The Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) and a consortium of oil and gas companies are undertaking a joint industry project (JIP) to investigate an alternative well foundation technology for subsea exploration and production wells.

The initiative is being taken up in partnership with Maersk Oil, Nexen, Shell, Siccar Point Energy, TechnipFMC and The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC). It will receive technical support from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).

Through the project, stakeholders intend to examine the viability of Conductor Anchor Node (CAN) technology as an alternative well foundation for most seabed soils.

ITF CEO Dr Patrick O’Brien said: “Traditional conductors have been used in the offshore industry for more than half a century, with well-known and documented issues around maintaining verticality and providing a solid base to support further well architecture.

“The aim of the JIP is to explore the effectiveness of CAN technology in different well foundations and increase its capabilities in subsea exploration and production wells.”

The CAN system is developed by a Norwegian company Neodrill and uses high-load carrying capacity suction anchors to secure seafloor mooring points through a large diameter, relatively short cylinder.

“The aim of the JIP is to explore the effectiveness of CAN technology in different well foundations and increase its capabilities in subsea exploration and production wells.”

It is claimed that the technology does not use cement, reducing the risk of conductor problems associated with cementing failure.

In addition, CAN provides well foundations to be drilled or jetted through, or with a pre-installed short conductor.

Initially, the ‘CAN-based pre-rig well construction’ JIP will engage in the examination of the results from CAN installations performed so far and will assess its suitability in non-clay seabed soils, including sand and mixed soils.

The project will also evaluate the potential to safely drill out a pre-installed shorter conductor in order to provide structural support for top-hole well construction.

Neodrill will field test CAN capabilities as part of its normal operations and installation projects.

Under the test, the company will assess the feasibility of shallow-set CAN-integrated conductors to potentially replace conventional deeper-set unsupported technology.

Additional phases of the project in future are anticipated to explore the use of the technology to unlock small oil pools to enable cheaper single production well construction, as well as faster and lower cost plugging and abandonment operations.