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Technology Applications

Fluid-Analysis Service

The ICE Core fluid-analysis service from Halliburton identifies not only sample purity, but also fluid components and their proportions within the sample. ICE Core technology relies on photometric detection, not spectroscopy, and thus spans a broader optical range than conventional downhole spectroscopy tools that analyze only a limited portion of the spectrum (wavelengths up to 2100 nm). ICE Core measures wavelengths up to 5500 nm where important fluid components such as hydrogen sulfide can be optimally characterized. Stronger, clearer, and more descriptive optical fingerprints exist in the mid-infrared portion of the spectrum. The use of ICE Core sensors to analyze fluids downhole is simple, with essential components consisting merely of a light source, the sensors themselves, and a detector (Fig. 1). The technology can also give users insight into fluid properties regardless of whether physical samples are captured. ICE Core can provide surface readouts in real time and yields results that correlate highly with laboratory analysis. Gas/oil ratios and fluid densities have been validated to within 14 scf/bbl and 1%, respectively. The technology has successfully analyzed fluids under conditions that range from 3,000 to 20,000 psi and from 150 to 350°F.

Water-Treatment Solution

AquaMost has introduced its new SX PECO Reactor, enabling chemical-free water treatment. The system, which combines multiple bacteria-killing forces including on-site generation of chlorine and hydroxyl radicals with ultraviolet irradiation into a single easy-to-use plug-and-play system, has already been deployed at multiple sites in Texas, Colorado, and Utah (Fig. 2). The benefits of the SX Reactor include chemical-free kill of multiple bacteria types, treatment for as low as USD 0.10/bbl, a scalar modular design, low energy consumption, and a compact footprint. In its deployments, the AquaMost device has outperformed chemical-biocide treatment methods, killing more types of bacteria for less money, without requiring the purchase, storage, handling, and insurance of chemicals. Numerous E&P companies have scheduled installations of systems this fall and in the spring of 2014 at disposal wells, at fixed-plant recycling facilities, and at the wellhead. The AquaMost solution has the flexibility to handle fresh, brackish, and salt water and can handle source, flowback, and produced water.

Ball-Activated Fracture Sleeve

TEAM Oil Tools’ ORIO XL, a ball-activated fracture sleeve used in multistage completions, allows operators the ability to fracture extended-reach horizontal wells in a more-efficient manner by stimulating one cluster at a time, ensuring that proppant reaches every cluster and increasing the possibility of greater production (Fig. 3). ORIO XL is designed for 5.5-in. production casing and allows the completion of lateral wells in excess of 10,000 ft. In the past, the number of fracture sleeves that could be run was limited by the inherent design of the tool. In most cases, the maximum number of fracture sleeves that could be run in a wellbore was between 30 and 50. The ORIO XL allows for an almost unlimited number of sleeves to be run and opened individually because of the tool’s unique design. As an example, 90 sleeves can be run and opened individually with dissolvable balls ranging from 4.0 to 4.5 in. in diameter. The sleeve technology is not susceptible to cement contamination, erosion in fracture jobs, or premature shifting of the sleeve.

Multidimensional Cutter

Baker Hughes has announced the availability of its StayCool multidimensional cutter, which helps operators drill to total depth faster and more cost-effectively by extending cutter life and footage per run. Used exclusively on the Hughes Christensen Talon platform of polycrystalline-diamond-compact bits, these cutters incorporate a contoured diamond table, wear-resistant diamond materials, and new interface designs (Fig. 4). In challenging environments such as interbedded sandstones and carbonates, bit performance is directly related to cutters and their ability to withstand heat. Overheated cutters experience abrasive wear faster, which can lead to lower rates of penetration and higher mechanical specific energy (MSE), or wasted energy, that is not directly transferred into removing rock. The StayCool cutter’s patent-pending contoured design reduces friction, maintains a sharper cutting edge throughout the bit run, and reduces MSE. Laboratory testing has shown that the cutters generate 20% less heat on the cutter face than conventional flat-surface cutters. StayCool cutters have already drilled more than 289,000 ft in 89 runs, in five different applications in field tests, and for more than 20 customers throughout the
United States.

