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Technology Applications

Subsea Insulation

NEPTUNE advanced subsea flow-­assurance insulation from Dow Oil & Gas offers high-temperature flow assurance in a two-layer system. Designed to withstand the increasingly harsh conditions associated with subsea oil production, this technology performs across a wide temperature range (–40 to 160C) and eliminates the need for a separate tie layer. The system has a depth rating of at least 4000 m. The system may be applied from the wellhead to the delivery point. The system uses one layer of fusion-bonded-epoxy anticorrosion coating and one layer of the flow-assurance-insulation coating. The proprietary system has undergone full-scale production trials by globally recognized and respected flow-assurance-insulation-system coaters. It also has passed the rigorous testing needed to meet stringent design requirements for deepwater oil production. It has passed flexural-fatigue tests and thermal-shock tests, with no signs of damage or delamination (Fig. 1). The system is available for subsea-architecture applications through the company’s global qualified-coater network, with line-pipe and field-joint applications to be available soon.

Water and Sand Management

Tendeka has developed a suite of standalone screens offering critical performance in sand retention and fines tolerance. The premium sand-control screens use an innovative press-fit assembly method to ensure the highest burst and collapse ratings of the premium-mesh layers (Fig. 2), while state-of-the-art weaving technology is used to provide the highest inflow area and maximum plugging resistance. The sand-screen range is available with a passive inflow-control device (ICD) to promote uniform production or injection along the entire pay zone of the well. The FloRight ICD screen, along with the company’s openhole packers, can be used to compartmentalize a section for maximum sand control or conformance control. Each ICD placed along the producing zone creates a localized restriction to flow that is predetermined during the completion design. The restricted flow creates an additional pressure drop, balancing the wellbore pressure drop. The resulting evenly distributed flow profile can reduce water or gas coning, reduce sand production, and solve other drawdown-related production problems.

High-Performance Rod Guides

Robbins & Myers Energy Services Group has introduced its high-­performance rod guide for progressing-cavity ­downhole-pumping applications. The New Era CrossOver high-­performance rod guides (Fig. 3) can effectively increase production and decrease workover costs by extending rod and ­tubing-service life in standard and high-temperature applications. These rod guides deliver maximum performance at well conditions up to 500°F. The rod guide has a hydrodynamic design and is manufactured from engineered plastics enhanced with performance additives specifically tailored to withstand high-­temperature-well conditions. This design helps keep fluid closer to laminar flow around the guide and decreases the chance of gas breakout. The concave body channel allows wider vanes, more erodible material than other designs, and low fluid drag. Reduced hydraulic-drag force maximizes ­carrier-bar loads on the downstroke. Wider vanes provide maximum surface-bearing area. The guides are custom designed for each rod and tubing size, to allow maximum vane width and optimum bypass area. Nominal tubing sizes include 2, 2½, and 3 in. The proprietary DuraGuide wear indicators provide visual confirmation of remaining erodible material on guides.

High-Pressure Casing Connectors

Tenaris has extended its range of TenarisHydril premium-connection products to include BlueDock connectors (Fig. 4), designed for offshore and high-pressure/high-temperature environments. The weld-on connectors are used extensively with large-diameter conductor and surface-casing applications offshore and provide easy stabbing and trouble-free makeup for a fast running. The new product is available with a metal-to-­metal seal, especially for high-­pressure-gas applications (20- to 22-in. outside diameter), and an elastomeric seal (throughout the entire range of 20 to 36-in. outside diameter). The connector has 100% rating in tension, compression, and bending. Gas and water sealing has been verified in full-scale testing. The connector can have up to three antirotational keys that prevent buck-off and provide additional support. The proprietary hook-thread profile provides reliable structural capacity under extreme loads and extra fatigue resistance. The high thread taper makes stabbing deeper and easier. The multiple start and low thread/inch design with self-alignment guides enable fast, trouble-free makeup, requiring only three-fourths of a turn to
final makeup.

Bit Drills Chat Well

An Ulterra 6.125-in. U613M polycrystalline-diamond-compact (PDC) bit (Fig. 5) combined with the use of a torque-­transfer tool drilled a Mississippian lateral significantly farther and faster than any offset drilled in Woods County, Oklahoma. The bit drilled 3,370 ft of this high-chert-content Mississippian formation at 71.7 ft/hr. This bit has been adapted to the harsh drilling conditions with an advanced design that distributes loading over the entire cutting structure better than previous designs, thus preventing cutter-damaging spikes. Also, the company’s LightSpeed cutter-development process provides tough application-specific cutters. The company’s TorkBuster performance drilling tool (run directly above the bit) generates a rapid torsional impact to the drill bit, fracturing the cherty formation and allowing the PDC bit to effectively shear the formation at higher rates of penetration and without bit-damaging vibrations. This tool delivers a steady torque transfer from the drillstring to the PDC bit, thereby reducing motor stalls.

