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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Magnetic Level Indicator

SOR introduced the 1100 Series magnetic level indicator for worldwide distribution. The 1100 series magnetic level indicator leverages decades of experience building pressure vessels with an indicator design that provides clear and reliable indication of any process liquid. The 1100 Series gauge is an optimal alternative to traditional sight glasses because the vessel contents are contained totally within the float chamber, making it ideal for high-pressure systems (Fig. 1). External point-level switches or continuous level transmitters can be incorporated into the system easily without breaking the pressure boundary or disturbing any existing piping. The SOR 1100 Series magnetic level indicator can also become the heart of any tank-instrumentation system through the addition of other SOR instrumentation such as the 815PT smart pressure transmitter or SOR temperature-measurement devices if required. Applications include, but are not limited to, oil/water separators, flash drums, surge tanks, gas chillers, vacuum-tower bottoms, alkylation units, propane vessels, and storage tanks.

Sparkless Pump

For years crews have worked with electric pumps that spark and create ignition sources. To prevent explosions and well fires, crews used workarounds such as 50- or 100-ft-long high-­pressure hoses to keep the ignition source far enough away from the wellsite to reduce the threat. Despite these measures, the pumps still have electrical remote controls that are necessary to operate the bolting equipment next to a well that might be leaking hydrocarbons. This has resulted in well fires, injuries, and even the loss of lives in the oil industry. Alltite’s new H2H Pump can easily be powered off a common service truck or an auxiliary power unit (Fig. 2). This eliminates all ignition sources such as extension cords, remote switches, fuses, or circuit boards, and further renders electrical generators unnecessary. The H2H Pump can be located immediately next to the work area, which increases hydraulic wrench speed by allowing for the use of short, high-pressure twin-line hoses to connect the wrenches. The H2H is made of corrosion-resistant, nonsparking stainless steel and can be used in the harshest conditions.

Hybrid High-Pressure/High-Temperature Gauge

Weatherford introduced its new xQuartzPT gauge that uses the latest hybrid and downhole communications technology plus comprehensive qualification testing. This gauge is rated significantly ­higher for continuous-operating temperature and achieves low drift and long-term stability in extreme wellbore environments. The unique gauge design has fewer electronic components, a reduced power draw, and a robust data-interface ­protocol for enhanced reliability and service life. Thus, the gauge can withstand severe combined stresses, including pressure, temperature, shock, and vibration. Its design mean time to failure is 25 years. These performance characteristics are an important consideration in high-pressure/high-temperature land and offshore wells, and particularly in deepwater plays. The gauge is the result of the company’s experience with both electronic and optical downhole gauges deployed in a wide variety of applications in thousands of wells around the world. The new gauge supports permanent monitoring applications in environments of up to 392°F and 25,000 psi while providing a high-pressure resolution of up to 0.006 psi at 1-second intervals.

Rigless Electrical-Submersible-Pump-Conveyance System

AccessESP introduced its rigless ­electrical-submersible-pump (ESP) -conveyance system, Access375. Access375 is a fourth-generation single-section permanent-magnet motor and is one-fifth the length and weight of a conventional induction motor (Fig. 3). This one-piece design eliminates the need for tandem and triple motors, significantly reducing system complexity and leading to higher reliability and simpler installation. The technology comprises a robust and rugged mechanical design based on the adoption of components and techniques proved throughout the last 20 years in the measurement-while-drilling, logging-while-drilling, and completions fields. Access375 is built and qualified for challenging offshore and remote-location applications. Benefits include full-bore access to the reservoir; compatibility with all major ESP providers’ equipment; and live-well ESP installation and removal by use of conventional slickline, coiled tubing, or wireline tractor. This results in maximized production uptime with reduced cost, time, and complexity of ESP intervention. Installations for Access375 began in September 2014, while new products within the AccessESP series will be launched throughout 2014 and 2015.

Pressure-Management System

Expro has launched its new Automatic Back Pressure (ABP) System, which uses field-proven technology and software to manage pressure effectively, allowing more-efficient and faster drilling. Developed to address the needs of the growing performance-drilling market, it can also be applied in flowback and cleanup, well-testing, and production operations (Fig. 4). ABP is a pressure-­set-point system that allows the operator to set the backpressure accurately to maintain a constant wellbore pressure. With easy installation on a closed-loop system, the ABP accurately manages pressure at the surface and makes the drilling process safer and more ­efficient. The ­system controls eliminate the cyclic pressure on the wellbore, making drilling operations more efficient and allowing for faster connection times. Using the system, pressure is maintained directly and the data are logged simultaneously, allowing operators to be alerted if there are any issues. As a result, drilling operations are safer, more reliable, and more continuous.