Artificial-Lift Plunger

Multi Products Company has introduced its new Steady-Flo plunger for wells that produce high volumes of fluid but lack sufficient gas energy to drive fluid evacuation. The Steady-Flo plunger (Fig. 5) incorporates a through-bore design that allows the plunger to find a hydrostatic equilibrium point in the wellbore by slipping fluid as the plunger rises. With this design, the Steady-Flo plunger uses the well’s available energy to produce an even amount of fluid on each plunger cycle. The through-bore design also helps ensure that the Steady-Flo plunger falls faster than conventional plungers, which decreases well shut-in time and increases the number of plunger runs per day. In a well in western Colorado, low reservoir pressure required the operator to inject compressed gas to effect fluid production. After installing the Steady-Flo plunger, the operator was able to eliminate compressor use. Fluid production stabilized at 45 B/D, and gas production increased by 120% to 220 Mcf/D. As an added benefit, the operator was able to reduce shut-in time from 60 to 28 minutes, which increased the daily plunger runs from 20 to 36.

Flow-Assurance Insulation System

The Dow Chemical Company has introduced the Dow NEPTUNE Advanced Subsea-Flow-Assurance Insulation System. NEPTUNE P Insulation for line pipes and NEPTUNE F Insulation for field joints are now available for offshore flow-assurance applications. The NEPTUNE System was developed in response to requests from offshore operators for subsea flow-assurance protection from the harsh conditions encountered in the evolving offshore-production sector, including broader temperature ranges and higher pressures. The insulation’s tested physical properties include flexibility to –40°C, thermal stability at service temperatures up to at least 160°C, and a consistently low K-factor (Fig. 6). While competitive line-pipe coating systems can require as many as seven layers, NEPTUNE Insulation has two: a robust and homogeneous layer of novel insulation over a proprietary fusion-bonded epoxy. This simplified system eliminates the need for multiple materials and adhesive tie layers, which reduces the potential risks associated with bonding dissimilar and potentially incompatible materials and contributes to a thinner coating profile. With components for coating line pipe, field joints, and subsea architecture, the complete NEPTUNE System protects assets from wellhead to delivery point.

Gas-Tight Storm Plug

Archer has released STORMLOCK—a gas-tight storm plug specifically designed for suspension operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other deepwater markets (Fig. 7). STORMLOCK is the latest addition to the Archer family of well-suspension plugs, the LOCK series, which provides the assurance of an absolute seal independently certified as gas tight under ISO 14310 V0. It has been engineered to support up to 300 t of pipe, and its enhanced seal technology provides a safe, gas-tight solution for short or long suspension periods, harsh conditions, and storms. Further benefits include rapid deployment, easy retrieval, efficient use of rig time, and flexibility in terms of depth and deviation. Although it is able to support up to 300 t of pipe, it does not require weight below in order to set so it can be set shallow, deeply, and evenly in horizontal sections, and in nonstorm applications. This eliminates the time and cost associated with drillpipe deployment. If well conditions present challenges, the plug can be repositioned and reset any number of times. Retrieving the plug is fast and reliable, and built-in millability means no delays before starting the next operation.

Hydrate-Inhibitor Testing Kit

LUX Assure’s OMMICA is a simple and accurate testing kit for analyzing the concentration of the thermodynamic hydrate inhibitors methanol and monoethylene glycol (MEG) in water, crude oil, and condensate. Oil- and gas-pipeline systems are particularly at risk for hydrate formation during well startup or when operating at a low flow rate. These inhibitors prevent that process, and OMMICA can test, in as little as 1 hour, whether methanol and MEG are present in oil or water samples, both off- and onshore. The kit can be used on site by existing personnel and requires minimal hands-on testing time. Its use of robust equipment makes it ideal for offshore work, and an accelerated turnaround time provides little interference in ongoing operations. As well as minimizing downtime, OMMICA provides users with improved health, safety, and environmental performance by ensuring compliance with government regulations.

Remote Clamp-Installation System

T.D. Williamson’s Clamp Installation Tool (CIT) is a diverless, remotely controlled system for installing clamps or fittings on subsea pipelines (Fig. 8). Typically, such pipelines require repair or must be prepared for tie-ins to new pipeline networks. The CIT is also used in conjunction with subsea hot-tapping operations required for these pipelines. The compact CIT is operated remotely through a laptop by an experienced technician onboard a diving support vessel or platform. As a result, operational safety is enhanced and control over clamp-installation operations is improved. Unlike other clamp-installation systems, the CIT is a remotely controlled tool that is operated by topside technicians, not divers, meaning that clamps can be installed (and subsea hot taps performed) in much deeper, or in very shallow, water. It can be configured to remotely install any third-party-supplied clamp or fitting. The clamp-installation process can be continuously viewed and monitored from a laptop in real time. The CIT can be used to install any type of proprietary clamp or fitting offered in the industry. Minor modifications of the installation frame are required in order to wrap around a supplied clamp or fitting. As a result, the CIT can be a requisite tool in any emergency pipeline repair system tool kit.