In the oil and gas industry, effective well barriers provide peace of mind to ensure operational safety. These barriers exist as a protective layer, preventing formation fluids from flowing into the wellbore, another formation, or the environment. If barriers are breached, the well can no longer be counted on to operate as designed and the operator must adapt to manage the risk.

Well barrier management — the process behind the design, implementation, and maintenance of barriers — is an essential part of the oil and gas industry. The more effective a well barrier is at doing its job, the longer a well can operate unimpeded. Unfortunately, the long-trusted status quo methods for ensuring well barrier integrity are not up to the task. Here’s why these approaches leave a lot to be desired, and why integrated solutions are much more reliable and effective.

Where the Status Quo Falls Short

The term “well barrier management,” as mentioned previously, encapsulates a complex multistep process. Companies must identify the type of well barriers needed, then design, implement, validate, and maintain barrier health from commissioning through plug and abandonment.

While regulatory bodies dictate basic requirements that must be achieved, much of how the process plays out is left wide open. Left to their own devices, companies may come up with several unique, non-standard management solutions for each phase of the well’s lifecycle.

During the design phase of a well, a company could choose between several generic drawing tools to produce a wellbore schematic with all required barriers. However, this generic software approach requires tedious effort and does not always produce an accurate representation of all components in place.

After the design stage is completed, the operational stage inevitably brings changes to the plan. Many companies rely on spreadsheets to track changes and tasks, store important data points and generate reports. Much like a generic drawing tool, however, spreadsheet software isn’t built specifically for well barrier management. It lacks integration with other steps in the management process and requires time and effort to customize completely.

While there are dedicated standalone tools for specific phases of well barrier management, these tools, just like spreadsheets, fall short in the area of integration. Using separate tools for every step creates a challenge when it comes to reliably transferring information and efficiently moving the process along. An integrated and standardized solution for well integrity management, on the other hand, ensures a streamlined flow of data and consistency in all phases.

How IPT is Advancing Well Barrier Management

If there’s one word to describe IPT’s well barrier management solution, it is comprehensive. SureTec, SureView and SureOps combine to form a complete end-to-end package for every stage of the barrier lifecycle, from design to validation to maintenance.

Every IPT product is integrated, ensuring the tools and applications you use in multiple phases are working from the same data. That integration also enables IPT’s well integrity specialists to assist your team throughout the process, providing consultations, trainings, 24/7 support and more.

Put an end to cobbled together solutions. Contact us today to learn how IPT can help with all aspects of well barrier management from start to finish.

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