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”.
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.”
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 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.
Sinomine Specialty Fluids (formerly Cabot Specialty Fluids) has signed a significant framework agreement with Equinor for supply of ‘cesium drilling and completion fluids’ to the company’s operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The contract incorporates total fluid management including related engineering, laboratory and reclamation services, and runs until 31 May 2022 with options for five two-year extensions. It reaffirms Equinor’s long-standing commitment to cesium formate and has a potential value in excess of US$40 million through to 2022.
Christian Busengdal, Sinomine Specialty Fluids’ Business Director for Europe, says: “Our team are thrilled to receive this new long-term frame agreement and to continue playing a part in Equinor’s success. Since 2001, with our involvement in the Huldra field, through Kvitebjørn, Gudrun, Visund, Vega, Gullfaks and several others, we’ve seen cesium formate increase operational efficiency and safely deliver highly productive wells for Equinor. It’s very rewarding to see an operator truly recognise the combined value of drilling and completing in cesium formate fluids.”
Currently, Equinor’s planning teams are considering cesium formate for Martin Linge, Snorre, Visund and Gullfaks Satellite fields, with other projects in the pipeline.