JPT logo
SPE logo

Technology Applications

Rigless Intervention

Baker Hughes’ new Mastiff mechanized, self-pinning rigless intervention system (Fig. 1) enables carrying out pipe-­installation and -retrieval operations that typically require an offshore rig. The rigless intervention system can reduce the cost of abandonment, workover, and drivepipe-installation operations. The modular design and light weight enable operations on platforms with limited load capacity. With a maximum weight of 24,000 lbm, each module can be transported in a standard 40-ft open-top container. The self-­pinning mast-erection system improves safety and enables the unit to be rigged up or rigged down in 24 to 48 hours by use of hydraulics built into the system. The system’s mast is rated for operation at wind speeds of up to 50 miles/hr. The system has a 352-T pulling capacity. In conductor-pipe removal, the system can support cutting and pulling lifts of 50-ft-long sections of 36-in. conductor pipe, inner casing, and cement. As an alternative to well abandonment, the system can be used to initiate a slot-recovery program for con­tinued field development before the arrival of the drilling rig.

Pipeline Maintenance

TDW Offshore Services A/S announced successful design and build of a customized 48-in. SmartPlug pipeline-­pressure-isolation tool (Fig. 2). Weighing approximately 12 t, it is the largest of these tools ever produced. The company assisted in developing contingency solutions for pipe lay, pressure testing, and planned future maintenance of the Nord Stream gas pipelines. Upon completion, the two 48-in. pipelines will extend approximately 1220 km from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The new tool will be used to isolate pipeline pressure during scheduled pipeline maintenance and potential valve change­outs. It is currently Type Approved by Det Norske Veritas for a maximum operating pressure of 199 bar. The pipeline pressure-­isolation method is designed to enable safe isolation of the area targeted for work from hydrocarbons without bleeding down the entire work zone. In the case of Nord Stream, there are no midline valves available, so the entire 1220-km pipeline would have had to be depressurized. Given the minimal amount of gas released while isolating a work area, it is also very effective in minimizing environmental effects.

Marine Broadband

WesternGeco introduced its ObliQ ­sliding-notch broadband acquisition and imaging technique, which enhances low-frequency content of marine-­seismic data without compromising high frequencies. The technique increases the penetration depth of seismic imaging and helps geoscientists extract rock properties from seismic data. Optimized seismic bandwidth is achieved by combining variable-­streamer-depth acquisition with a proprietary deghosting methodology (Fig. 3) and a newly developed broadband-seismic source. This proprietary processing is applied early in the sequence, making the data suitable for both time- and depth-domain analysis. Enabled by the company’s Q-Marine point-receiver marine-­seismic system, the technique can be used with other technologies such as Coil Shooting and Dual-Coil Shooting full-azimuth acquisition to combine broad bandwidth with full-azimuth, long-offset acquisition. This combination is particularly important for imaging below complex structures such as subsalt and subbasalt.

Multinode Vibration Monitoring

The OTS International DataPlug (Fig. 4) is a patent-pending independent vibration-monitoring tool for use in downhole components. With a high-­temperature battery, large memory, and triggering thresholds, it can record multiple axis-vibration types. In V-mode, it can be installed in most downhole components by machining a threaded receptacle for the sensor, including expandable or eccentric reamers, motors, stabilizers, hole openers, milling tools, dog subs, and drill bits. The vibrations are recorded at the source, providing discrete, local vibration data relative to the tool. It enables qualifying vibrations relative to their occurrence in the drillstring. This device provides better incident investigation, improved tool selection, and consistent field performance from downhole tools. Analyzing the data enables identifying vibration sources. The degree of dampening or amplification between vibration nodes can be determined relative to tool performance. By deploying multiple de­vices in V-mode, software models can be fine tuned with real multinode data, enabling accurate predictions of bottomhole-assembly behavior. Data are stored on the basis of threshold values programmed into the sensor with a time stamp, which can be correlated with rig operational data. Data are retrieved by reading through a universal-­serial-bus port upon reaching the surface. Upgrades will read data as the tools pass through the rotary table.

