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Technology Applications

Downhole Production Motor

Artificial Lift Company’s Advantage System is a rigless electrical-submersible-pump (ESP) solution. The system’s lightweight and compact design enables easier deployment in deviated wells and downhole monitoring with all industry-standard ESP gauges. Installation provides full-tubing access after slickline retrieval, enabling replacement operations under live-well conditions. The company’s proprietary permanent-­magnet motor (Fig. 1) is one-third the length of a typical ESP induction motor and has fewer moving parts compared with an ESP induction motor.  The shorter length enables the motor to operate in deviated wellbores. The 375 system (for 4.5- and 5.5-in. casing) has a horsepower range of 67 to 400 hp, and the 540 system (for 7-in. and larger casing) has a horsepower range of 250 to 900 hp. These horsepower ranges are all single-section motors, unlike a standard ESP system in which multiple motors are coupled to meet higher horsepower requirements. Electrical efficiencies and power factor are significantly higher at 90 to 93%, respectively, especially when the motor is operated in ranges from 40 to 100% of its nameplate rating.

Large-Volume Sidewall Cores

Retrieving up to 50 1.5-in.-outside-­diameter by 2.5-in.-long sidewall-core samples from a single descent into a well, the Schlumberger XL-Rock large-volume rotary sidewall-coring service (Fig. 2) closes the gap between core plugs from continuous conventional core and ­wireline-conveyed rotary sidewall cores. These large-diameter core samples deliver a rock volume equivalent to that of conventional core plugs, matching the industry’s standard sample size for most special-core-analysis measurements and enabling key answers in less time and at lower cost than with conventional coring. This coring service enables collecting sidewall-core samples equivalent to standard laboratory core plugs. Each sample is isolated for positive identification, and a summary output at surface lists all samples with the exact depth and time that each was taken. The real-time display at the logging unit confirms proper tool operation and sample acquisition. The coring tool is run in combination with a gamma ray tool to correlate with openhole logs for accurate, real-time depth control of the coring points. With this new coring capability, operators can characterize an extended reservoir interval in a single sidewall-coring descent instead of multiple sidewall-­coring descents or multiple stands of whole-core retrieval.

Frac-Pump Control

Lime Instruments’ Frac Pump Control System (Fig. 3) is designed to provide pump control while greatly enhancing worker safety and maintaining the properties needed in the oil field. ­National Instruments’ LabVIEW and ­CompactRIO platforms were used for customized software development, systems ­integration, and hardware design and installation in extreme rugged environments. This control system offers redundant operator controls for reliability, Ethernet cable for wired control, wireless controls with dynamic Internet-protocol addressing, and a high-performance control and monitoring system that combines embedded real-time field-programmable gate-array (FPGA) technology constructed with National Electrical Manufacturers Association  4X and zone-approved packages and has an operating-­temperature range of −40 to 70°C. The FPGA-based control architecture stores code on the controller, enabling operators and technicians to monitor fracturing operations from the data van, and removing personnel from the “danger zones” of a ­hydraulic-fracturing operation. The company is currently working with operators and service companies to address best-management practices for safety and standardization of control and monitoring applications.

Oxygen-Removal System

Global Industrial Water has developed a system to improve the offshore water-injection process. The Oxygon system uses no chemicals, weighs substantially less than conventional systems, and has a greatly reduced footprint.  The membrane technology reduces the oxygen concentration in the water to less than 10 ppb. The system is rated to 300 psi and uses a simple cartridge-replacement process to reduce downtime. The compact skid design has a low total height and weight—30% less surface area than conventional degasifiers. As shown in Fig. 4, gases in the atmosphere dissolve in water until equilibrium is reached. Equilibrium between the liquid and gas phases is offset when a vacuum and/or source of strip gas is applied, thereby creating a driving force to move gases from the liquid phase into the gas phase. The system can be expanded to allow for redundancy with multiple contactors.  O2, CO2, and N2 are controlled with one device. The system is environmentally friendly, is safe for employees, and does not require chemicals to operate.

Downhole Drilling Motors

Sperry Drilling, a Halliburton business line, has introduced the SperryDrill XL/XLS and GeoForce XL/XLS series motors (Fig. 5)  to its fleet of positive-displacement drilling motors. This series of motors delivers 80% more power, 65% more torque load, a 50% increase in operating differential pressure, and a shorter bit-to-bend distance for improved build rates. These motors afford more consistent power delivery to the bit while retaining power in reserve to withstand tough drilling conditions.  In addition to providing more power, the motors are able to achieve higher build rates, unattainable with conventional motors, because of a shorter bit-to-bend distance. GeoForce motors have an internally contoured stator housing lined with uniform-thickness elastomer. They have accurately sized and matched rotors and stators based on downhole operating temperature, with an ­operating-temperature rating of 375°F, and a unique internal design that effectively resists heat degradation. These motors have been run in North and South America and in the Middle East.

Real-Time Logging

Empirica, a member of Reservoir Group, is launching its Live Logging (Fig. 6), a real-time cloud-based system that allows operators and geologists to interact with wells from any computer or device at any time during the drilling process. This new technology will dramatically reduce the time required to view well data. The system enables instantaneous interaction, potentially optimizing the well-construction process. The system captures the human component of surface logging by allowing geologists to interact with personnel at the wellsite. The system also provides geologists and operators access to static data instantaneously, as well as the ability to see the notes, pictures, and interpretations made by the mud-logging engineer. This technology provides a full picture of what is happening on the rig, enabling operators to make better decisions about their asset.

Operational Platform

Weatherford’s Enterprise Operations Platform provides cross-functional production users access to oil and gas operations, analysis, and optimization data. The network-centric architecture of the platform (Fig. 7) collects and processes real-time data from tens of thousands of field devices. Reference implementations of the platform have proved its capability to process in excess of one billion data updates from more than 15,000 field devices during a 24-hour period. The native historian function processes in excess of 5,000 values per second. This huge volume of operational information generated by large, diversified oil- and gas-production operations in the field is managed by the platform making a complete operational view of the business possible. Operational and business users across functional and geographic boundaries use this information to facilitate better decision making that drives increased operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. The platform’s deployment uses a flexible configuration and open integration. The system incorporates many configurable tools and utilities that provide efficient mapping of operational assets to integrate seamlessly with existing ­information-technology infrastructures by use of industry standards.

Predictive Risk

Petrotechnics’ Proscient is an enterprise operational-performance and ­predictive-risk software platform (Fig. 8) that provides senior management with the ability to reduce operational risk, optimize performance, and drive continuous improvement across their global operations. Stakeholder expectations of operational performance have never been higher. The key to managing these expectations is to demonstrate good governance and the ability to deliver performance in a responsible and sustainable manner. The biggest area for operational risk is when people interact with a plant to perform repair and maintenance work. It is the largest area of high-potential incidents, the second leading cause of fatalities, and a significant contributing factor in process-­safety incidents. This software addresses the critical area by intelligently embedding corporate, regional, and local policies and processes, ensuring that they are delivered consistently in frontline practice. It captures data as a part of routine work processes and enables establishing common metrics that can be used across an organization to better understand the operational risk associated with the work being performed.