chance we can get you up and running by the end of next week.

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