SPE-177686-MS New Innovation Improves Performance and Reliability of Downhole Plugs

Sealing technologies provide a vital role in a wide range of applications no more so than in the design and development of Retrievable Bridge Plugs (RBP) where performance is a vital safety and operational consideration. Moreover, for workover operations using RBPs it is also essential that deployment and recovery are equally as reliable as the pressure and temperature performance of the plug.

Traditional retrievable bridge plugs based on solid elastomeric seals have been the mainstay of well intervention since the 1940’s. However, the long-term shift towards gas production, higher pressures, higher temperatures and increased regulatory standards means these systems can no longer provide the performance the industry demands. New innovative technologies are needed to bridge this gap and this paper provides evidence of once such technology with the potential to service the next era of exploration and production. The paper explores some of the operational and practical limitations of traditional solid elastomer sealing technology for RBPs and introduces a new type of hybrid metalpolymer seal offering significantly improved sealing performance, larger running clearances and enhanced reliability. The new seal technology is described alongside experimental data on the seal’s performance and operational configuration.

Robin McGowan, Peak Well Systems


Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 9–12 November 2015. This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

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