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Technology Applications

HP/HT Consistometer

Fann Instrument has introduced its Model 290 HPHT Consistometer (Fig. 1) that is rated to 30,000 psi and 400°F and was designed to meet American Petroleum Institute (API) Specification 10A and American National Standards Institute/API 10A/ISO 10426-1-2001. While it is designed for cement slurries, the effects of pressure, time, and temperature can be observed for other fluids, emulsions, dispersions, or slurries under static or dynamic conditions. There are many choices for configuring cement-­slurry devices. This instrument exposes a cement-slurry sample to a controlled set of parameters of temperature, agitation, and pressure that simulate downhole conditions. During a test, these para­meters are monitored and controlled by proprietary control-system software. A flat-panel, high-resolution touch screen provides the user/software interface. The screen provides real-time viewing of temperature, pressure, and consistency data in graphic and text formats. Data are recorded to a database for future analysis to help predict downhole performance. The instrument uses distributed processing, based on National Instruments’ RIO platform, so that the system can continue to run tests even if a computer crashes. A collection of processors enables capturing calibration routines, customizing settings, and capturing more-frequent event recordings (six/minute). Software wizards guide users through all tasks before test runs can be started.

Focused Sampling

Baker Hughes announced its RCX Sen­tinel focused-sampling service that collects and validates data necessary for reservoir characterization, reducing the risk of subsequent intervention or
­production-facility redesign. The ­wireline-deployed service enables operators to capture cleaner formation-fluid samples in less than half the time required for conventional fluid-sampling methods. The formation-testing probe has two isolated fluid streams (Fig. 2) to focus formation fluids into a sample inlet while extracting more of the contaminated ­fluids through a separate inlet. Fluid focusing is attained by real-time monitoring of high-­resolution pressure gauges and independent control of two pumps connected to separate flow areas within the concentric packer. The modular design allows conveyance of up to 52 sample chambers in a single run. By optimizing the flow rates at the sandface, the RCX Sentinel service isolates the contaminated fluid into the perimeter inlet and allows cleaner fluid to pass to the inner flow area, reducing stationary time while obtaining pristine samples. Dual independent fluid analyzers control the sampling operation precisely and ensure that high-­quality samples are secured in the shortest time possible. The service is deployable in wells with temperatures and pressures up to 375°F and 25,000 psi, respectively.

Sliding-Friction Testing

Brookfield Engineering introduced its TA-SFJ Sliding-Friction Jig (Fig. 3) for measuring the coefficient of friction between two materials by sliding them against each other. One material is affixed to the base plate of the test fixture, and the other material is wrapped around a weight, which is pulled across the first material at constant speed. The test apparatus uses the Brookfield CT3 Tester to pull the weight in a horizontal direction so that the sliding friction between the two materials is measured accurately over a distance that is sufficient to verify steady-state behavior. The friction jig is used to measure tactile qualities such as smoothness, slipperiness, or stickiness. Applications include lubricants, grease, and types of coatings. The tester is a standalone instrument for physical testing, and it operates in compression and tension modes. The TexturePro CT software enables automating test procedures for generating analytical data.

Multiple Simulation Realizations

The latest release—Ver. 4.2—of ­Schlumberger’s MEPO multiple-­realization optimizer has several ­workflow-guidance measures designed to streamline the reservoir-engineering work process. These measures include a fully redesigned cycle panel presenting key information, the ability to set a cycle objective and simulator, and the ability to import input-parameter and base-case files automatically. Users benefit from a new simulation-control center (recommending the best optimization methods and direction), new response para­meters, and a result-image gallery. Improved sensitivity analysis (to define the influence of input parameters on response parameters) helps users decide which uncertainties to prioritize. New history-conditioned forecasting combines history matching and forecasting through improved proxy-modeling techniques and advanced Markov-chain Monte-Carlo-based workflows. The software automates and intelligently designs reservoir-simulation runs (Fig. 4), helping users achieve faster more-reliable results from multiple realizations, and manage the analysis of tens of para­meters simultaneously. Users can optimize any reservoir model for any objective, including cumulative production, number of wells, net present value, injection volumes, gas lift, and enhanced oil recovery. Engineers can implement tightly integrated workflows driven by the optimizer with the Petrel E&P software platform, and the Eclipse and Intersect reservoir simulators.

PDC Technology

Ulterra has introduced its CounterForce polycrystalline-diamond-compact (PDC) bit design (Fig. 5) that uses a cutter configuration that reduces bit torque and vibration to create more-efficient rock failure. The cutters of this patent-pending PDC-bit technology work together to decrease lateral vibration and increase crack propagation. The bit’s cutting structure is engineered to slice through rock while maintaining a more-consistent torque signature to increase stability and rate of penetration (ROP). This technology improves drilling efficiency and is being incorporated into many of the company’s PDC bit designs. Early field runs indicate that U519M bits, designed with this technology, drilled with improved tool-face control and higher sliding ROP. In the tangent drillout interval of an Eagle Ford field well, this bit technology set a rig ROP record, drilling 41% faster than the closest offset. In a Permian Basin Wolfcamp lateral, use of this bit technology enabled finishing the lateral with 42% faster ROP than direct offsets. This technology consistently reduces torque and vibration problems, and it improves directional performance.

