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Technology Applications

Well-Testing System

Halliburton announced the release of the RezConnect well-testing system, a complete well-testing solution for wireless control of downhole drillstem-test (DST) tools (DST) and measurement and analysis of well-test data in real time. Previously, control of DST tools was maintained through annulus-pressure manipulation. The RezConnect system integrates all DST tools and allows surface verification of their operational status (Fig. 1). Additionally, it provides acoustic control of DST tools, actuation of downhole fluid samplers, and collection of real-time well-flow measurement and bottomhole-pressure and -temperature data for

reservoir-performance monitoring and analysis. Recently, RezConnect was used on a deepwater well in Latin America. During this operation, bidirectional acoustic commands were used across the subsea safety system to operate the downhole test tools and actuate the fluid samplers while providing real-time critical reservoir data and verification of downhole-tool functions to surface. By acquiring real-time data acoustically, the duration of well-test flow and
pressure-buildup periods was optimized and the need for acid stimulation confirmed. This allowed for improved well productivity and the ability to evaluate post–stimulation well performance. The enhanced flexibility and control provided by the RezConnect system resulted in rig-time savings of 5 days.

Personnel-Transfer Device

Reflex Marine’s new personnel-transfer device, the FROG-XT4, is now available. The FROG-XT4 provides greater comfort and safety to passengers, wider operating parameters, and higher-capacity transfers than its predecessor (Fig. 2). It has a smaller footprint and a more compact design, making it easy to store and more cost-effective to ship. The lifting points are now at eye level and therefore easier to access and inspect, making it simple to ensure the safety of the unit before each transfer, and the rigging system has been enhanced. The new stretcher-

mounting system is capable of being deployed quickly in medical evacuation situations. The FROG-XT4 features a stainless-steel frame and polyethylene buoyancy panels as well as impact-absorbing seats and an antirotational seating arrangement. An increased capacity now seats four passengers and allows for greater average passenger weight.

Remote-Control Fracture Manifold

Concentric Pipe and Tool Rentals has released the Generation III Remote–Controlled Frac Manifold. The Generation III system consists of an Accu-Choke remote panel for operators to interface with the choke-manifold skid safely. The remote panel contains pressure indications, valve–position indication, valve functioning, system backup batteries, a programmable-logic controller (PLC), pump controls, and jog controls (Fig. 3). The primary system controls are a touchscreen and PLC for automated operation, offering the ability to change system set points, data entry, reviews, and control of the entire system by use of visual graphical controls. The Accu-Choke system is operated with backup, pneumatic, and manual controls. The Generation III is rated for use in the Gulf of Mexico and internationally. In compliance with current industry standards, all system control and indication data are recorded digitally at 10 cycles/sec during operation of the system. The system is constructed for marine shipboard offshore shipping conditions and -corrosion-resistant operations. The hydraulic and electrical systems are designed to withstand and successfully operate in direct sunlight with intermittent sprayed salt water.

The system can also withstand conditions of 20 to 100°F with 100% relative humidity.

Downhole Photometer

Custom opto-electronic design and production specialist Avo Photonics, in collaboration with the Wireline R&D optical-sensor group at Weatherford International, has designed and validated the performance of a downhole multichannel photometer. The sensor has now completed several field trials and is being volume manufactured by Avo Photonics for Weatherford commercial deployment. The reservoir-fluid-analyzer sensor conforms to a 4.5-in.-diameter space, performing downhole fluid analysis up to 5 km below the Earth’s surface (Fig. 4). The sensor design allows the device to perform high-quality photometric analysis while withstanding operating temperatures from –20 to 177°C and total differential pressures up to 30,000 psi. 

Remotely-Operated‑Vehicle Simulator

Fugro has launched an upgrade to its electric remotely-operated-vehicle (ROV) pilot-training simulators. Most observation-class ROVs and many light work-class ROVs are electrical-based systems. With the introduction of a new electric ROV control pod and suite of electric ROV specific components, Fugro’s DeepWorks simulation software now models all electric subsystems with greater accuracy and enables failure cases to be simulated on individual sensors and circuits. This enables a wider range of training scenarios to be conceived and allows new vehicle configurations to be assembled in a way that reflects their true circuit diagrams, for more-transparent testing and validation in the simulator before the vehicle enters service. A new overlay designer has been added to the ROV simulator’s run-time tools, giving scenario builders and training supervisors the ability to configure and manage overlays quickly. The overlay designer displays navigation and sensor information in exactly the same way as the real-vehicle system. Crucial instrumentation data such as heading, pitch and roll, and camera tilt angle reach the overlay through the control pod. Other simulation enhancements include a new garage system as used by the Saab Seaeye observation-class vehicles in Fugro’s fleet (Fig. 5). This new tethering system allows vehicle-specific docking and undocking training. 

