Photo: Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes lands first vessel-deployed subsea mechanical wellhead cut

Baker Hughes has launched its vessel-deployed subsea wellhead cutting system – the Terminator.

Using a first-of-its-kind mechanical wellhead removal method, the system has already proven its capabilities on Wintershall DEA abandoned exploration well in Norway.

Romain Chambault, Europe vice president for oilfield equipment at Baker Hughes, said:

“In the current environment, every aspect of operations is under the spotlight.

“We see unavoidable costs for our customers, like wellhead removal, as opportunities to build new efficiencies into operations.

“The Terminator system is a game-changer for our industry, saving time, costs and fuel consumption to improve operators’ efficiencies and their carbon footprint.”

Baker Hughes worked with Wintershall DEA to execute this operation in 360-metre water depth in only 35 minutes.

Alternative abrasive cutting methods could take as long as five or six hours for the cut alone, BH explains.

The Terminator system can be deployed from a vessel and uses a mechanical cutter, rather than water jet cutting methods of conventional systems, to eliminate associated risks with high pressures.

In addition, according to BH, the system can reduce offshore personnel by two-thirds compared to conventional systems, requiring just two people instead of the typical six for water cutters.

The Terminator system can reduce fuel consumption with its 100-horsepower motor and is also smaller and lighter compared to the original 1000-horsepower abrasive water cutting system on similar types of vessel-based operations.

The company said that Terminator technology is another example of its commitment to leading in the energy transition by helping customers decarbonize oil and gas operations.

Tore Oian, Drilling Manager for Wintershall DEA, said:

“While working with Baker Hughes on this project, we selected the Terminator system because of the lower CO2 impact it had on the environment.

“In addition, the solution required a minimum amount of deck space and only needed a crew of two people which gave us much more flexibility when selecting the vessel and reduced the mobilisation time, considerably. Altogether, this was the best technical, environmental and economical solution for our operation.”

The total operation with Wintershall DEA, from deck deployment to laying down the Terminator system, took just two and a half hours – saving the operator up to 12 hours compared to conventional systems. After the cut, the same vessel removed the subsea wellhead, conductor and spudcan in a separate run.

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