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Technology Applications

Polycrystalline-Diamond-Compact Bit

Ulterra has introduced its line of FastBack high-rate-of-penetration polycrystalline-diamond-compact (PDC) bits. FastBack-designed bits use a unique blade configuration that supports the cutters with a smaller-than-usual profile that eliminates wasted energy needed for pushing larger blades, thereby focusing all energy on the diamond cutting surfaces (Fig. 1). This efficiency improvement resulted in a 56.8% drilling-speed increase in a Marcellus well. The FastBack’s new blade design is made possible by advanced surface coatings, which provide maximum erosion control without sacrificing strength. Additionally, the FastBack’s smaller blade configuration opens up the junk-slot area for optimal hydraulics and enhanced cuttings evacuation.

Tagged Inhibitor

Operators are seeking ways to address scale-inhibitor monitoring on- and offshore to better manage treatments.  Determining the minimum inhibitor concentration quickly and precisely is critical to effectively manage the required shutdowns and scheduling for offshore squeeze treatments. In response to this need, Kemira has introduced its KemGuard 2490 phosphorous-tagged inhibitor and its KemGuard 2420 fluorescent-tagged inhibitor, both of which can be monitored quickly and accurately down to single-ppm levels (Fig. 2). The tagged inhibitors can be quantified in the presence of one another to monitor multiple wells from a single production stream at a collection platform or field battery. The tags are manufactured into the polymer structure so that both the tag and the polymer stay together as the polymer moves through the reservoir in the case of squeeze jobs or through production equipment for onshore treatments. The tagged inhibitors have proved effective for inhibition of sulfate scales under a wide range of oilfield brine conditions.

Wireless Downhole Testing System

Schlumberger has introduced the Quartet downhole-reservoir-testing system enabled by Muzic wireless telemetry, which provides data in real time for validation so that critical information is available to meet well-test objectives. The Quartet system uses wireless bidirectional communication to provide downhole tool status and pressure and temperature data, allowing test-design modifications and test-data validation while reservoir testing is taking place (Fig. 3). The system also enhances testing efficiency by enabling the isolation, control, measurement, and sampling of the reservoir in a single run. Field tests using the Quartet system with wireless telemetry have been run in Egypt, Indonesia, Qatar, Brazil, and Angola in environments ranging from onshore to deep water. A total of 22 reservoir tests have been conducted with data from downhole to surface at a 100% communication-success rate. In Brazil, Petrobras and Schlumberger identified an opportunity to optimize deepwater well-test operations with a real-time communication solution on a well in the presalt Santos basin. As a result of the collaboration, the Quartet system was deployed successfully, delivering flow and shut-in data to monitor operations and adjust the test program in real time.

Tight-Casing Centralizer

Centek Group’s UROS-CT centralizer, targeted at tight-casing applications in deepwater wells, is now available. The UROS-CT is designed for use in tight-tolerance casings where the centralizer is required to compress fully to travel between tight-tolerance casing strings, yet will expand to the designed openhole size (Fig. 4). The UROS-CT is engineered to precise ring-gauge tolerances, partly because casing drift downhole is a major concern when running in deep-water wells, but also because the centralizer must compress as closely as possible to the casing because every millimeter saved allows for greater expansion in the open hole. The centralizer is secured into position by use of low-profile, positive stop rings. The UROS-CT fits straight onto standard casing joints, so there is no need to run an expensive pup joint, and substantial rig makeup time is avoided. This centralizer significantly reduces insertion forces and drag, and the unit does not need to be pulled into the well because the design allows for normal run-in-hole methods, so it goes down under its own mass. The UROS-CT is being run successfully off Norway, Brazil, Brunei, and Malaysia and is now being used in the Gulf of Mexico by both US and Mexican operators.

Scale-Inhibitor-Evaluation System

The Model 5400 dynamic scale-deposition loop from AMETEK Chandler Engineering is a fully automated system that measures and evaluates the performance of scale inhibitors under high-pressure and high-temperature conditions (Fig. 5). The system pumps precisely heated oil samples at known rates through a tubing test section while continuously measuring the differential pressure. An increase in differential pressure serves as an indication of scale formation, and the test is completed once that differential pressure reaches an adjustable threshold value. The system features a precise forced-air convection oven, removable sample and preheat tube assembly, external pH electrode, and Hastelloy C276 sample tubing and fittings inside the oven. Its hardware includes two manual set-point backpressure regulators (high or low range) that are used to create the sample pressure inside the test section during pumping. Two high-performance liquid chromatography pumps are used to transport the fluids through the tubing, both with six-port switching valves. The system’s proprietary software is designed for ease of use and is powerful enough to collect and calculate all of the acquired data over the completed test cycle. The software allows operators to control the overflow rate, test time, fluid selection, and temperature of each individual test.

