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Technology Applications

Fracturing Technique

Schlumberger’s BroadBand Sequence fracturing technique enables sequential stimulation of perforation clusters in wells drilled in unconventional reservoirs. This new technique sequentially isolates fractures at the wellbore to ensure every cluster in each zone is fractured, resulting in greater production and completion efficiency when compared with conventional methods (Fig. 1). Developed using a composite fluid comprising a proprietary blend of degradable fibers and multimodal particles, the BroadBand Sequence technique is suited for use in new wells and in recompletions. This technique is particularly suitable for refracturing operations, given its ability to promote temporary cluster isolation without the aid of mechanical devices such as bridge plugs. BroadBand has delivered robust and consistent performance in more than 500 operations conducted to date in several unconventional plays including the Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Woodford, Spraberry, and Bakken shales. In south Texas, BroadBand has enabled users to increase production from new completions in unconventional reservoirs by more than 20%. It has also reduced well completion time by up to 46% in plug-and–perforation operations by stimulating longer intervals compared with conventional methods. In addition, this technology was applied to a well in south Texas for a refracturing operation, which resulted in double the production with a fourfold increase in flowing pressure.

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Pneumatic Controller

The Model 40 pneumatic indicating controller from AMETEK PMT Products is designed to sense pressure and transmit an air signal that is precisely proportional to the measured variable (Fig. 2). The output signal from its transmitter can be fed to a valve positioner or another remotely located final-control device. The Model 40 offers the safety of a fully pneumatic device while reducing both operating cost and environmental impact, limiting fugitive emissions when operating on natural gas. In addition, the device provides for the operation of a single low-bleed controller with a high-capacity relay that will provide process indication even in the event of a loss of power or air supply. The Model 40 can operate for extended periods in inaccessible locales without attention and has a wide selection of process–measuring elements available for pressure, differential pressure, flow, and level. Its accuracy is within ±1% of full scale of indication, and ±0.5% is available on most ranges. As a receiving controller, it can control any process variable transmitted as a pneumatic signal. Its transmitters are designed in appearance to match the indicating pneumatic controller. The transmitters measure many different variables and provide standard 3- to 15-psi output, 100% linear to the process-measurement range.

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Hydraulic Catwalk

Tesco’s  Hercules hydraulic catwalk offers increased safety and adaptability with the capability of presenting tubulars to any rig floor from 4 to 32 ft by use of scissor-lift arms (Fig. 3). The Hercules’ trough-extension capability allows tubular placement close to the well center, thereby eliminating the danger of tubular swing weight. The Hercules, with a total length of 60 ft and a telescoping trough of 20 ft, has a lifting capacity of 10,000 lbm. Shorter hydraulic gull wings than those featured in other designs result in reduced weight, while the skeleton frame provides ease of access. The catwalk comes equipped with both a traditional control panel and an explosion-proof wireless programmable-logic–controller (PLC) system that controls key functions (front and back arms, trough extension, and skate) and eliminates the damage sustained by non-PLC systems, resulting in extended catwalk life. Hot and cold temperature-control systems, emergency stop buttons, light-emitting-diode illumination, and a tubular skate head that can retrieve tubulars provide enhanced efficiency and safety. Numerous optional features are available, including custom paint and builds and specialized doors and power units.

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Static Mixer

Chemineer has introduced its Kenics UltraTab static mixer, designed for turbulent-flow applications where a high degree of mixing is required in a compact space. The UltraTab provides numerous advantages, including its compact installation-space requirement and its ability to completely blend in short distances downstream of the mixer, and the low pressure drop through the mixing element (Fig. 4). Turbulent eddies produced from the single mixing element produce mixing of the bulk flow. Injector(s) are provided for additives to the main flow and are introduced to the upstream edge of the element. The additives are quickly dispersed by the element for rapid blending and homogeneity of the fluid. UltraTab sizes range from 2 to 60 in.; available materials include carbon steel, stainless steel, coated carbon/316SS, fiber–reinforced plastic, and high-alloy metals. Typical applications include pH control, chlorination, chemical dosing/flash mixing, disinfection, and polymer blending in water-treatment applications. Additional applications include turbulent-flow mixers in desalination processes, turbulent-flow mixers in chemical processing, and low-viscosity blending.

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Cut-and-Pull Spear

With many aging wells approaching the decommissioning stage, operators are looking for effective options to plug and abandon (P&A) their wells, particularly in offshore environments. Baker Hughes has introduced the Harpoon cut-and-pull spear, designed for P&A and slot recovery operations (Fig. 5). The spear can be set and reset several times through simple mechanical manipulation, allowing multiple cut-and-pull attempts in a single trip for reduced nonproductive time. This is especially advantageous in situations where cement bond and scale buildup are unknown, improving the probability of success. The Harpoon is run in with a cutting assembly and does not require a stop ring, allowing the robust spear to engage the casing directly above the cut, ensuring maximum force is distributed at the cut point. Specially designed slips distribute loads evenly across the entire casing diameter to prevent casing deformation, and the tool applies tension during cutting for improved cutting performance. A built-in filter helps control debris for increased reliability. The  spear’s design also supports loads in both directions so it can accommodate the use of fishing jars. For added safety, the spear features a packoff device to control the circulation of annular fluids from the  well or in the event that a pressurized zone is exposed during the cutting operation.

