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Technology Applications

Slimhole Measurement While Drilling

Delivering real-time information while drilling is critical in land, extended-reach, and deepwater wells. Schlumberger’s DigiScope slimhole measurement-while-drilling (MWD) service (Fig. 1) provides robust telemetry-while-drilling measurements to enable a full suite of real-time data transmissions from complex bottomhole-­assembly (BHA) designs. The strong signal transmits high-quality real-time data to the surface, enabling real-time reservoir description and geosteering faster than traditional MWD services. The high-speed telemetry service provides high-resolution petrophysical and reservoir data at bit rates up to 36 b/sec while minimizing rate-of-penetration (ROP) restriction. A two-stage turbine generates high power, allowing the system to run the company’s complete slimhole logging-while-drilling (LWD) offering simultaneously. This high-power capability also provides flexibility when combining multiple LWD tools in the BHA above and below the new slimhole MWD tool to better achieve formation-­evaluation objectives while acquiring wellbore surveys and azimuthal gamma ray, internal and annular pressure (including pumps-off pressure measurement), and shock and vibration data. This service is the first to apply a unique modulation algorithm called smooth phase-shift keying (SPSK) for communicating across great distances. The tool’s modulator electronics used to support SPSK allows the modulator to maintain high resolution and deliver a wealth of data points at high ROP. This powerful signal strength results in acquiring more data faster in the most challenging applications.

Drilling-Control System

Integrated Drilling Equipment Company launched its second-generation Centurion drilling-control system (Fig. 2). The system was installed on a new, 1,500-hp Sparta rig. The system uses an open-architecture software platform to put real-time information and control in the hands of the drilling contractor, operator, and service companies. The open-architecture software interface enables adding, swapping, and upgrading controls. Use of this type of platform enables service companies to use specialized applications for control of the autodriller and pressure-control aspects of rigs. The use of customer-supplied applications enables optimal ROP while maintaining zone management and personnel and machinery safety. The system does not use proprietary networks or software. Consequently, customers may spearhead troubleshooting and the integration of customized features while retaining access to the manufacturer’s technical support. The package for the Lewis Rig 38 will be fully loaded with all available options. Options include an integrated self-­aligning satellite system with high-speed broad­band; off-site access to all systems; full communication systems with Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone and talkback service, Internet Protocol camera, and digital-video-recording system; fire and gas detection; real-time logging; Coriolis meters for real-time drilling-fluid density, mass-flow, and temperature and pressure readings; and off-site data collection and reporting.

Microseismic Fracture Matching

Halliburton’s Foray 3D-microseismic fracture-matching-analysis service is available as a real-time application. A component of the company’s Knoesis service, the fracture-matching-­analysis service provides a method of fracture diagnostics that uses microseismic-event data while they are generated to develop an image of the fracture network being created in the formation (Fig. 3). Advanced algorithms continuously analyze the constant flow of new data and update the fracture-network image being created with new or higher-confidence-interval planes as the analyst monitors the treatment. The information generated with this service can be leveraged to design treatments that provide increased connected-fracture area. Fracture treatments that maximize the connected-fracture area provide greater increases in production. Real-time analysis provides the technical team with the knowledge needed to make changes to treatments during the job. To produce the shale formations, complex fractures are needed. Every fracturing treatment can be tailored for maximum effectiveness. Making changes to treatments during the job is particularly important for fracturing treatments in shale formations.

Mobile Auger/Cuttings Tank

Environmental Drilling Solutions has launched its Mobile Auger Cuttings Tank (Fig. 4). The tank was designed to foster a safer, more efficient drilling environment. The use of this tank eliminates the need for personnel, track hoes, backhoes, or hydraulic buckets to remove cuttings from a tank and carry them to the cuttings-drying apparatus or trucks for disposal. The tank volume is 265 bbl. The dual augers are driven by separate drive systems allowing the augers to be rotated independently. Simple auger removal enables repair or replacement. The hanger system is adjustable, and the boom can be stored during transportation of the cuttings tank.