Completion-Design Software

Baker Hughes introduced its Completion ArchiTEX (CTX) 3D completion-design software, which provides an interactive representation of real-world well environments for more-accurate completion designs. The software allows users to enter the exact parameters of their completion designs and make adjustments as needed to avoid hazardous situations during operations (Fig. 5). The hardware catalog that accompanies the CTX software is governed by smart rules and incorporates design standards and practices that ensure quality as the model is developed. Should the input parameters exceed the standards, an error message will indicate that the design criteria are noncompliant. The user will then be able to make adjustments to the model to correct and improve the completion design. The software also features an intuitive user interface with a drag-and-drop function for easier creation of 3D designs. The CTX-software models are constructed by a computer-assisted-design engine that generates 2D schematics and interactive 3D graphics, allowing users to view and navigate through the well path, casing, tubing, and completion subassemblies in simulated 3D environments. CTX is ideally suited for complex-well scenarios, including multilaterals, multizone completions, and intelligent wells. The CTX software also provides operators with completion designs, cost estimates, and daily performance reports.

Drill-Bit Cutting System

Tercel Oilfield Products released its MicroCORE Cutting System, its newest polycrystalline-diamond-compact (PDC)-drill-bit product. The MicroCORE Cutting System is a drill-bit design that redistributes high energy consumption from the center of the drill bit to the more-efficient areas of the cutting structure and was developed in collaboration with international oil and gas company Total. Replacing the inefficient compression-failure mechanism in the center of a traditional cutting structure, the MicroCORE system delivers more energy to the cutters, higher rates of penetration (ROPs), and better-quality wellbores. An extensive global field-test campaign has shown the MicroCORE cutting system consistently setting new benchmarks in ROP and distance drilled in countries across the globe. The MicroCORE cutting system has delivered 778 ft/hr in south Texas, and drilling 103 ft/hr for 98 hours and more than 10,159 ft in a single run in Wyoming, as well as returning the bit in consistently better dull condition than traditional PDC-drill-bit cutting structures.

Digital Water-Tank Monitoring System

Precision Frac and Karmic Energy introduced the Karmic Energy Automated Tank-Measurement and Monitoring System, a solar-powered, satellite-linked, wireless water-tank-monitoring system created specifically to increase fracturing-site productivity and provide accurate water-tank-level and -temperature measurements at water-storage and -transfer sites. The sensor system can be set up and be running in only a few hours (Fig. 6). The system measures virtually any shape of tank, pond, or reservoir in real time, and sends data locally to ruggedized Wi-Fi-connected tablets running the tank-monitoring application, as well as to the Internet by a built-in satellite transceiver, allowing access from anywhere in the world. The system is designed not only for quick setup, but also for autonomous operations requiring little to no intervention afterward. At the core of the worksite is a solar-power and satellite-connected mobile transmission station that houses computer servers and communications systems in a towable, crane-liftable trailer built to withstand widely fluctuating temperatures and wind speeds up to 100 miles/hr. The mobile transmission station’s solar-power system is designed to operate without sunlight for up to 7 days. The system currently has 12 of the most common water-tank styles to choose from, including fixed-axle trailers, man-made ponds, and a variety of industry-standard tanks.

Conical-Diamond-Element Bit

Smith Bits, a Schlumberger com­pany, introduced the StingBlade conical-­diamond-element bit. StingBlade bits increase run length and rate of penetration (ROP) while delivering improved steering response in directional applications. StingBlade bits use ­Stinger ­conical-diamond elements optimally placed across the bit face. The conical shape of Stinger elements, with improved impact and wear resistance, induces high point loading on the formation, enabling increased run lengths and higher sustained ROP (Fig. 7). In directional applications, the new drill bits cut with lower torque than conventional cylindrical cutters and achieve higher build rates with less tool-face variation. StingBlade bits have been tested successfully in more than 300 wells worldwide, both onshore and offshore, in conventional and unconventional applications in North, Central, and South America; the North Sea and Europe; Africa; the Middle East; Russia; Southeast Asia; and Australia. To date, more than 686,000 ft has been drilled worldwide. In a field trial conducted in the offshore Browse basin in Australia, a customer used a StingBlade bit to drill a 12¼-in. vertical section through a formation known to cause premature impact damage to conventional bits. The drill bit exceeded the planned footage interval, increasing interval length by 97% and ROP by 57%, saving the customer more than 5 days of drilling time.

Exploration and Development Software

Oil companies interested in choosing smart-well locations and reducing the possibility of borehole failure will ­welcome the launch of the latest module of RokDoc GeoMechanics. RokDoc, the quantitative exploration-and-­development software developed and marketed by Ikon Science, has been in use worldwide since 2001. Since its early beginnings as a 1D/2D rock-­physics-analysis tool, RokDoc has expanded to include many science-rich work flows for cross-discipline integration: rock-­property prediction, reservoir characterization, pore-pressure prediction, reservoir modeling, and, now, ­subsurface-stress analysis (Fig. 8). The release of RokDoc Geo­Mechanics provides geoscientists and engineers with a set of easy-to-use, reliable tools that create robust 1D and 3D models of reservoirs and their surrounding formations. Users can model the geomechanical behavior of the subsurface, and they can also incorporate accurate rock-physics and pore-­pressure information. RokDoc GeoMechanics facilitates the accurate prediction of ­reservoir-rock properties and safe mud-weight windows. It can be used to plan well trajectories and provides a trustworthy source of information to evaluate and mitigate the likelihood of wellbore collapse.