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Plexus Holdings Plc. received £260,000 ($330,000) in funding from Maersk Oil North Sea UK Ltd. towards a joint industry project (JIP) to develop a 20,000-psi, high-pressure, high-temperature (HP-HT) mudline-tieback wellhead system.
Testing and manufacturing of the prototype is underway with final deployment and commercialization targeted for mid-2012.
The tieback-system design, which will utilize Plexus’ metal-to-metal HG® seals, will allow HP/HT exploration wells and pre-drilled production wells to be converted into either subsea or platform producing wells, according to the company.
These wells, which have an estimated cost of between £50 million ($63.5 million) and £300 million ($381 million), are currently abandoned after drilling and to date there is no other technology in the market which can save or convert such wells.
In addition, the HP-HT mudline-tieback technology has the potential to shorten the development cycle of an oil and gas field by several years and in turn provide further substantial financial benefits, since it would allow the pre-drilling of production wells before a production platform is installed.
HG seals are high-grade metal seals that can be set directly between a hanger and the bore of the wellhead. No separate annular packoff is required, saving costs, reducing installation time and enhancing reliability, stated Plexus.