Delivering a full range of innovative well completion technologies
Based out of the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, since its inception in 1997, Viking Completion Technology has built a selection of innovative completion equipment that adheres to the rigorous standards that are characteristic of an evolving industry, including tubing retrievable safety valves, production packers, chemical injection systems and a variety of completion accessories.
Utilizing its team's wealth of engineering experience in delivering a successful track record of well completion tools without sacrificing reliability or efficiency, Viking operates on a project-by-project basis, offering a bespoke service dependent on the variables involved in each job. Included within this custom-built approach is the ability to deliver on a dynamic range of projects, including those that come in volume or across long-term contracts. This approach is strengthened by the company’s internal engineering group; leveraging their engineering experience in providing well delivery solutions for diverse environments and, at times, challenging operational conditions, the company is committed to striving for innovation within the industry.
Through its customer-facing approach and full-service offering, the company prides itself on its ability to provide effective upper completion solutions that cover the comprehensive scope of work from product design and engineering to testing and validation—carried out at its own testing and production unit—to ensure that products and tools are optimized for the field.
Something of a rarity to Viking in comparison with the expectations of operators across the industry, is that all of its equipment, such as safety valves, are Original Manufacturer's Equipment (OEM). In many cases where a supplier can’t provide their own equipment, they third party these items and “white label” them, effectively passing them off as their own equipment. This can result in a disconnect between what an operator is expecting and with what they are supplied. As a worst-case scenario, if something goes wrong with a specific component, operators may be unaware of the negative impact it could have on their production output until it is too late.
When sourcing non-OEM, there may be no safety net for looking back at drawings or reviewing testing. In some cases, it can be difficult to verify the equipment and how it was manufactured or check other issues such as non-conformance. It may not be possible to return the equipment and there may be little avenue for investigation or repair if the supplier did not provide it. Hearing firsthand feedback from operators who are supplied non-OEM, there have been a range of related issues from the equipment not working to a lack of external support or a lack of technical background and expertise.
In comparison, equipment qualified to API standards assures our clients of its quality and detail, Fig. 1. However, quality equipment and fit-for-purpose technology aren't enough to guarantee successful completion projects on behalf of a client. Fundamentally, the structure of an organization, as well as the internal experience of the people within, is the determining factor between a project's success or failure.
As a smaller organization, with a team of fewer than 30 individuals, Viking has the flexibility to leverage its size to optimize its capabilities and processes involved in every job. The company’s ability to deliver a full-service offering is due to an adaptable approach that has been at the core of the company’s competency since its inception. It’s understood that not every project is best suited to the capabilities of the larger suppliers, the compact team behind Viking allows for the personable approach to deliver hidden value by offering a tailor-made solution that fits the application specific requirements of every completion project. This approach is relevant whether it’s a one-off arrangement or a long-term multi-year contract—both of which Viking experience regularly.
This process starts at the completion design phase. Ideally, this would occur when the operator is planning their field development, however, due to the nature of changing circumstances and evolving challenges, this can often begin much closer to the actual installation of the equipment. However, because of its efficient team and management process, the company has the ability to be adaptable to short timescales and changes to plans. Tracked from the initial completion design to the delivery of the equipment, ready for installation, the timescale can be as short and effective as three months.
This ability to achieve success against tight deadlines and navigate capricious environments can be traced back to its full-service approach. Offering the entire upper completion ensures that the project is properly managed throughout without the need to rely on outside parties or distant collaborators. In the process of supplying all the necessary equipment for a successful well completion, Viking is best placed to fully monitor and track progress, ensuring operations are completed without interruption or issue, and if disruption occurs, then Viking has all the tools, insight, and experience to manage and overcome this.
Beyond this ability to supply innovative tools and technology, the company’s experienced team is on hand to provide assistance with the complete design and establish the correct specifications for the equipment before supporting the planning and execution of operations. As part of the execution process, Viking can provide experienced personnel for the subassembly make-up and running of the completion to ensure that the project is successfully completed.
Crucial to its full-service approach is not just the management of each project, but the management behind the scenes throughout the entire project. Through effective communication and planning, the provider’s team works diligently through the design, manufacturing, commissioning and provision of upper completion equipment to deliver projects that exceed client expectations, whether the requirements are bespoke or not.
This full-service approach provides effective results. In 2022, Viking was responsible for the successful commission of almost 100 upper completions across the UAE, Kurdistan, Oman and the Congo, where Viking representatives performed the role of onsite completion engineer themselves. Many of these projects included API 11D1 and API 19AC V0 rated equipment and four of the wells included equipment trials that achieved the KPIs that were originally set out by the operator during the project's planning stage.
Recognizing the benefits of utilizing a local workforce, the company collaborates with local contractors and suppliers. Personnel in the UAE are regarded for their commitment to quality and
high standards of work. Furthering this commitment to utilizing local resources, Viking minimizes the unnecessary impact or risk of having external materials shipped to its headquarters in UAE, instead, fully employing the capabilities and quality of the surrounding market and its suppliers. A source of pride for the team, its local approach, and commitment to producing all of its innovative well completion technology within the region has helped to establish the company as an integral part of the UAE industry and market.