Measuring Gas Flow and Composition

Quantitech has launched its Voxtrac flowmeters that use in-pipe speed-of-sound gas-flow monitoring technology (Fig. 6) that can measure gas composition or purity. This measurement is not affected by the gas composition, temperature, density, viscosity, or pressure, and there is no obstruction at the measurement point. When the speed of sound in a gas is measured along the flow path in both directions simultaneously, the difference in the measured velocities is proportional to the gas velocity along the pipe. If the gas temperature is expected to fluctuate, an automatic compensation is applied. Measurements taken at 100 mbar are feasible, and flow rates between 0.01 and 288 m3/d are possible in pipes up to 200 mm in diameter. For qualitative monitoring of single gases, any change in the speed-of-sound measurement will indicate that the purity of the gas has changed. For mixtures of two gases, the speed of sound is a combination of the two main gas components, so there is a simple calculation to derive the proportion of each component.

Deepwater Connection

TenarisHydril Wedge 623 connection (Fig. 7) was developed to comply with recent changes in deepwater operating requirements in the Gulf of Mexico. The new connection has an additional external metal-to-metal seal that provides compression ratings of 80 to 86% efficiency in an integral connection. The new connection has sealing capabilities and compression ratings that make it suitable for severe deepwater and high-pressure applications. It has been tested under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 13679 CAL I-E testing protocol and meets additional operator requirements for survival loads in line with API RP96 criteria. The connection uses the company’s Dopeless technology, which enhances its performance and reliability and provides operational; well-productivity; and health, safety, and environmental benefits. The connection has a 100% external pressure seal. It has an outside-diameter (OD) clearance of 1.5 to 2% of specified nominal-pipe-body OD for high-clearance applications. The connection has exceptional torque capability and compression efficiency developed through the simultaneous engagement of opposing flanks of the dovetail thread. There are no drift restrictions after overtorque. The 100% internal-pressure-­rated metal seal maintains gas-sealing capability under high axial loads.

Downhole Hammer

Atlas Copco Secoroc has patented a method for directional pneumatic drilling. The new method increases penetration rates, reduces vibrations, decreases equipment damage, and enhances bit performance. With the new method, excess flow is released through one or more jet subs (Fig. 8) above the bottomhole assembly. This manages airflow through the motor when the hammer is in operation and allows the bit to turn at the correct speed. Without the use of a jet sub, the flow required to clean the hole effectively had to pass through the hammer/motor assembly, which caused the motor to overrotate, resulting in inefficient drilling with excessive wear and damage to the bit. Modifications incorporated into the company’s Model TD 90 DT, QL120 DT, and QL60 HF HC hammers keep the hammers’ flow/pressure profiles the same on bottom as off-bottom, to maintain constant rotation speeds. Constant rotation speed prevents whipping of the bottomhole assembly caused by a sudden increase in motor rotation resulting from high airflow rates while off-bottom, which can lead to motor damage. Vibration levels caused by whipping can destroy tools such as those in an electromagnetic measurement-while-drilling system.

Passive Fire Protection

Jotun has launched its Jotachar JF750 mesh-free passive fire-protection coating. This new coating can help owners, fabricators, and applicators save time, lower costs, and reduce risks compared with other coatings that require mesh reinforcement. The new coating has a fiber-matrix system incorporated in the material. This fire-protection coating has been independently fire tested to key industry standards, demonstrating structural fire protection for up to 3 hours. Steel sections and divisions are tested to the ISO 834/BS 476 Part 21 hydrocarbon curve, proving protection from hydrocarbon-pool fires. The coating also demonstrated jet-fire-protection performance without additional mesh reinforcement in the ISO 22899 test for up to 2 hours. This fire-protection coating also passed a 4-bar-blast overpressure test, without any need for additional reinforcing mesh. This fire-protection coating does not use boric acid, a potentially harmful substance often incorporated into coatings as a flame retardant.

Subsea Installation

IHC Hydrohammer, part of IHC Merwede, has successfully used seawater instead of oil as a drive fluid for offshore installation. The Waterhammer technology is a sustainable product development that minimizes potential oil-spill hazards in the marine environment and presents new opportunities for deepwater offshore pile driving for offshore construction. The Model S-90W (Fig. 9) system was used by Swiber Offshore Construction as its advanced pile-driving hammer to install four foundation piles on the subsea pipeline-end manifold approximately 210 km offshore Mumbai. The 1.1‑m-OD piles were driven into the ­seabed.