In oil and mineral exploration, the term “wireline” dates back to early 19th century, when brothers Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger got interested in earth sciences and developed a specific interest in examining metal ores. They discovered that metal ore can be distinguished from its surroundings by measuring electrical conductivity, since metal-bearing rock would have higher conductivity than other rocks around.
Conceptualized and developed by the Schlumberger brothers in 1927, wireline logs compute formation properties in wells through electrical wire lines. Wireline logs provide constant downhole measurements transferred through electrical wirelines for geologists, engineers, and drillers to make critical decisions about drilling operations in real time.
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Wireline logs can compute resistivity, formation pressures, sonic properties, conductivity, and wellbore dimensions.
Wireline Services Crucial for Time-Sensitive Earth Exploration Data
With evolution of the technology, in modern times, wireline refers to cabling technology used by oil and gas wells operators to lower measurement equipment into and transmit data about wellbore conditions. Hence, the technology is used for well intervention, reservoir estimation, and pipe recovery.
Wireline services provide critical subsurface information in real time for field engineers to control various process parameters. The technology offers unparalleled flexibility to meet operational and budgetary objectives for all types of reservoirs.
Based on a recent market study by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the following are the ways in which wireline services have revolutionized the oil and gas industry:
- Slickline services are used to place and recover wellbore equipment to and from the reservoir. Hence, at offshore locations, slicklines in the form of braided lines are used to place blowout preventers (BOP) and other assistive equipment into the well.
- Slickline services, with the aid of well logging and intervention processes, are vital to maintaining well production levels. Slicklines are also used for extracting log samples from wellbores for visual inspection. For such reasons, slickline services accounted for 71.13% of the overall wireline services market, by product type, in 2013.
- Offshore hydrocarbon reserves would provide opportunities for electric line services in the coming years, as these reserves require continuous assessment through electric tools.
- Well intervention is carried out for estimating the feasibility of secondary recovery procedures for mature hydrocarbon wells. The operation improves performance by extending the operational lifetime of mature wells. In spite of the advantage, the well intervention segment held the lowest share of the total market in 2013.
- The well completion application employs wireline services to perform a series of operations and safe installation. As such, the application segment held 64.95% of the total market in 2013.
- North America represents the largest market for wireline services, where the U.S., followed by Canada, is the key country in the regional wireline services market.
- Exploration and production of shale gas on a large scale in Canada offers immense opportunities for wireline services in the country.
- Conventional hydrocarbon reserves in the South China Sea and untapped reserves in India and China will open growth avenues for the wirelines services market in Asia Pacific.
- Presence of large offshore oil wells in Brazil and potential shale gas development in Argentina by 2017 will positively impact demand for electric line and slickline services in the region.
- Upcoming projects for both onshore and offshore exploration in Europe and the Middle East and Africa will be favorable for the wireline services market.
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