Wells are essential in oil and gas production and construction of them is one of the main cost drivers for field development. It is normally needed to drill and construct new wells from existing fields during most of the production time. In order to reduce costs one can re-use parts of existing wells when they are no longer efficient. This is done in offshore fields also when there is limitation for new wells due to capacity of the subsea template. Through tubing drilling is a method to drill a side track through the wellbore tubulars. However, this will normally result in a smaller and less effective well completion.

Removing parts of the casing section and drill a larger size sidetrack is an option to provide a new full-size wellbore. Removing the 9 5/8” casing through the settled particle in the annulus can be challenging. The wellbore annulus is normally filled with old drilling fluid, displacing fluid and/or cement slurry. The solid particles of these annular fluids are settled during years of shut-in and make it difficult to move the casing sections. There are several techniques for pulling the casing section, but there is a lack of knowledge of some of the key mechanism causing the resistance in these operations.

In order to study and address the dominating effects in these operations, down-scaled laboratory tests are performed. The experiments reported here are performed by pulling steel pipes through the settled barite in the annulus. The pipes used in the tests are down-scaled from typical casing sizes with and without collars. The barite slurry compacted inside the annulus have different hydrostatic and pore pressures. When the pipe is pulled the required mechanical force is measured.

Results show that the single most significant factor causing resistance when pulling the tubulars is the collars outside the pipe. Furthermore, it is identified that the pore pressure improves the mobility of the settled particle around the collar. In total these results provide improved understanding on the dominating factors during pulling pipes from a packed annulus.

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