JumpStart: Aramco develops, commercializes game-changing technology
Engineers provide a solution to a long-standing challenge faced by drilling operations involving flow back and well cleanup.
Ever on the lookout for innovative ways to make its drilling operations more efficient, Drilling and Workover has recently developed a safer, cost-effective alternative method for cleaning out oil and gas wells after drilling, which would meet the following objectives:
- Improve safety quotient by dramatically reducing the amount of heavy equipment and personnel at the wellsite, and eliminating the use of high-pressure gas and chemicals.
- Increase efficiency with less rig time, fewer execution failures, and reduced operation cost
The genius behind “JumpStart” is the way that it solves a long-standing challenge faced by drilling operations worldwide. After an oil or gas well is drilled, it is necessary to flow back any fluids used in treatment of the well.
(Editor’s Note: This story is part of an ongoing series about Aramco technologies that are being commercialized by our licensing arm, Saudi Aramco Technologies Company.)
Traditional flow back and clean out operations using nitrogen via coil tubing are costly, require a large equipment footprint, and introduce safety and logistics risks and can often take up as much as 20% of the time it takes to drill the well. Elimination of the use of rig and improvement in time efficiency mean significant cost savings in the drilling project.
JumpStart’s patent pending method temporarily deploys a fully retrievable through tubing electric submersible pump (ESP) system that pumps out the produced fluids, reducing the time required for flow back by up to 50%, compared with conventional coiled tubing/nitrogen lift clean outs.
“This concept will yield significant profits from international deployment and demonstrates Aramco’s position as a leader in oil and gas technology innovation,” said Khalifah M. Al Amri, manager of the Drilling Technical Department. “There are a number of major benefits for the company and the Kingdom. It will demonstrate Aramco’s technology leadership in the global energy industry. It will accelerate well delivery and rig time savings. It will enhance safety and logistical challenges. And it will create a new business model for enhancing our competitive advantage through new oil field technologies.”
The biggest challenge
Ali M. Assiri, acting manager for the Exploration and Oil Drilling Engineering Department, said that the biggest challenge JumpStart had to meet was applying the new solution to offshore drilling operations.
“Offshore rigs spend a long time flowing back drilled wells, which is costly and impacts annual well delivery, and most of our newly drilled platforms are not connected to a gas-oil separation plant, which would normally facilitate the well cleanup and flow back process,” Assiri said.
According to Assiri, JumpStart not only met his expectations, but it also handles the produced fluids while following Aramco’s strict zero discharge policy. It also manages to conduct its operations within the confines of the limited deck space and restricted tank capacities of offshore rigs, avoiding the need for support vessels.
“We in D&WO are proud of the JumpStart success story,” Assiri said. “This concept was a result of hard work and collaboration by D&WO engineering and drilling operations, who managed this innovation from the creative imagination to deployment and commercialization.”
One of many innovations
Suliman M. Azzouni, supervisor for Drilling and Workover Engineering, is co-inventor of JumpStart with acting chief drilling engineer Najeeb I. Abdulrahman. Azzouni said that JumpStart is just one example of the many innovations that D&WO creates to improve normal field operations.
Our position of advantage is the frequency of solutions we come up with as part of our regular work in the field.
— Suliman M. Azzouni
“Today, we are capturing those solutions and protecting those ideas through the patent process, and commercializing those ideas both for our own operations and for the industry as a whole,” Azzouni said.
D&WO’s patent pending technology is licensed to AccessESP, a Houston based manufacturer of rig less ESP systems and is being commercialized as JumpStart™ flow back and well clean up service, for worldwide deployment in offshore and onshore wells.
Abbas Al-Ghamdi, CEO of Saudi Aramco Technologies Company, said: “We are delighted to have established this important collaboration with AccessESP. The ability to use a slick line retrievable downhole pump to remove heavyweight kill fluid prior to production significantly reduces rig time and risk. The additional benefits of carbon emissions reduction and cost savings promise to improve well economics for many high-value wells worldwide. We have great faith in AccessESP in the successful commercialization of JumpStart.”
For more information about this technology and related license agreement, please reach out to Subashini Asokan, Head of Licensing, Saudi Aramco Technologies Company at firstname.lastname@example.org.