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AWI Offers Alternative to Conventional Well Intervention

August 26, 2014

A Louisiana-based company seeks to address safety issues by offering what it calls an alternative to conventional hydraulic worker units. The company’s solution for well intervention addresses the risks of well intervention by reinventing what well intervention systems look like, Alternative Well Intervention LLC President and CEO John Stansbury told Rigzone.

The company has replaced the need for ladders and safety harnesses to keep workers attached to ladders as they move up and down by designing a hydraulic workover unit (HWU) that offers workers a totally enclosed work platform. AWI has extended the stroke of its HWU from the conventional 10 feet to 15 feet. According to the company’s website, incorporating the work window into the HWU has allowed AWI to reduce tripping/cycling time by 33 percent as it now only takes two strokes to get a standard joint out of the hole instead of three strokes.

“You don’t solve a risk by solving it with another risk,” Stansbury commented on the approach of adding more safety devices to address safety issues. Founded in the late 2012, the company was established with the philosophical and emotional issues behind safety in the oil and gas field. “We’re trying to give [workers] a platform that minimizes the potential adverse, unwanted effects of working offshore,” said Stansbury.

Hydraulic hoses are housed in a way that allows jumper hoses to connect to quick connects, which are used to provide a fast make or break connection of fluid transfer lines within the control cabin, eliminating hose bundles found in a typical HWU and minimizing trip hazards. The company’s design also minimizes hand-to-iron contact affected by the positioning of the tongs and pipe handling system by removing the ton arm and spring and replacing them with a hydraulically controlled track system that incorporates make-up and back-up tongs, which guide the tong over the well center, eliminating the man-handling of tongs suspended from a spring and roller system. Additionally, a tubular handling arm has been incorporated into the HWU, which moves pipe to the well center as it comes in.  

Oil and gas companies previously have used jackups, platform rigs, coil tubing and wireline services to perform workover and well interventions to remove a well blockage, address holes in tubing or other common well issues. But Stansbury believes that AWI’s HWU offers a solution that will appeal to customers as regulations stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident come down in the U.S. Gulf and the focus on offshore safety grows, creating a need for industry to “think outside the box” in terms of operational safety.

 “When we make the decisions that we do, are we just looking at the bottom line or should we be more long-term in our thinking?” Stansbury commented.

In addition to a safer environment for workers and reduced risk of dropped objects, the HWU will reduce man power from a 24-hour crew of 12 to nine to 10 people, comes with a full package, including the blowout preventer stack, features Class I Division II engines that are rated for hazardous environments, and Tier 3, low carbon emission engines to power the HWU and mud pump.

AWI is not manufacturing the units so it can focus on the service side, Stansbury noted, adding that the philosophical angle that he and other officials have taken in putting the company together “has drawn us in a different direction.” Instead, the company has assembled a team of players to build the HWUs. “We’re not in the manufacturing business, so why do something that’s not your forte?”

Stansbury noted that the need exists for companies in the oil and gas industry to be concessional, regardless of whether it’s a service company or oil and gas operator. Noting that the “good ol boy” mentality in the industry has created a reluctance by some to admit when they’re not the smartest guy in the room, Stansbury said the approach taken in founding AWI has been to reach out for help in building the best equipment.

The company’s first HWU was delivery in late July of last year. AWI has initially focusing on the Gulf of Mexico, but is looking at potential investment opportunities worldwide, Stansbury said, adding that the company’s HWU’s could be working in the North Sea in the next year and a half. Mexico-based Petroleos Mexicanos also has expressed interest in the company’s product.

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