Heritage of excellence across well services provides foundation for continued innovation and success

Published 13.02.2024

Proven pedigree and innovative solutions hold the key to meeting challenges ahead, writes Stuart Florance, VP Business Improvement with energy services company Odfjell Technology (OTL)

Oil and gas well services – from drilling tools to tubular running and intervention – have evolved in step with the demands and expectations of an industry laser-focused on economics, safety and efficiency.

Over the last 50 years, the market segment has refined its technology, honed its innovations and expanded its offering, to establish a safe and reliable range of services that meets the needs of clients and customers around the globe and in all parts of the industry.

From their earliest focus on exploration off Norway and in the North Sea, to the rigless intervention and hands-free Tubular Running Services (TRS) that are the cutting-edge of today’s technology, Odfjell Technology have been the star that will continue to shine in the face of economic and technical challenges.

Companies like Odfjell Technology, which was spun off from Odfjell Drilling in March 2022, understand the heritage, imperatives and possibilities that represent the heart and soul of modern well services – with all that means in terms of reputation, respect and tradition.

On the cutting edge

The well services story is equal parts industry demand and appetite for growth. Operators required expertise and technology that reflected core values built around a culture of safety, while contractors were eager to supply an increasing portfolio of solutions to meet the evolving needs of an oil and gas business moving at scale into ever deeper waters, harsher environments and fresh geologies.

Drilling tool rental was in many ways the driver for the original boom and this has come full circle with the industry’s renewed focus on the circular economy and energy transition. Today, best practice is focused on availability and quality, supported by advice and customer service; that in turn is bolstered by fresh investment in innovation and bespoke solutions.

TRS has also long been a critical aspect of oil and gas exploration and well construction.  Remotely-operated and hands-free systems represent an increasing share of the market, which can be broken down into top-drive casing running services, casing drilling services and accessories, and integrated TRS.

In addition to being the market leader in Norway for more than three decades now, in the Netherlands, for example, Odfjell Technology worked with the countries major producers for 15 years across more than 1,500 TRS jobs both onshore and offshore. This included hands-free TRS on multiple rigs including key products such as CRTi & Scissor tables in combination with drilling tool rentals across drillpipe, drillcollars and subs. As part of the long-lasting relationship, Odfjell established a base in the country in 2005 and will shortly celebrate 20 years continued operations there.

And of course well intervention has become a key element of our wider business as operators seek to maximise returns from existing assets – whether this be wellbore clean-up, fishing and remedial services, casing exit or plug and abandonment (P&A). Modular and rigless solutions are at the cutting-edge in this segment, building on the expertise and experience that make it possible to increase production, reduce emissions and streamline economics.

Expertise in action

The lineage of Odfjell Technology is illustrative of the industry’s journey.

Odfjell Rental was created in Stavanger the mid-1970s to meet the demands for drilling equipment from the growing fleet of H-3 rigs across the Norwegian Continental Shelf and North Sea, with bases established in the UK soon after.

In 1982 the company invested in Tubular Running Services and over the next 20 years operations and expertise expanded into UK, Continental Europe, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia – by which time it had become Odfjell Well Services (OWS).

A footprint was established in the Middle East in the 1990s via the acquisition of NTera. Wellbore clean-up and fishing services were added to the product portfolio and subsequently sparked both in-house engineering and development.

In the years since, OTL has continually demonstrated an ability to capture and retain contracts with some of the biggest key customers around the world.  A broad portfolio of contracts with substantial backlog ensures their position as a trusted partner.  A mixture of multi-year TRS, fishing, casing exit and wellbore clean up contracts are held in all major countries of operation; Norway, UK, Romania, Turkmenistan, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.  Inventories of premium drillpipe, tubulars, drilling tools and handling equipment are strategically located in regional bases ensuring availability and efficient logistics for our customers.

In early 2023 OWS became the Well Services Business Area of Odfjell Technology in a move that underscored both the capabilities and experience of the proven, global service and the benefits of the unique integrated model Odfjell Technology is able to offer the market.

Eyes on the future

The role of well services will continue to evolve in the face of changing priorities in the oil and gas industry.  P&A is an area where demand is growing rapidly and challenges include the wide range of assets involved – with different well constructions and materials, varying downhole geologies, neighbouring infrastructure and ever present unknowns.

And because the segment can represent as much as 45% of total decommissioning costs, it is crucial that P&A is tackled with a premium on economy without sacrificing safety or environmental security.

Preparation based on trusted resources and technology plays a key role in that process, ensuring the establishment of those critical barriers that assure integrity and are executed with the greatest efficiencies.

Integration at the crew level – with cross-trained, multi-skilled personnel – will always be core under those circumstances. Another key for P&A is to de-risk operations based on the right technology choice, whether casing cutting, retrieval, milling and barrier selection and placement.

Emerging sectors also present a challenge and opportunity for well services products and technology. The continued rise of geothermal technologies, the growth of the nascent hydrogen economy, the faith in carbon capture and storage – all require the dependable, experienced expertise offered by companies including Odfjell Technology.

Trusted partners

The provision of well services has evolved and developed within the oil and gas industry over the last 50 years, meeting ongoing demands for excellence while also anticipating changes in market dynamics and meeting generational challenges.

Operators around the globe rely on trusted partners who can bring the best technology into play – often with an equipment-agnostic philosophy – execute efficiently with confidence, and deliver results from the cutting edge.

Odfjell Technology understands that landscape. The company has 12 base locations around the world serving over 200 customers in 27 countries; employs nearly 600 people in its well services team as part of a wider workforce totalling more than 2000 and has developed cutting edge tools including the DrillRdillo scraper, UltraMag casing magnet and RizeRdillo advanced jetting tool.

Because delivery of well services are above all else about trust.  About companies with which operators want to do business; about equipment that translates directly into better results day-in and day-out and about the confidence that derives from a distinct culture and heritage of excellence.

The next chapter of the well services story is already being written, with those underlying principles to the fore. Odfjell Technology plans to be at the heart of the action for decades to come.


Stuart Florance

VP Business Improvement Well Services

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