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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Self-Suspending Proppant

Santrol has announced full-scale production of its Propel self-suspending-
proppant (SSP) technology. Additional manufacturing sites will be integrated during the first half of 2014. SSP technology involves a polymer that is applied to a proppant substrate. Once placed into the fracture fluid, the polymer swells and suspends in the fluid. The swelling decreases the proppant’s effective density, enabling suspension in the fracture fluid and distribution to the fracture tip (Fig. 1). This eliminates the piling up of proppant that pinches off productive intervals. The technology carries the proppant farther into the fracture for substantially better propped-fracture length, a new solution to the decades-old challenge of evenly distributing proppant throughout the created hydraulic fracture. The technology, which eliminates the need for certain fracture-fluid additives (including guar, crosslinkers, and friction reducers), significantly increases hydraulic-fracturing efficiency and hydrocarbon production. Santrol began field trials after acquiring the technology in May 2013. Continuing field trials are based in major US oil and gas plays.

Wireline-Deployed Well-Integrity Tools

Weatherford’s new suite of wireline-deployed well-integrity tools leverages advanced diagnostic technologies to enable accurate assessment of downhole integrity threats. The suite includes a high-resolution multisensor caliper that logs corrosion-related pits or deposits on tubing strings at a rate of 400 samples/m (10 samples/in.). An upgraded ultrasonic radial scanner features new downhole–processing capabilities that allow for -casing-thickness calculations from all fired shots, and at a standard resolution that matches high-resolution tools. The scanner also includes a new mud chamber that measures fluid slowness, fluid acoustic impedance, and fluid density, all simultaneously acquired with the rest of the data. Additional design upgrades include stronger centralizers to improve operation in highly deviated wells, and a new post-processing technique to log casing up to 1 in. thick. The suite further includes a casing–imaging tool that allows independent readings of each sensor to detect not only an inside or outside casing defect, but also its geometry, length, width, and percent of penetration (Fig. 2). Finally, a novel cement-bond tool is available in a shorter and lighter body design to provide an optimized bandwidth for recording cement-bond logs with greater data quality.

Magnetic-Drive Progressing-Cavity Pump

Moyno Mag Drive pumps are the first progressing-cavity wobble-stator pumps to offer magnetic drives (Fig. 3). The sealless, magnetic-drive design provides zero leakage for critical applications. These pumps can handle toxic, aggressive, caustic, or even flammable and explosive -fluids. The Mag Drive uses the latest technology to ensure operator safety, eliminate workplace hazards, and protect the environment from contamination. The four models do not have mechanical seals, eliminating costly repairs, and they do not vapor lock when handling gaseous, volatile liquids. A magnetic coupling establishes a static seal, aligning an outer–driven magnet with an inner-driven magnet within a stationary containment shell, while pulsation-free, low-shear pumping action maintains the pump’s integrity. Flow rates range from 0.1 to 900 gal/hr. The pumps feature skid-mounted, turnkey systems. Typical applications include sodium hypochlorite, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, ferric chloride, aluminum chloride, and many other caustic fluids.

Fracture Plug

Baker Hughes’ SHADOW is a permanent, large-bore, flow-through fracture plug designed to be left downhole after fracturing operations are complete. The plugs completely eliminate the mill-out phase of plug-and-perforate completions and allow operators to avoid the cost and health, safety, and environmental risk associated with coiled-tubing intervention. The plugs feature a large flow-through inside diameter and use nanostructured disintegrating fracture balls, allowing production flow with the plugs in place as soon as fracturing operations are complete (Fig. 4). The fracture balls hold pressure during fracturing and completely disintegrate in the well when exposed to produced fluids. Because the plugs stay in the well, they can be set deeper than the reach of coiled-tubing-conveyed milling tools, allowing longer lateral sections and maximizing reservoir access. The plug was field tested on two of seven wells in the Horn River basin, while the other five wells were completed with conventional composite plugs. The wells with the new fracture plugs produced at the same volume as the wells using the composite plugs. Because the drillout phase was eliminated, the time on well was reduced by approximately 2 days for a cost savings of USD 150,000/well.


CRS Reprocessing has introduced its BEAR centrifuge, featuring a 91-in.-long bowl configuration for longer dwell time and maximum extraction and lower side differentials for drier letdown (Fig. 5). Additionally, the BEAR features a bowl diameter of 21 in. and a bowl volume of 70 gal, with a maximum bowl speed of 2,600 RPM. The 100‑hp main drive (with a 30-hp back drive) helps the BEAR achieve a solids output of 26,000 lbm/hr, with a hydraulic capacity of 500 gal/min. The centrifuge is delivered to the customer’s drilling site on a skid that requires only a small footprint. In addition, CRS’ service includes continuous on-site -coverage along with remote monitoring and on-site laboratory capabilities that alert personnel to changing fluid conditions so that rapid adjustments can be made. 

Verification Dashboard

DNV GL’s Verification Scheme Dashboard (VSD) is a graphical, web-database-driven tool that identifies offshore risks and how they can be managed to reduce major accident risks.  The VSD shows a list of all safety critical elements (SCEs) and the number of findings relating to each SCE. The SCEs are also grouped into barrier types to make visible the cumulative risk from related findings. The tool is easily expandable so that it may cover the requirements of environmentally critical elements as required by the new Offshore Safety Directive in Europe. Each finding associated with an SCE can be mapped to a specific location on the installation.  This display allows the duty holder to see for the first time the potential cumulative effect of these degraded SCEs. Detailed information relating to any of the findings, including customer information (e.g., performance standards, planned maintenance routines, and piping and instrumentation diagrams), can be viewed by clicking on the category icon on the plot plan or isometric graphic.

Current Transformer

Onset has introduced a series of high-performance, revenue-grade, split-core current transformers for measuring alternating current and amperage in -commercial-building-energy audits, building-commissioning studies, and other applications. The Accu-CT Series current sensors, manufactured by Continental Control Systems and sold through Onset, are available in 20-, 50-, 100-, and 250-A models, all offering one–handed operation even while wearing safety gloves (Fig. 6). The transformers feature a 0.75-in. window opening and high accuracy over a full temperature range and to 1% of rated current. A burden resistor is built in, and the Accu-CT features a 333‑mVac voltage output at rated full-scale current, with no shorting blocks needed.

Drilling-Optimization Tools

Sperry Drilling, a Halliburton business line, has introduced two new sizes of DrillDOC drilling-optimization tools: 4¾- and 9½-in. collars. The addition of the two new sizes is especially beneficial for use when drilling complex directional well trajectories and horizontal or extended-reach wells. The new DrillDOC collars provide the measurements necessary to fully understand downhole drilling dynamics, delivering real-time torsion, weight, bending, and vibration measurements, thereby identifying the actual drilling parameters that are being applied to the bottomhole assembly and the bit (Fig. 7). These measurements give operators greater insight into the wellbore to reduce uncertainty, minimize unplanned events, and optimize drilling performance. Drilling performance dramatically improves through the use of captured measurements that help reduce cost and mitigate risk through data analysis. For instance, rate-of-penetration and -directional-drilling-performance optimization can reduce costs, and nonproductive time can also be reduced.