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Technology Applications

Solid Centralizer

TDTECH Ltd. focuses on solving difficult drilling-related problems. The company’s first products are the Sidewinder solid-body casing centralizer (Fig. 1) and complementary Stop Collar. The tools are cast in high-quality millable carbon steel and are available in sizes from 3½ to 20 in. Special sizes are available. The tools have no voids in which to trap fluid that might otherwise heat, expand, and collapse the casing in high-­pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT), heavy-oil, geothermal, and enhanced-­geothermal-system applications—trapped and heated water may develop pressures up to 12,000 psi. The ridge-­riding collars enable casing to ride over ridges in the wellbore. The tools have exceptionally high radial strength, capable of withstanding the bending-induced normal force of pushing large-diameter casing into a tortuous wellbore. The 18⅝-in. centralizer is designed to withstand a side load of 330,000 lbf. The tools have very high axial compressive strength to enable, in most cases, installation of tools off line. All centralizers are fitted with a grease nipple, and, if greased, the break-over torque typically is halved. Radio-frequency-identification tags can be run on each centralizer. Various data may be loaded including casing tally, heat, or mill-certificate details. When running the casing, a scanner on the rig floor can capture this information.

Wellbore Power Generation

Robbins & Myers Energy Services Group offers the Moyno ElectroFlo generator (Fig. 2) that is powered by a positive-displacement-motor (PDM) downhole power section. The progressing-cavity rotor and elastomeric stator of the PDM power section have been field proved for handling entrained solids in drilling fluids. With a greater tolerance of lost-circulation material, the generator allows for much broader spectra of drilling ­fluids. With a slower rotation, the generator promotes a ­longer life than more-­traditional turbine-­driven generators. The generator is easily adaptable to different flow ranges. Most drilling operations incorporating measurement-while-drilling/logging-while-­drilling instrumentation require electrical power. Traditionally, lithium batteries have been used. This generator offers an alternative by generating the power downhole. As a lithium-­battery alternative, the generator is more environmentally friendly with enhanced safety. The generator provides high output of 200 W (7.1 A at 28 V). It provides great versatility in downhole-tool development, and it mitigates generator heating.

Hard-Band-Wear Protection

Advanced drilling technology and economic pressures are pushing the envelope of drillstring tool-joint life and casing wear. Postle Industries’ Hardbanding Solutions has developed its crack-free casing-friendly Duraband NC hard-banding alloy for reliable wear protection on drillpipe tool joints without damaging the casing. The microstructure consists of a hard tool-steel matrix with a high volume of tightly packed microconstituents. The metallurgy provides wear properties that resist extreme abrasion to protect the tool joint, while minimizing wear on the casing. This hard banding is applied crack free and is 100% rebuildable. It reduces the risk of cracks propagating into the tool joint, which could lead to flaking, spalling, casing wear, or even catastrophic failure. This hard banding can be used for all types of drilling environments, including HP/HT, sour-gas, highly deviated, and geothermal wells. Drilling these types of wells can show excessive wear of the casing. In these types of wells, typical hard-banding products that contain cracks frequently result in spalling and chipping caused by unwanted materials getting into and under the crack. This requires premature removal of the drillpipe for repair and reapplication of the hard band, adding extra costs to the drilling operation.

Improving Core Quality

Corpro is deploying its Thin Sleeve System core-barrel technology into the Gulf of Mexico. Three ultradeepwater operations have been completed in the region. The core barrel improves the quality of coring samples and provides a platform to enhance wellsite processes and core analysis. The 20-ft ultra­stable system delivered better core quality and smoother coring operations than previous 30-ft systems. The system uses two independent inner tubes, a threaded steel jacket, and a disposable liner in which the core is housed. The presence of two independent tubes allows the disconnection process to take place without transmitting the torque to the core, therefore without inducing any rotation core damage. Also, the inner barrel is made of steel with aluminum liners for a much stronger and stiffer coring system. The new core barrel has been used at HP/HT wellsites containing hydrogen sulfide without degrading and stretching. Rig site geologists can lift the top half of the aluminum and describe the core at the wellsite. Typically, the core must be cut into 3-ft sections, packaged, and shipped to shore before anyone gets to view the core.

Chemical-EOR Laboratory

With energy demands growing rapidly, laboratory solutions are investigated to assist crude-oil exploration. Costs increase exponentially along the process from coreflood experimentation to well tests and final deployment. Laboratory experiments maximize the productivity of enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) projects. Detailed laboratory experimentation helps in designing a tailored chemical combination that ensures the highest possible recovery and return on investment. Improved laboratory technologies increase the possibility of successful EOR. Rheological screening of the scientifically generated models helps identify the best polymer solution for polymer flooding. Therefore, increased throughput is important for obtaining more research data and validating product performance. Together with key customers, Anton Paar has implemented automated-­rheological-measurement solutions for chemical EOR. Its HTR high-throughput rheometer (Fig. 3) automates the process of sample preparation, measurement, cleaning of measurement devices, and storage of measurement data. Rheological screening supports chemists in selecting the appropriate polymer and designing the polymer solution to be injected—factors essential to the operational success of EOR.

On-Site Core Analysis

FEI has delivered a QEMSCAN WellSite analysis system (Fig. 4) to Kirk Petrophysics to provide rapid on-site analysis of drill cores. Core analysis is an essential component of formation evaluation to determine the production potential of a well and to manage drilling and completion operations. Having this capability at the wellsite enables reduction of analytical turnaround from several days or weeks to a few hours (after the cores are retrieved from the core barrels or sidewall-coring tools). The system combines scanning electron microscopy and X-ray spectrometry to deliver automated mineralogical analysis. It provides automated microscopic textural details, elemental compositional analysis, and 2D core-porosity analysis that are not available from conventional techniques. The system is designed to withstand the harsh environment of the drilling rig. The compact configuration has a small footprint, and simplified operation reduces the need for operator training and expertise.

Portable Sample Analyzer

Thermo Fisher Scientific has introduced a combination of portable technologies. The Thermo Scientific Ultra Performance Packages combine multiple technologies in a single package for determining light-element concentrations in field-prepared mineral samples. The packages combine a field-portable X-ray fluorescence (FPXRF) analyzer with a larger silicon drift detector (SDD); unique, field-­portable sample-preparation tools; and a helium-purge option. Packages can include a Thermo Scientific XL3t Ultra XRF analyzer (Fig. 5) that is purpose built for exploration analyses, including a large SDD for high-resolution light-­element analyses. The field-portable sample-preparation tools can create powders out of larger rocks and samples to optimize particle distribution and can deliver pressed-pellet samples with the correct presentation and depth for optimal FPXRF analysis. The helium-purge system displaces air in the gaps between the sample and the detector that can make it difficult to detect light elements.