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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Drilling-Mud Additive

ProOne’s biodegradable drilling-mud additive XPL+ has more than 50 times the film strength of conventional lubricants and bonds to metal even under extreme heat and pressure while reducing friction and wear, displacing moisture, and preventing corrosion (Fig. 1). Key applications include deviated wells, long horizontals, stuck pipe, high torque and drag, excessive trip outs, doglegs, and short drill-bit life. Typical savings range from USD 100,000 to 1,000,000 when minimizing twistoff risk, freeing stuck pipe, and helping avoid hole collapse, or increasing rate of penetration (ROP), saving trip outs, and reducing disposal costs. ProOne’s biostable fluid is attracted to heat and friction. Operators report improved ROP, easier steering and sliding, and overall extended performance of mud pumps, mud motors, and drill bits. Curves can now be drilled in 50% less time, and XPL+, when added to water-based mud, outperforms oil-based mud at one-third the cost. XPL+ may be added at any drilling stage, yet cost savings begin immediately from spud.

Wireless Pressure/Temperature Sensor

Transducers Direct introduced its TDWLB temperature/pressure sensor, able to transmit data over Bluetooth, with setup and readout available on a smart-phone application (Fig. 2). The sensor is powered with a coin-cell battery. The TDWLB uses proprietary digital circuitry for high energy efficiency to provide an 18- to 24-month battery life and redundant sensing. Its smart-phone application lets the user name each sensor one time securely, then program set points/alarms for multiple sensors, monitor readings, and graph activity over time, all from a phone, tablet, or computer. The US-made sensor is all digital, eliminating mechanical components, wear parts, analog circuitry, and set-point drift for ultimate reliability and accuracy. It uses a one-piece, precision-machined stainless-steel diaphragm and header, providing 10 times the life span of a conventional diaphragm, and eliminates all springs, pushrods, microswitches, and O-rings. All wetted parts are stainless steel. The TDWLB’s all-digital design eliminates amplifiers, filters, and amplified noise, producing a high-resolution signal without analog variability or noise in the circuit. The TDWLB is available in two different compensated accuracies of 1% and 0.25%, with temperature sensing as an option. It is designed for intermittent, rather than dynamic, machine-control applications.

Portable Valve Actuator

Smith Flow Control’s EasiDrive portable valve actuator is specially designed for use with valves requiring a large number of turns or that are otherwise difficult to operate because of high torque or harsh-climate conditions. The operator has absolute control when opening and closing differently sized valves with varying torque requirements. One person can efficiently drive multiple valves with a single tool, reducing fatigue and risk of injury and resulting in major cost and time savings. This is a low-cost alternative to permanent actuators, with no permanent power supply required, and is suitable for all climatic conditions (Fig. 3). Its reaction kit, which prevents a torque kickback, is especially useful because valve movement is always fully controlled, preventing operator injury and fatigue. In addition, the variable-torque-output feature, which prevents excessive torque being applied, ensures proper and safe valve operation at all times. EasiDrive can be powered by air, electricity, or battery.

Laser Radar Sensor

The new Fanbeam laser radar sensor from Renishaw’s Spatial Measurement division provides repetitive, high-­accuracy dynamic positioning to offshore support vessels and other marine structures (Fig. 4). This system adds greater performance and stability through new control software that increases reliability of its single-target tracking capability, and allows multiple operator stations for situations where control needs to be transferred between bridge personnel. The new software’s advanced target tracking and modeling prevent spurious targets from causing a drive-off, while the intelligent ­clutter-rejection capability provides clearer signals for a better understanding of the operational environment. A training package with a fully featured, realistic simulator is also included. The Fanbeam system, built for harsh environments, uses position data to automatically hold vessels on station and is typically the primary position reference during critical short-range operations, such as ­cargo-container lifts from platform-supply vessels. The system provides collision avoidance, gangway monitoring, and docking assistance on vessels operating in crew supply, anchor-handling-tug supply, construction support, dive support, dredging, and rock-­dumping capacities. Other applications include seismic-source positioning for geophysical-exploration vessels and positioning of mine-detection equipment.

Casing-Running and Drilling Tool

Weatherford introduced its new casing-running and -drilling tool, the TorkDrive DT-E. This tool combines conventional power-tong, elevator, and fill-up/circulation tools into one working part, which, in turn, enhances efficiency and reduces costs. The remotely operated tool eliminates the need for scaffolds, equipment, and personnel that are typically needed on the rig floor to run casing, ensuring wellbore integrity and increasing rig-floor safety (Fig. 5). The tool also has the ability to interface with any topdrive system and can be installed without modifying the topdrive or rig structure, simplifying the installation process. When mounted to the topdrive, the tool uses the power of the topdrive to circulate, push down, reciprocate, or rotate casing during operations. The TorkDrive DT-E tool is a surface tool designed to enhance casing-­running and drilling operations, providing operators and drilling contractors with capabilities that add the value of real-time drilling-hazard mitigation and also offering a better alternative to drilling-with-casing applications. Because of its reduced footprint, the TorkDrive DT-E is the best choice for casing running in small and super single rigs. Even in challenging well applications, the tool reduces the possibility of differential sticking and other problems that lead to nonproductive time, while also ensuring connection integrity.

