How Do Wirelines & Slicklines Works?

Wirelines & Slicklines

Tools inserted into the well for both reconditioning and logging efforts, wirelines and slicklines are very comparable devices. While a slickline is a thin wire injected into a well to provide and recover down hole tools, a cable is an electrical cable used to lower tools and transmit data on wellbore conditions. These are usually made of braided cables; the wires are also used for wire logging.


Slickline refers to a single-stranded wire that is used to run tools in the wellbore for many purposes. It is used in the oil and gas industry, but also describes the niche of the industry that involves the use of a slickline truck or doing a slickline job. It is used to place and recover wellbore equipment, such as plugs, gauges and valves, slip lines are single-strand non-electrical cables that are lowered into oil and gas wells from the surface. Slickines can also be used to adjust down hole valves and sleeves, as well as to repair tubes in the wellbore.

Wrapped around a drum at the back of a truck, the slickline is lifted and lowered into the well by winding it and pulling it down hydraulically.


A wireline service is the wiring system used by operators to lower equipment, wired tools or meters into a wellbore. A cable consists of braided wires used for the recovery of pipes, for evaluation, intervention or maintenance purposes.

On the other hand, the cables are electrical cables that transmit data to the well. Made up of single strands or multiple strands, the cable is used for intervention and training evaluation operations. In other words, wired networks are useful for collecting well data in logging activities, as well as in re-packaging tasks requiring data transmission.

Wireline Logs

Developed for the first time by Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger in 1927, wire logs measure the properties of formation in a well through electrical wire lines. Different from MWD registers and mud registers, wired logs are constant down hole measurements sent via the power cable used to help geologists, drillers and engineers make real-time decisions about drilling operations. Wire logs can measure the resistivity, conductivity, and formation pressure, as well as the sound properties and dimensions of boreholes.

The logging tool, also called a probe, is located at the bottom of the cable. Measurements are taken by lowering the cable to the prescribed depth and then pulling it out of the well. Measurements are taken continuously uphill, in an effort to maintain tension on the line. 

Well Intervention

An intervention conducted on an oil or gas well during or at the end of its productive life alters the state of well or well geometry, allows the well to be well diagnosed or managed well.

Workover Operations 

When well production requires repair work to maintain, restore or improve production, this is called workover. Many times, repackaging operations require a shutdown, but not always. In reconditioning operations, a well maintenance unit is used to hoist objects inside and outside the wellbore. The wire employed to raise and lower the equipment may be a braided steel wire rope or a smooth steel line. Reconditioning operations may include well cleaning, plugging, production logging, and perforation through explosives.


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