Fracturing Sliding Sleeve

Weatherford’s MASS fracturing-treatment sliding sleeve (Fig. 5) enables treatment of more than 50 zones in a single job, enhancing the efficiency of multizone fracture-stimulation operations. The technology is based on a multi­array stimulation system. The system groups up to five sleeves per stage, and the array is opened with a single ball. This design will enable fracturing of up to 10 stages in a single trip. The sliding sleeve opens when a ball lands on the seat and applied tubing pressure shears the sleeve open. The ball passes through the ball seat and on to the next sleeve. This process repeats until it lands on a solid seat sleeve. Balls are staged from the surface after the appropriate amount of proppant is pumped for the stage. This method of isolating below the sleeves, opening the ports, fracturing, and then moving up hole to the next stage optimizes efficiency and reduces overall completion costs. The sleeve’s built-in port diffusers prevent preferential flow in the isolated zone during fracturing, improving the uniformity of the fracturing pressure across the interval. The size and number of diffusers used on each sleeve can be customized to meet the needs of the reservoir.


ToolProserv has introduced its Multi-String Cutting tool (Fig. 6), a customizable internal multistring-conductor cutter that provides complete well severance, from tool deployment to cutting operation and recovery, within 12 hours. The tool was developed to sever fully grouted or nongrouted casing strings. The tool includes wireless-data-­transmission technology, which eliminates the data cable and the threat of cable damage. The new tool is approximately 3 m long and 20 cm in diameter. The internal multistring-conductor cutter is customizable and is used with the company’s water/abrasive cutting technology. The tool is configured to deploy into topside or subsea wells with inner casing sizes of 9⅝ to 20 in. and will cut through any number of internal casing strings out to a maximum diameter of 36 in. The system uses an inflatable-packer system for tool centralization and clamping to the inside of the casing. It can test and prove the cut without recovering and rigging down the tool and deployment system. It provides real-time cutting analysis to minimize risk of no pull. The system is modular and stackable and does not require integration onto drillpipe.

Point-the-Bit System

Sperry Drilling, a Halliburton business line, has introduced its Geo-Pilot EDL rotary-steerable system (RSS). The Model 9600 RSS (Fig. 7) can deliver large well profiles (that previously were possible only with motors) with the wellbore quality and high rates of penetration (ROPs) of a point-the-bit RSS. This system features enhanced dogleg capability and can be used when high build rates are required or in soft formations that typically limit build-rate capability. The system also can deliver a consistent build rate through interbedded formations. The point-the-bit technology steers the wellbore precisely while rotating the drillstring to increase ROP and reduce the number of drilling days. The service delivers real-time continuous at-bit steering control and formation evaluation to provide an accurate assessment of the wellbore position at all times. The system has been used in offshore and onshore operations to drill hole sizes ranging from 8⅜ to 17½ in. In its first extensive application, six complete build sections were drilled from vertical to horizontal, including consistent dogleg capability up to 8°/100 ft with reserved deflection capacity to reach 10°/100 ft.

Leakless Stuffing Box

Robbins & Myers Energy Services Group has developed its Moyno EF (Environmentally Friendly) Leakless stuffing box (Fig. 8) that is designed to prevent risks associated with unwanted environmental issues caused by leaking stuffing boxes. The unit uses a simplified clamping system for use in a new installation or for retrofitting an existing installation. The stuffing box is adaptable to most electric or hydraulic drive heads for versatility in preventing unnecessary fluid leakage at the wellsite. It also is designed to provide increased bearing support for enhanced stability and to eliminate premature internal drive-head wear. The design has a floating primary seal that is isolated in a fluid bath for a long service life. Pressure equalization on the primary seal ensures effective leakless sealing. A modified mounting procedure helps eliminate premature internal drive-
head wear.