Turbine-Reamer Tool

Deep Casing Tools’ Turbocaser Express is a series of sacrificial turbine-reamer tools designed to help wash and ream casing, liners, and completions to target depth in holes that already have been drilled (Fig. 6). The tools are connected to the end of the string and stay in the hole when target depth is reached. Turbo-caser Express simply attaches to the casing or liner below the float equipment as part of the shoe track. If obstructions are encountered when running casing or liners, circulation is all that is required to start the reamer shoe rotating at high speed to wash and ream the string to bottom. In several challenging wells, it has proved successful in reaming tight spots, clearing cavings and fill, and reducing excessive filter-cake buildup, particularly in mature fields with depleted zones. For drillout, the Turbocaser Express motor has to be drilled through. The motor can be drilled straight through in less than 15 minutes, faster than the float collars above it. The same drillout assembly can proceed to drill the next openhole section. Drillout operations to date have been completed successfully with polycrystalline-diamond-compact, insert, and mill-toothed bits.

Subsea Electronics Module

The Artemis 2G (A2G) subsea electronics module from Proserv is a control and communication tool that frees operators from the constraints of an existing brownfield umbilical by finding additional signal capacity to enable a cost-effective field upgrade or extension. In addition, the A2G offers high-speed, copper-based, multidrop networks as a viable alternative to fiber-optic infrastructures within the subsea production system (Fig. 7). The A2G increases accessibility for remote usage though its webpage interface from subsea to the desktop and provides advanced configuration and diagnostics to deliver adaptable communications. A2G can be used to coexist with existing networks, is fully back-compatible with all existing technology, and does not require any proprietary software for remote configuration and support.

Solid Inhibitor

Baker Hughes introduced its –SorbUltra solid inhibitors, which can minimize the risk of expensive interventions and lost production in offshore wells. The solid substrate on which the inhibitor is applied is engineered to help ensure reliable applications in deepwater environments and can be customized to treat a range of downhole conditions including scale, paraffin, and asphaltene deposition. The treatment begins in the propped zone as soon as produced fluids contact the SorbUltra inhibitors (Fig. 8). This process occurs before the produced fluids reach the near-wellbore region, where temperature or pressure -changes commonly cause flow–assurance problems. The treatments have lasted longer than conventional liquid-flow–assurance chemistry, and, depending on the well production, can remain in production fluids at effective levels long after they are pumped. The inhibitors are applied as part of the well stimulation to obstruct deposition in the near-wellbore environment and formation. They can be run in new or existing wells as part of a propped stimulation, such as a gravel pack or fracture pack, and are ideal for wells with closure rates in excess of 8,000 psi.

Subsea Data Logger

Stress Engineering Services’ Subsea Vibration Data Logger (SVDL) services the need to collect high-quality vibration data for extended periods in increasingly stringent subsea environments (Fig. 9). Combined with prediction analysis to assess expected mode shapes and fundamental system frequencies before measurement, and with proper data interpretation and reduction following measurement, the SVDL is a customizable tool that improves operational safety, reduces risk, maximizes uptime and operational efficiency, and improves overall upstream profitability. The SVDL installs directly onto subsea equipment in order to monitor vibration and to assess fatigue. The SVDL operates in two states: long-term-intermittent or short-term-continuous. Housed inside the unit is a triaxial accelerometer. Signals are passed through a low-pass analog filter before being digitized by a high-resolution analog-to-digital converter. In addition to signal filtering, oversampling techniques are employed to maintain the high digitized signal quality. The data logger and custom-designed clamping devices feature a low mass and high-mechanical-impedance structure, ensuring that the vibration signals collected by the logger are not distorted by the mechanical characteristics of the logger system itself, even at measurement frequencies of 50 Hz or greater. The SVDL has a depth rating of 10,000 ft in seawater. 

Crack-Resistant Hardband

Hardbanding Solutions introduced its noncracking Duraband NC, a hardband that offers 100% crack-free protection. Without the pressence of cracks, high temperatures, steam, abrasives, and drilling fluids cannot penetrate into and underneath the hardband. High–pressure/high–temperature environments, sour gas, and highly deviated and geothermal wells can be hard on hardbanding and drillpipe tool joints. Common hardbanding products can suffer spalling and chipping caused by unwanted materials getting into and under the crack. This may require premature removal of the drillpipe for repair and reapplication of the hardband, adding cost to the drilling operation. The Duraband NC avoids these issues because of its microstructure, which consists of a hard tool-steel matrix with a high volume of tightly packed microconstituents. This combination ensures excellent wear resistance in openhole drilling and is casing friendly. In addition, the product can be applied directly over itself without removal or special preparation. Duraband NC also can be applied over most competitive hardband products without removal.

Acquisition and Control Unit

The Schlumberger Instruct all-in-one acquisition and control unit helps operators maximize uptime and productivity on wells equipped with electrical submersible pumps. This single unit gathers, analyzes, and transmits data from surface and downhole sensors to manage and control well and pump performance simultaneously. The unit can monitor and control up to four wells at once, providing centralized data gathering and storage for optimization, engineering analysis, and troubleshooting. The unit installs directly into the Schlumberger variable-speed drives and can be configured to automatically make adjustments to optimize well and pump performance. Critical downhole data are transmitted to the Instruct unit in real time. Periodic software upgrades can be installed quickly from a flash drive. For remote operation, the unit can connect by a real-time surveillance and optimization service to the Schlumberger Artificial Lift Control Center for 24-hour surveillance 365 days/yr. Equipped with programmable alarms with emergency-shutdown capability, the unit’s display, diagnostics, and alarms are in plain language rather than codes; this, coupled with a multilingual programming feature, ensures wellsite protection, control, and data acquisition to help maintain wellsite integrity (Fig. 10).