Subsea Pile-Driving System

Conductor Installation Services has introduced its Subsea Piling System, a remotely operated system that the company developed to drive piles as large as 36 in. in diameter in water depths to 300 m. The entire process is carried out by an experienced pile-driving engineer from a control unit and monitoring system located onboard a vessel or barge. A hydraulic hammer, connected by an electronic umbilical cable to the control system, is lowered into the water and placed directly over a subsea pile (Fig. 6). Once it is positioned accurately, the pile is driven into the seabed by the hammer until it reaches its target depth. The operation is continuously monitored and controlled by an engineer in a dedicated control cabin. The system features self-tensioning hydraulic winches that lower and raise the hydraulic hoses and electrical cables that connect to the hammer. The constant-tensioning capability of the Subsea Piling System’s winches means that they automatically heave and lower according to sea conditions.

Ball Valve

Victaulic has introduced the Series 727 ball valve, a high-pressure, enhanced-port valve with grooved ends for upstream oil applications. The internal design of the Series 727 valve has been streamlined to provide enhanced flow characteristics, offering improved throughput. Flow testing demonstrated up to one-third better flow than competitive standard-port ball valves. Featuring grooved ends, the Series 727 is joined using Victaulic couplings, enabling quicker and easier installation and maintenance than flanged valves. The Series 727 weighs one-third less than equivalent flanged valves, further easing handling and installation. The two-piece valve features a floating ball for lower torque requirements and is offered with manual handles with an integral tamper-resistant lock/seal (Fig. 7). The Series 727 is designed for full-open or shutoff service. Series 727 valves can accommodate pressures up to 1,500 psi and are available in sizes ranging from 2 to 6 in. Common oilfield applications include wellhead hookups, flowlines, production headers, produced-water lines, heater treaters, and separators.

Electrical Submersible Pumps

Baker Hughes’ new ProductionWave solution is a suite of electrical-submersible-
pump (ESP) -based products and services, providing a flexible production alternative to rod pumps for unconventional oil plays. Among the advantages of using ESP-based systems vs. rod-lift-based systems is the ability to place the ESP deeper in the well, which increases production and ultimate recovery. The pump’s deviation tolerance eliminates tubing wear typical of rod-lift systems, to improve uptime, reliability, and economic benefit. The ProductionWave systems help operators increase production rates, in some cases by more than 40%, while lowering operating expenses and reducing health, safety, and environmental risks in comparison with rod-lift operations (Fig. 8). These production systems are targeted at low-flow-rate unconventional oil wells with trajectories that are troublesome for rod-lift systems. The pumps can operate in flow ranges from 50 to 4,000 BFPD, enabling operation in dynamic conditions while providing better associated-gas- and -solids-handling capabilities than does rod lift. In addition to the pump, ProductionWave solutions include technologies for gas handling, sand control, and production chemicals, and offer flexible commercial models and services related to applications engineering, real-time optimization, and field support.

Reservoir-Monitoring System

Weatherford International announced the worldwide release of its OmniWell production- and reservoir-monitoring service, providing unified reservoir monitoring for real-time downhole data under a wide range of well conditions, from conventional to extreme. OmniWell’s fit-for-purpose solutions incorporate electronic and optical sensing technologies, integrating multiple measurement solutions for activities such as flow profiling, fracture monitoring, production surveillance, and thermal profiling (Fig. 9). The data from those solutions are acquired at the surface and processed through a scalable data-management platform that relays critical data to visualization and analysis platforms in real time. A new, scalable data platform is also available for acquiring, integrating, and managing critical well data while offering software and services to simultaneously visualize dynamic, multiparameter data for changing well conditions. The integrated data platform for multiapplication, multiple discrete measurements, and distributed sensing enables correlated readings and permits advanced, real-time characterization of the well environment. The unification of these production- and reservoir-monitoring solutions for flow, temperature, thermal profiling, and seismic brings actionable data to the operator for better decision making.