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Technology Applications

Fixed-Cutter Bit

Halliburton introduced its MegaForce fixed-cutter drill bits (Fig. 1). Key technology innovations in cutting-structure and matrix material, multilevel force balancing, hydraulics, and shank length deliver more than a 20% improvement in rates of penetration (ROPs). Following each run during field trials, the bits were graded equal to or sharper than ­offset-well bits. The bit features advanced SelectCutter polycrystalline-diamond-compact (PDC) technology, ultraefficient cutter-layout force balancing, improved erosion-resistant material, and enhanced hydraulics. Designed for specific applications, the result is a matrix bit with a combination of higher ROP and longer intervals drilled. Enhanced hydraulics is provided by the use of micronozzles to improve the fluid flow across the cutting structure. Advanced tungsten carbide matrix material helps to reduce erosion and wear on PDC-bit bodies. Multilevel force balancing increases bit stability while drilling through transitions and increases efficiency. The cutter technology improves cutter performance by abrasion resistance, to ensure that cutters maintain a sharp edge by keeping the diamond loss low. Impact resistance keeps the cutter from failing because of dynamic forces and vibrations under normal drilling conditions. The Thermal Mechanical Integrity works to remove heat generated by friction to ensure that the diamond-to-diamond bonds do not break down.

Precision Fluid Metering

For optimum monitoring of metering systems, Lewa offers the LEWA smart control. It compares the actuating variable of the metering pump (motor speed or stroke length) and the measurement signal from the flowmeter and checks both values for plausibility. This comparison allows reliable identification of deviations, ensuring high system availability. The system can even detect wear in the metering pump. This control system regulates deviations very quickly, and the controller can access saved pump-­characteristic curves. The learning function, or adaptive control, ensures fast adjustment of the actual value, without the significant transient fluctuations produced by conventional proportional/integral/derivative (PID) controllers. As seen in Fig. 2, at process startup, the smart control enables the value adjustment to reach a maximum deviation of ±1% after only approximately 30 seconds to maintain high product quality even with pressure fluctuations in the system. By means of up to four actuators, the controller regulates one or two closed-control loops. Thereby, the operator can control either a redundant system or two completely independent metering systems with a single controller. The controller operates with almost every type of metering pump and measuring system.

Chromatograph Technology

The surface logging company Empirica, a member of Reservoir Group, is launching its Dual Flame-Ionized-Detection (Dual FID) high-speed chromatograph technology. This gas-measurement system uses high-speed chromatograph technology to obtain 36-second chromatograph data, significantly faster than the current industry average of 45–65 seconds. This high-speed FID has 100% resolution between components. The high speed results in more samples per foot at a fast ROP and can help differentiate laminated sands and low-resistivity pay, allowing operators to make quicker decisions.

Subsea Tapping Machine

T.D. Williamson announced deployment of its Subsea 1200RC Tapping Machine (Fig. 3), a compact remotely controlled subsea hot-tapping machine. The system enables hot tapping to be carried out from the safety of a diving-support vessel (DSV) or platform. Subsea hot tapping of pipelines is performed for tie-ins, pipeline repair, inserting instrumentation, facilitating chemical injection, or providing access for temporary-isolation tools. The full process involves installing the hot-tap assembly, performing the tap, and recovering the hot-tap machine. Whereas diver operations are limited to a maximum water depth of 300 m, much existing subsea field infrastructure is in water depths to 3000 m. Although installation of the hot-tap assembly and subsequent removal of the machine will require diver assistance when a preinstalled tee does not exist, performing the tap itself is remotely controlled by a technician onboard the DSV or platform. The system is a stationary remotely operated vehicle with its hydraulics and control system attached to the tapping machine, and it is operated from an onboard laptop. Built-in sensors allow continuous recording of actual pressures, temperatures, rotation, and movement of the pilot drill and cutter. The laptop-based program facilitates control remotely rather than relying on the divers’ manual handling of the cutting process.