High-Temperature Progressing-Cavity Pump

Robbins & Myers Energy Services Group has introduced the Moyno HTD660 downhole pump (Fig. 5). The high-­temperature downhole pumps provide solutions in high-temperature applications that previously prevented the use of downhole progressing-­cavity pumps (PCPs). The PCP has undergone extensive research and development and thorough in-field testing. This pump uses metal-to-metal rotor/stator technology. The stator does not include elastomer. These PCPs can handle downhole temperatures to 660°F. The closely controlled tolerance of the metal-to-metal rotor/stator clearance provides superior performance, and it produces low levels of vibration that are comparable to those of conventional downhole PCPs. These PCPs are suited to handle the hot oil encountered during ­thermal-recovery methods such as steam-assisted gravity drainage and cyclic-steam stimulation. This new model has a pumping-rate capacity of 1,300-BFPD per 100‑rev/min and is capable of lifting fluid 2,200 ft.

Thermal Technology for Old Wells

TCTM has patented a technology that results in five- to ten-times faster oil production. The Binary Mixtures technology involves heating the formation by up to 500°C. Extreme heat makes the oil less viscous and easier to extract. In fracture-stimulated wells, the process cleans the skin layer and removes much of the water, protecting the productive layer from further damage. The gases and compound traces released into the Earth and air are all harmless. It is also less expensive compared with hydraulic-­fracturing or steam-assisted-gravity-drainage methods. The 60 test wells were old and most were already shut in and written off. In two large shut-in Lukoil wells, an incremental 1400 t of oil was extracted in the first 90 days. After 1 year, the wells were still producing at higher-than-original levels. Currently they are training staff and preparing for widespread implementation.

Real-Time Monitoring and Data Acquisition

The DrillASSURE system from Pulse Structural Monitoring, an Acteon company, provides enhanced real-time monitoring and data acquisition for wellhead and conductor fatigue. The system is designed to ensure the structural integrity of the drilling riser and wellhead system by measuring riser and riser-stack motion response. Real-time direct access to the riser-response data is available without recovering the instruments, enabling operators to view and analyze information instantly (Fig. 6). The tool mitigates risk of damage to the riser and wellhead during riser installation and retrieval, and it tracks fatigue loading on the wellhead and conductor, thereby extending asset life. The system also improves understanding of the relationship between riser response and environmental loading, thus increasing confidence and assurance to maximize drilling uptime. It also helps drillers reduce unnecessary costs and operational downtime by optimizing maintenance and inspection activities, and it provides an important operational safety tool, supplying critical information needed to improve decision making.

RFID Drilling-Circulation Sub

Weatherford has developed its newest radio-frequency-identification (RFID) -enabled technology, the RFID drilling-circulation subassembly (Fig. 7). The subassembly is a remotely actuated circulation device used to simplify drilling and hole-cleanup operations. The device uses RFID technology to communicate open and close commands. When an operator needs to move the subassembly from the closed position to either of the two open positions (open and diverted), an RFID tag is dropped from surface and circulated internally through the subassembly. The signal is received by an antenna built into the tool, and a battery-powered electric motor operates a hydraulic pump, which moves the valve to the requested preprogrammed position. This technology transforms conventional methods by allowing drilling to continue without the need for ball seats that reduce the inside diameter, thus making the process more efficient. This technology is especially beneficial when multiple tools are run, in which case the lowermost ball seat would be a major restriction if ball seats were used. The RFID-­activated circulation valve logs all downhole events within the subassembly’s internal memory. This information can be downloaded and accessed in less than an hour. The RFID drilling-circulation subassembly includes a range of additional improvements, such as reverse circulation, full-diameter through-bore access, and robust design that encourages productivity and reliability for operators. Additional technology (pressure cycling) is incorporated in the subassembly design, which enables alternative communication if pumping an RFID tag is impossible.

Antifouling Film

Micanti B.V., a Maritime Technology Company, has applied its nontoxic antifouling film on the crew vessel Lady Rasha in Dubai (Fig. 8). Thorn-D is an adhesive foil with fibers that create a textured surface. Instead of killing marine growth, the textured foil prevents it from attaching to the hull of a ship. Antifouling foil can replace generally used chemical coatings on hulls of ships. Compared with other antifouling products, antifouling foil is not a chemical-coating product and does not need regular replacement. The antifouling foil is a physical barrier to fouling and has an expected lifetime of at least 5 years. The antifouling foil is  an easy-to-apply self-adhesive foil that was developed and produced with Avery Dennison. The physical nature of the product ensures environmental friendliness. The antifouling foil has been tested and continuously improved over several years in various environments. This testing has been performed in close cooperation with various scientific institutes and universities.