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X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer

PANalytical introduced its new Epsilon 1 XRF (X-ray-fluorescence) analyzer. Epsilon 1 is a fully integrated energy dispersive XRF analyzer consisting of a spectrometer, built-in computer, and touch screen. It offers dedicated application solutions for specific needs, such as analyzing sulfur in fuels and additives in lubricating oils or milk powder or for specific research, education, or mining analytical purposes (Fig. 6). The Epsilon 1 provides compact and cost-effective precalibrated solutions for a range of key analytical processes, such as the analysis of additives and contaminants in petroleum products. Among the Epsilon 1’s precalibrated programs is the capacity for precise and accurate analysis of additives in lubricating oils and sulfur contaminants in fuels. These components require comprehensive quantification to meet stringent industry regulations.

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Durable Notebook

GammaTech’s S15H notebook is designed to meet the industry demand for 15-in. monitors (Fig. 7). The S15H provides a cost-effective solution that eliminates the need for and expense of modifying how legacy systems display. Drop-, shock-, and spill-resistant, it is tested to military 810G standards. Other features include an exclusive optical disk-tray lock, -double-protection smart-battery circuitry, and smart battery calibration. The S15H comes with the Intel Haswell central processing unit, so users can expect faster computing and graphics and longer battery life. It features a 15.6-in. full high–definition light-emitting-diode display and two dual-channel slots that provide 16 GB of memory capacity. To provide flexibility, the S15H is built with a USB 3.0 connector, integrated 10/100/1000 MBps Ethernet, and a wireless local-area-network connection. The S15H includes multiple security features, such as Trusted Platform Module 1.2 technology and a Kensington lock connector.

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Subsurface Safety Valve

Weatherford’s Renaissance damaged-control-line (DCL) wireline-retrievable subsurface safety valve (SSSV) makes it possible to restore safety-valve functionality and surface control in a simple retrofit procedure, restoring safe operations and bringing the well back on line without a workover (Fig. 8). The DCL safety valve has a unique, modified packing mandrel and wet connection. The valve-and-lock assembly is installed in an existing tubing-mounted safety valve or safety-valve landing nipple. Then, a new capillary line is run from the surface inside the tubing for valve control. In one successful installation of the Renaissance system, an operator of an oil field off the coast of Indonesia needed a new safety-valve system to help restore full surface-controlled SSSV functionality in a well where the safety-valve control line had become blocked. The operator wanted to eliminate the need to produce the well through a storm-choke valve while maintaining the original production rate. In addition, the desired solution had to be implemented without a rig or workover unit and had to maintain the existing surface wellhead geometry without additional spools or changes in flowline height. The Renaissance system was deployed, providing a new insert valve and a conduit to restore surface-controlled SSSV functionality. Once the well was opened, production returned to preinstallation levels.

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Subsea Hydraulic-Connection System

Prone to deterioration, multiple quick connections have been known to cause problems during mating and demating in terms of final alignment and engagement of subsea-distribution systems. The fault is often not detected until the connection must be activated, when the cost of failure is at its highest. In order to overcome this challenge, GE Oil & Gas developed the FLX360 hydraulic-connection system, designed to improve connection reliability and corrosion resistance over multiple make-and-break cycles while speeding up connection time (Fig. 9). Advantages of the FLX360 include the removal of screw threads that can easily be damaged during installation and workover. Other vulnerable moving parts have been removed from the subsea component and instead located in the installation tool. This simplified system incorporates a remotely operated vehicle-mounted tool that activates a bayonet latch to hold the two plates together. With only one moving part required in the connection plate, as opposed to a conventional product of this type that can leave up to 16 moving parts subsea for the life of the field, the likelihood of seizure and inoperability is reduced significantly.

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Fracture-Height-Measurement System

Pinnacle Technologies, a Halliburton service, announced its FracHeight service, a hybrid tool that combines fiber-optic wireline-conveyed microseismic receivers with Pinnacle’s downhole tiltmeter sensors to directly measure the formation movement associated with fracture dilation (Fig. 10). While microseismic monitoring has been the primary diagnostic tool for fracture mapping in unconventional reservoirs, determining fracture height can sometimes be a challenge when relying on these measurements alone. For example, in some multistage fractures where shallow microseisms clearly exist, identifying the cause—be it the actual fracture opening, natural fractures, a result of a critically stressed zone shearing, or some other mechanism—requires additional information. By incorporating microdeformation measurements made by downhole tiltmeters, the FracHeight service provides definitive evidence of fracture dilation. The result is more-accurate fracture mapping that provides insight into actual fracture deformation as a function of depth. In typical unconventional reservoirs where multistage horizontals are common, the data provided by the FracHeight service offer significant advantages for understanding fracture behavior. The improved knowledge of the subsurface provided by Frac-Height allows for optimized asset development and increased completion and fracture efficiency.

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