Workover rigs: when and why are they needed in the oilfields

When are Workover Rigs Needed?

Workover rigs are versatile tools in the oil and gas industry, crucial for the maintenance, enhancement, and safe closure of oil and gas wells. Find out when to use them for the best results in your activities:

Well Maintenance and Repairs

Workover rigs are used to carry out repairs and maintenance on wells that are underperforming or have mechanical failures. This includes tasks like replacing downhole pumps, fixing leaks, and clearing obstructions in the wellbore.

Over time, an oil or gas well may face mechanical failures or issues such as clogging, corrosion, or equipment breakdown. Workover rigs are deployed to perform necessary repairs to restore the well’s functionality.

Completion Changes

If the initial completion of a well needs to be changed or if the well needs to be deepened to access additional reservoir zones, a workover rig is necessary to facilitate these modifications.

Sometimes, wells need to be converted from one type to another, such as from gas to oil production, or to inject water or gas to support reservoir pressure. Workover rigs make these conversions possible.

Well Intervention

When a well’s production rate declines due to various subsurface conditions like sand production or water influx, workover rigs are used to carry out interventions to modify the well architecture or to manage the reservoir.

For production enhancement, mobile drilling rigs are employed to enhance oil and gas production from a well. Techniques such as stimulation, fracturing, and adding new perforations to access more reservoirs are common reasons for using a workover rig.

Plug and Abandonment

When a well reaches the end of its productive life, workover rigs are used to plug the well safely and ensure that it is securely abandoned, preventing environmental damage or hazards. If the original wellbore is no longer viable, a workover rig can drill a sidetrack wellbore to bypass the problematic section and access the reservoir from a different point.


Why are Workover Rigs Needed?


Workover rigs are crucial for the ongoing management and optimization of oil and gas wells. They ensure that these wells remain productive, efficient, and safe throughout their operational lifespan.


Safety and Environmental Compliance


Workover rigs play a critical role in assuring safety and environmental compliance in the oil and gas industry. Their operations are designed to mitigate risks, prevent accidents, and minimize environmental impact. Here are the key ways workover rigs contribute to safety and environmental compliance:

  •  Well Integrity Management;  

  • Control Systems; 

  • Emergency Response Preparedness;

  • Regulatory Compliance;

  • Environmental Monitoring; 

  • Training and Procedures; 

  • Technological Innovations;

  • Plugging and Abandonment.

By focusing on these aspects, workover rigs help maintain high standards of safety and environmental stewardship in the challenging contexts of oil and gas extraction and maintenance.


Cost Efficiency


Using workover rigs is often more cost-effective than drilling new wells. By maintaining and enhancing existing wells, companies can maximize the recovery of hydrocarbons from established reservoirs without the higher costs associated with new drill sites. Performing regular maintenance and timely interventions by drill rig services, you can extend the life of a well and maximize the extraction of resources, making operations more efficient, in the long run.

Workover rigs are used for interventions that boost productivity, such as stimulation techniques (like hydraulic fracturing or acidizing) and the installation of artificial lift systems. By increasing the flow rate and recoverable reserves, these operations improve the economic viability of wells. 

Also, sidetracking operations with workover rigs can redirect a well to more productive zones or bypass damaged sections of the original wellbore. This strategy avoids the expense of abandoning a problematic well and drilling a new one entirely. When a well is no longer economically viable, workover rigs are used to properly plug and abandon it, ensuring that all potential liabilities are addressed. This final operation prevents ongoing maintenance costs and potential legal or environmental issues in the future.


Technological Upgrades


Workover rigs are critical in facilitating technological upgrades within oil and gas wells, ensuring that they remain competitive, efficient, and in line with the latest advancements in the industry. Here’s how workover rigs contribute to technological upgrades:

  • Installation of Advanced Equipment;

  • Upgrading Artificial Lift Systems;

  • Enhancing Well Stimulation;

  • Sidetracking and Multilateral Drilling;

  • Implementing Digital Technologies;

  • Energy Efficiency Improvements;

  • Safety Enhancements;

  • Well Integrity Tools.

By facilitating these technological upgrades, workover rigs not only extend the operational life and profitability of existing oil and gas wells but also ensure they operate within the latest environmental and safety standards. This capability is essential for the industry’s adaptation to evolving technological, regulatory, and market conditions. As a leader in construction of mobile drilling rigs in Romania and the region, UPET provides mobile workover rigs equipment for oilfields, adapted to various projects and industries.

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