Process High-pH Produced Water

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies provides a new technology to treat evaporator blowdown/concentrate resulting from treatment of produced water from steam-assisted gravity-drainage operations. This process was developed to provide a more-sustainable solution to the challenges of responsible disposal of this waste stream. The blowdown / concentrate from first-generation or older produced-water-­evaporation systems are laden with silica and have high pH levels that affect disposal options significantly. Because of the chemistry of the blowdown, typical ­deepwell-injection disposal is economically and technically prohibitive, and it is, alternatively, disposed of in salt ­caverns. This new process is based on the Silica Sorption process developed for  second-generation produced-water evaporators. The process removes the silica from produced water, providing more flexibility in disposal. The development effort used several pilot tests to validate design parameters. This technology will be an integral part of the company’s oil- and gasfield-waste management. This innovation will offer an economical and environmentally sustainable solution to heavy-oil producers.

Flowmeter for WAG System

McCrometer’s V-Cone Flow Meter (Fig. 6) is designed for use in water-­alternating-gas (WAG) -injection systems for mature reservoirs. In a typical WAG system, this flowmeter is installed as a master meter at the CO2 source with stainless-steel piping run to as many as 16 injection wells. The flowmeter maintains excellent accuracy when the volumes of the 16 pipe runs are added together. The meter itself also requires virtually no maintenance—only a simple calibration check of the transmitter. With built-in flow conditioning, the meter features advanced differential-pressure (DP) technology to nearly eliminate the up- and downstream straight-pipe runs required by other DP instruments, such as orifice plates and Venturi tubes. The flowmeter is inherently more accurate than traditional DP instruments because flow conditioning is built into its unique sensor design. The centrally located cone interacts with the fluid steam, reshaping the velocity profile to provide a stable signal that increases measurement accuracy. The DP is measured with two pressure-sensing taps, one placed slightly upstream of the cone and the other in the downstream face of the cone itself. The DP then is incorporated into a derivation of the Bernoulli equation to determine the fluid-flow rate. The flowmeter is available in line sizes from 0.5 in. to greater than 120 in. It operates over a wide flow range of 10:1, is accurate to ±0.5%, and offers repeatability to ±0.1%.

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Turbine Agitator

Chemineer offers its HT Turbine Agitator that has a high-strength design that results in low wear, quiet operation, and minimal maintenance. These agitators provide field-proven performance in blending, agitation, solids-suspension, and gas-dispersion applications. Output speeds are 5 to 350 rev/min through a compact right-angle gear-drive system. There are 13 standard drive sizes, from 1 hp to more than 1,000 hp, with a wide variety of mountings, shaft seals, and impellers. The tapered roller bearings are rated to more than 100,000 hours.

Conductor Installation

InterMoor, an Acteon company, has completed installation of the drilling and production conductors for the Papa Terra project. The company was responsible for the design, procurement, fabrication, and installation of 15 conductors for the project. The conductors are 36 in. in diameter and 187 ft long. The Skandi Skolten, an anchor-handling vessel, and an installation barge (Fig. 7) with a customized conductor-launch system were used. For conductor driving, a deep­water hydraulic hammer (capable of providing a driving energy of 270 kJ at a water depth of 3,281 ft), combined with Menck’s girdle-type electrohydraulic power pack and umbilical-support system, was used. Generating hydraulic power at depth, rather than at the surface, meant no hydraulic hose, minimizing environmental effects and energy loss. The conductors were installed in water depths of 3,937 ft in the southern Campos basin off the coast of Brazil.

Continuous Drilling-Fluid Flow

Benefits of continuous circulation during drilling operations have been known for a long time; however, technological solutions have started to emerge only recently. Weatherford has developed a ­continuous-flow system to help improve drilling performance and safety at the wellsite. Circulation of drilling fluid when adding or removing a stand of drillpipe offers many potential benefits including better control of annular-pressure spikes seen during connections (reducing the likelihood of kicks), mud losses, and differential- and mechanical-stuck-pipe events. The system will minimize formation damage caused by pressure changes during conventional connections with rig-pump ramp-up and ramp-down cycles. Drilling fluid will be diverted automatically from the standpipe to the side port in the subassembly (Fig. 8), allowing circulation to continue during connections. The control will take place away from the rig floor by use of a remote panel, allowing personnel to remain a safe distance from the operation. Initial field trials on the system are planned.