Subsea Water-Cut Meter

Water onset and measurement are critical for subsea wells because of water production’s role in flow assurance and overall reservoir health. Weatherford’s Red Eye subsea water-cut meter (Fig. 4) is a standalone device capable of operating in this demanding environment on all multiphase well streams. The meter is designed for pressures up to 15,000 psi and temperatures up to 250°F, while supporting Subsea Instrumentation Interface Standardisation (SIIS) Level 2 and SIIS Level 3 communications. The meter operates on the principle of near-­infrared absorption, in which water is more than 100,000 times more absorbent than the other pipeline constituents at select wavelength bands. This contributes to very sensitive water detection that is independent of salinity such that no corrections are necessary. It provides accurate measurements from 0 to 100% water-cut levels and can handle up to 99.5% gas volume fractions. Also, the meter can measure water/methanol (or other typical hydrate inhibitor) concentrations in addition to water cut. This tool is especially for individual-well measurement or as a replacement for subsea multiphase meters when water measurement has become the prime consideration.

Multistage Fracturing System

Superior Energy Services’ Completion Services Division introduced its OmniFrac MST (Multistage Single Trip) fracturing system. The system is an openhole multistage completion system designed for land-based completions in unconventional tight-sand, shale, and carbonate reservoirs. The system includes a ball-actuated isolation valve, ­pressure-actuated fracturing sleeve, ball-­actuated fracturing sleeves (Fig. 5) with balls made of high-strength materials, ­single-element openhole-isolation packers with metal-element support and an interlock device that prevents the packer from being set while going in the hole, and a permanent hydraulically set hanger packer with hydraulic running-tool release. This system eliminates need for cementing. After drilling the well to total depth, a set of reamers/mills is run to condition the openhole section for liner installation. Then, the casing is run with fracturing sleeves, openhole-­isolation packers, and a permanent hanger packer. A ball is circulated to the toe of the system where the isolation valve is closed, allowing pressure to build up internally, which sets all of the packers simultaneously. At this point, the work string and liner-running tool are removed from the well and the drilling rig is released to prepare for the complete fracturing treatment.

Modular Evaporator

Aquatech introduced its SMARTMOD modular-evaporator technology for the oil-sands market. Modular, flexible, and redeployable, the system uses a ­vertical-tube falling-film evaporator design for treating difficult produced-water sources. This system has 10% lower power consumption than conventional evaporator systems. Its multiple-section design ensures American Society of Mechanical Engineers distillate quality, and online washing allows continuous distillate production at more than 70% of design capacity during washing. With its reduced center of mass and evaporator weight, the system module and vessels eliminate the need for building a large evaporator building or foundation (Fig. 6). In steam-assisted gravity-­drainage oil-recovery technology, the liquid that is pumped to the surface is a mixture of oil and water. The mixture is separated to predominantly oil and water fractions in the deoiling process. The water fraction (or produced water) can be sent through this system for treatment and reuse in the facility.

Completion and Stimulation Design

Schlumberger released its Mangrove ­reservoir-centric stimulation-design software that enables better decision making for well-completion and fracturing programs. Developed on the company’s Petrel E&P software platform, the stimulation-design software provides access to the shared-Earth model to facilitate program designs for all types of reservoirs. The reservoir-­centric ­stimulation-design software offers the Completion Advisor for perforation picking and staging that leverages accurate reservoir definition and includes predictive complex-hydraulic-fracture and conventional-planar-­fracture models (Fig. 7). Measurements and information including seismic, geological, geomechanical, and microseismic data can be integrated with a reservoir simulator through the Petrel platform to provide an integrated seismic-to-­simulation workflow. This design-software methodology has been used to optimize completion designs in the Marcellus shale in North America, eliminating screenouts and increasing production by more than 50% from one well. The workflow enabled the customer to engineer customized perforation and staging designs instead of geometric perforation designs, thereby enhancing stimulation coverage and flow rates.