Santos GLNG has found a new way to build its gas well pads that reduces the impact to landholders’ properties and leads to huge efficiency gains.
The construction of a well site begins with a well pad, where the drilling rig sits and drills a well to extract gas. Collected gas is then piped to compressor stations for treatment.
Previously, all well pads were levelled and top soil removed. The new method does not level flat sites (slopes of less than five per cent), which means top soil stays in place and the sites can be rehabilitated faster.
Rig matting is laid around each well to protect the ground and vegetation and to provide a safe grip surface for workers. Once rig mats are removed, grass begins to spring up soon after the first rain.
Santos GLNG Field Environmental Adviser Vanessa Keogh said only one access road was required at these sites, and the roads themselves used less gravel.
“We wanted to find ways to reduce the area that is disturbed through drilling,” Vanessa said.
“The whole rehabilitation process begins much more quickly and there is much less intervention required to successfully rehabilitate the site.”
Santos GLNG Senior Landholder Adviser Beau Grummitt said reports from landholders about the minimum disturbance lease wells had been overwhelmingly positive.
“Overall, the response from landholders has been fantastic because of the reduced impact on their land and the faster rehabilitation,” Beau said.
Not only does the well site innovation deliver on Santos GLNG’s commitment to reducing the company’s environmental footprint and the impact for landholders, it has produced significant operational efficiencies.
A minimum disturbance lease rig can be constructed in about four to five days compared to two and a half weeks for a conventional well lease rig, and rehabilitation costs also decrease.
Although the new method can only be used for single well pad sites at this stage, it will mean significant benefits for the environment, landholders and Santos GLNG both now and into the future.