20 in 20: Sinomine Specialty Fluids marks two decades serving NCS operators

Bergen, Norway – 29 October 2020

This year, Sinomine Specialty Fluids celebrated its 20-year anniversary serving energy companies operating on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

It’s a good time to pause and look back over the last two decades. So how did Sinomine in Norway start? Christian Busengdal, Business Director Europe at Sinomine Specialty Fluids, explains: “It was about safety. Equinor was beginning its campaign on Huldra. The plan was to drill and complete the first well in openhole with stand-alone screens in oil-based mud. However, barite sag from the OBM led to a severe kick, while running the sand screens downhole. Equinor needed a high-density, sag-free fluid and turned to cesium formate. A brave decision, in fact, as no one had drilled with cesium formate at that time. Equinor successfully drilled and completed the well in cesium formate fluids with no further well control incidents and went on to drill and complete five more Huldra wells in the same fluid without any issues. Our supply base and offices at Ågotnes, near Bergen, were established the same year and the Huldra success led to further investments. Since then, we have gradually extended our capacity and capabilities to create a formate fluids regional supply hub for the oil and gas industry".

Understanding formates

Over the years reprocessing capacity grew, laboratory services were added and technical support was increased. More companies – BP, ConocoPhillips, DONG Energy, Lundin, Shell and Total – joined Equinor in deploying cesium formate offshore Norway. Experience of formate fluids grew with the increasing number of jobs, resulting in cesium formate being used in other applications, such as cased and perforated completions, suspensions, workovers and interventions. This greater knowledge of formate fluids led to an interesting turn of events. Christian Busengdal continues: “The more indepth and detailed our understanding of cesium formate fluids and their unique set of properties became, the more we realised that the key to optimal fluid formulations lay in simplicity. Our fluids need few or no additives to perform. The alkaline, monovalent and non-damaging nature of cesium formate, together with low water activity and anti-oxidant properties, give it the ability to solve a range of challenges from high pressures and temperatures to difficult shales and narrow drilling windows.”

Sinomine has supplied cesium formate fluids to over 30 Gullfaks and Gullfaks Satellite operations since 2003.

Drilling and completing in the same cesium formate fluid

The most rewarding part of working with cesium formate fluids is seeing their ability to tie together drill-in and completion operations. “These multi-application jobs on fields such as Huldra, Kvitebjørn, Martin Linge and Vega, are the most satisfying as we tend to work closer with the customer and they get to see the full operational benefits of cesium formate fluids, such as faster operations, seamless transition from drilling to completion, no cleanup and maximised production. We’re being asked more often to get involved in the early field development stages by customers, which enables us to contribute our expertise to help optimise operations. It’s all very inspiring”, says Christian.

Sinomine services NCS operators from its Bergen base.

Looking ahead

Sinomine is exploring new applications for cesium and potassium formate with operators and is continuously looking for ways to widen the market for cesium formate fluids. “We are naturally proud of our 20 years in Norway and look forward to the time ahead. We have a very skilled and dedicated team, which makes it a pleasure to come to work every day – or not with the current situation of course. But when the pandemic is over, we plan to celebrate our twenty-year anniversary properly,” concludes Christian.

Download our 20-year anniversary timeline infographic here.

Christian Busengdal, Business Director Europe,
Sinomine Specialty Fluids.