This commitment to the region has proven to be just as beneficial, allowing the company to establish itself in the local market as the go-to well completion specialist. This is reflected in the number of projects completed for operators within the UAE, including a 60-well completion campaign that utilized the company’s production packers, all of which were specifically designed and validated in line with API 11D1 specifications. Part of this 60-well completion project included 30 7-in. permanent V0 packers, all specific to the major UAE operator involved in the project.
The company successfully equipped 30 10,000 psi gas wells in the UAE with V0 packers. All 30 packers were designed, manufactured and tested in-house, then certified to API 11D1. The equipment was utilized for both oil and gas production and injection wells. The packers were designed to achieve 10,000 psi with an API 11D1 validation rating of V0, while accommodating a wide range of 7-in. 26lb/ft to 32lb/ft casing. The tools were engineered to enable a minimum well life of 25 years, Fig. 2.
As with all projects, there were a number of certain application-specific design requirements that had to be incorporated. In this case, which involved anti-rotation for ease of milling, AFLAS elastomers and an envelope to accommodate extreme loads, were incorporated to ensure competency during the life of the well. To accomplish the objectives, the technical team gathered the completion and well information up front, allowing them to perform tubing movement analysis and gather the specific calculations that would determine the load cases for all scenarios during the life of the well before these load points were then used to finalize a performance envelope for the packer, Fig. 3.
With the “calculated envelope” and technical requirements agreed upon, the project progressed as planned into the equipment engineering phase. At this stage, a kickoff meeting that brought together experts from the provider's sales, operations, and engineering teams took place to complete a thorough review of the project and individual equipment requirements.
Design phase. Following involvement from the sales and operations teams in addition to engineering and management, a series of design reviews were performed during the equipment design phase. During this phase, preparatory work was undertaken to source materials and plan manufacturing, allowing installation to commence immediately upon the release of the engineering drawing packages. In many UAE-based projects such as this, the technical package must be approved by the operator and a third-party inspection. Throughout the entire process, every effort was made to think proactively to ensure there were no dead spots in the timeline.
Material selection/tool testing. Prior to manufacturing the production equipment, engineers qualified the permanent packer, which utilized a combination of Inconel 925 and AISI 4140 materials to achieve the optimum balance of performance versus cost, to the required envelope. The manufacturing process progressed, machining parts and procuring third-party items as per the agreed quality plan. Assembly of the equipment followed and then production tested to the full working pressure.
Following approval by the third-party inspector, the equipment was prepared for shipping using the specific customer requirements, which included individual crates for each packer with a specific type of marking on the crates and fit-for-purpose protection against the elements when in storage.
Operational plan/risk assessment. After the equipment was delivered, the operations team was in contact with the customer to plan operations. This included input and review of completion programs, risk analysis and planning of the sub-assembly design. Before well operations commenced, the tubing movement and force calculations were run again to consider the specific conditions for each well.
The equipment was made up with other operator-supplied items as part of a sub-assembly process, which was supervised by Viking and operator personnel. This was typically performed a few days before each installation, and a second round of pressure testing to the full working pressure of the packer was performed. This involved fitting and removing specially designed test clamps to stop the packer setting while under pressure.
An operator representative made a final check to ensure the equipment is ready to be sent to the rig. A Viking field engineer, who is responsible for the running of the upper completion, checks the equipment to ensure no damage has occurred during transit. The complete program was reviewed and based on the desired setting depth required by the operator; a tubing tally was created specifically for each well.
Field procedure. Calculations were performed by a Viking field engineer based on the specific well parameters to determine what pressure was required at the surface to achieve the desired differential pressure at the packer. The field engineer was present during all the critical steps and supervised the setting of the packer to the company’s operating procedure. This generally involves steadily pressuring up to the full pressure and holding for 30 minutes, bleeding down to 0 psi, and then re-applying the full setting pressure for five minutes.
To confirm the packer is fully set, an annulus pressure test was performed that confirmed pressure holding capability above the packer. Subsequently, an injectivity test was performed that also confirmed that the packer was holding pressure from below. This is a critical phase of any completion operation as the packer is the primary production safety barrier.
Throughout the entire process, the installation of the completion must always be considered in relation to the local resources that are available at the point of subassembly make-up and installation. For example, wells that have a chemical injection or a safety valve will require a spooler to deploy the control line, as well as clamps to secure the control line to the tubing string. While the client may have a locally available spooler, the drum that is supplied needs to be compatible for the installation to be a success. Consideration must be made to the pressure manifold, fittings, requirements for fluid flushing, fittings, hoses, handling and location of the unit as well as the availability of power sources at the rig site, Fig. 4.
Various clamps have different methods of make-up, with some requiring specialized tooling that is not readily available and must be ordered before installation commences. To ease installation, improve safety and minimize the time involved in running tubing, Viking typically supplies a completion toolbox that includes all the required tooling to perform tasks such as installing control line protectors, Fig. 5.
Covering six months, all packers were installed by the Viking operations team with a 100% success rate. For each installation, the company’s technical team was on-hand to support the operator throughout the process, performing tube move calculations and providing recommendations for the running and setting of the completion. This complete equipment and service approach, along with efficient installation timing, resulted in significant cost savings to the end user across the entire project. The equipment was delivered ahead of the contracted lead time.