Flange Seal

Parker Hannifin’s new Engineered Flange Seal (EFS) helps eliminate the problems that plague standard O-rings, which are prone to pop out of the flange groove. The EFS reduces rework and eliminates the difficulty of replacing standard O-rings in hose-product installation. The EFS is specifically designed to fit precisely into the groove of Parker Hannifin Code 61 and Code 62 flanges, providing consistently strong seal retention (Fig. 6). The rounded design of standard O-rings has an unnatural fit in the flanges, leaving a gap in the groove. This gap can lead to difficult installation, hose-assembly leakage, and the potential for the O-ring to fall out. The secure, engineered design of the EFS benefits all high-pressure applications, and fluid power professionals can expect reduced downtime and rework after installation. EFS product features include secure seal retention before, during, and after installation; quick assembly, with no tooling or lubrication needed; reduced risk of seal damage and leakage; and the ability to withstand working temperatures up to 257°F.

Flameless Radiant-Heat System

EnviroVault introduced their tank system ThermoVault, a safe alternative to the traditional fire-tube-separation method commonly in use. ThermoVault’s multiple catalytic heaters use a flameless radiant-heat system, safe for use in hazardous areas, making it ideally suited for light-crude-oil separation and storage. Light volatile crude presents many challenges to new and existing infrastructure at all levels of production. Upstream production and storage personnel face challenges heating and separating oil from water. Fire tubes with open flames are not ideal to use with highly flammable crude, and industry needs alternative solutions. The ThermoVault reduces space requirements on lease sites because it eliminates the need for a heater treater that must be 25 ft away from the tank, thereby increasing safety, mitigating environmental risks, and reducing reclamation costs. Heater size and quantity can vary on the basis of the application. ThermoVault lasts the entire life of the tank, and eliminates low-­frequency noise pollution when compared with fire-tube burners.

Fracture-Analysis Service

Baker Hughes introduced its StageWatch fracture-analysis service to collect the sound reservoir data needed to guide future drilling, perforating, fracturing, and completion programs. The data enable proper planning for future wells, effective refracturing strategies, and data-driven completion designs that increase production and ultimate recovery. To obtain these data, pressure and temperature gauges are inserted into purpose-built sleeves, which are deployed as part of the casing string (Fig. 7). The StageWatch system was designed to allow flexibility of sleeve placement so that data could be captured from multiple zones in the wellbore without modifying the existing casing program. To retrieve the gauges after the job is completed, a bottomhole assembly (BHA) comprising a circulation sub, a recovery basket, and a shifting tool is run downhole on coiled tubing. The dogs on the shifting tool engage the sleeve and shift it open, releasing the gauges into the annulus. The gauges are caught in the basket, and the BHA is pulled out of the hole to the next sleeve. The BHA collects all of the memory gauges in a single trip, providing an efficient retrieval process. These data are then interpreted by an engineer to provide data administration and fracture, production, and reservoir characterization, enabling more-­effective future fracturing programs.

Heavy-Duty Work Glove

Hand and finger injuries are the most common lost-time injury incidents in the oil, gas, and mining industries, and gloves are of paramount importance. Wells Lamont Industrial introduced its Super Green King (SGK) Striker.  Ideal for drillers and other oil and gas workers, the SGK Striker is constructed with patented impact design that provides full coverage on the back of the hand (Fig. 8). The SGK Striker’s impact design provides approximately 25% more coverage than competing designs. The durable glove also features a unique fleece fabric that offers breathable, moisture-wicking properties that keep hands dry and regulate body temperature in both warm and cold conditions. Its material and molded joints further maximize flexibility and give users a unique fit, feel, and function when compared with competing gloves. Made to withstand multiple launderings and harsh conditions, the SGK Striker reduces total cost of ownership and will not stretch or alter after extreme use. The glove was tested to withstand being soaked in kerosene for up to 48 hours without degradation. In addition, its unique knit wrist construction aids in its laundering resistance.

Specialty Communications Cable

General Cable introduced its CCW Arctic Armor Specialty Communications Cable designed for extreme conditions in subzero hazardous locations. General Cable’s CCW Arctic Armor Fieldbus, PROFIBUS, and Category 5e Ethernet cables are flame-retardant and moisture- and sunlight-resistant for use in indoor and outdoor, wet or dry, raceway, cable-tray, aerial, or direct buried environments (Fig. 9). Recognized for use in Class I, II, and III, Divisions 1 and 2, or Class 1, Zone 1 and 2 hazardous locations per National Electric Code Articles 501, 502, 503, and 505, CCW Arctic Armor cables comply with industry standards for high-speed industrial-automation communications and control applications. They meet cold impact at -40°C and feature a 100-Ω impedance (±10 Ω).