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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Waterless Fracturing Technology

Praxair introduced its DryFrac waterless fracturing technology that can replace water use in fracturing wells through the use of liquid carbon dioxide (CO2). DryFrac’s patent-pending technology enables oil and gas producers to increase yield while reducing environmental effects associated with hydraulic fracturing, such as water sourcing and water disposal (Fig. 1). DryFrac blends liquid CO2 with proppant, or special grades of sand, which is used to prop fractures open. The flexible and scalable technology can deliver large volumes and multiple grades of proppant into a formation. CO2 has long been recognized as a superior fluid for fracturing, particularly in water-sensitive or low-pressure formations. Compared with other waterless fracturing fluids such as propane, CO2 has the added benefit of being nonflammable. Additionally, Praxair can separate CO2 returned from the well, enabling faster natural-gas production. Much of the CO2 being used is captured from industrial effluent gas and purified. Praxair continues to develop technology to recycle and reuse CO2 for a variety of applications.

Water-Asset-Intelligence Technology

Digital H2O released Water Asset Intelligence, its oilfield-water-market intelligence platform. Water Asset Intelligence represents a robust oilfield-water-­management platform to provide oil and gas operators complete visibility into the water marketplace and to help them mine water data through cloud computing and data-analysis tools. Oil and gas operators and service companies are participating in the beta stage, including the most active driller in the Permian basin. The database supporting the platform includes more than 55 million observations relating to water production, water consumption, water sources, and waterdisposal assets. Digital H2O is also applying proprietary machine-learning algorithms to accurately forecast produced water, water demand for well completions, and use of disposal-well assets. The com­pany is currently building additional functionality that provides operators better visibility into the fully burdened life­cycle costs for water. The breadth of the Digital H2O data set, combined with the robust machine-learning platform, yields better decisions, thus helping operators achieve significant cost savings and make more-environmentally-sustainable water-­management decisions.

Unconventional-Reservoir-Drilling Motors

Baker Hughes released two new motors designed for drilling unconventional reservoirs. The 7-in. Navi-Drill Ultra XL45 motor offers high power and torque to drill long sections through hard formations reliably, and the 5-in. Navi-Drill X-treme eXtend motor provides higher power output and increased reliability in drilling slimhole horizontal sections. The 7-in. Ultra XL45 motor features a long power section that enables it to drill long vertical sections with little need to correct for deviations, and its high-torque capability also minimizes stick/slip to increase performance and bit life. The motor uses a high-performance elastomer that provides additional power output to help achieve higher rates of penetration and reduced drilling costs (Fig. 2). The 5-in. X-treme eXtend motor easily drills slimhole sections that often present a challenge for conventional motor technologies. The unique design of the X-treme eXtend motor power section provides up to 100% greater torque than typical conventional-motor offerings. The additional power enables operators to drill with more-demanding, high-endurance polycrystalline-­diamond-compact bits through long, hard, and abrasive horizontal sections such as those in the Williston basin.

Automated Digital Rheometer

The RheoVADR Variable ­Automated ­Digital Rheometer from Fann is a direct-reading instrument for evaluating the rheological properties of fluids, both Newtonian and non-Newtonian. The features of the RheoVADR Rheometer include its digital display, preprogrammed American Petroleum Institute (API) tests, data-recording feature, and speed range—12 preset and variable speeds from 0.01 to 999 rev/min (Fig. 3). This design includes a rotor sleeve, torsion spring, and a stainless-steel sample cup for testing according to API practices, and its push-­button design allows easy operation. Organic light-emitting-diode displays allow easier reading in low light. Its data-recording features observe trends and analyze, share, print, or download data. It includes a USB port for connecting flash drives to save data directly and a serial connector for connecting to a computer and instantaneous control software. A resistance temperature detector for 0.5°F accuracy and repeatability is included. This instrument is also fitted for a universal power supply. The RheoVADR rheometer is suitable for field or laboratory use. A case is available for transporting the instrument.

Hardbanding-Measurement Tool

Producers, drilling contractors, and rental companies periodically experience marginally acceptable hardbanding applications. Hardbanding Solutions introduced its Hardbanding Gauge and Rule to ensure that hardband applicators are properly applying hardbanding alloys such as Duraband NC or Tuffband NC. The Hardbanding Gauge and Rule tool allows the user an at-a-glance check of the thickness of the applied hardband (Fig. 4). The simple design of the new gauge  makes it ideal for on-site inspections. By placing the ruler-like tool on top of the weld, the user can check the height, width, and profile of hardbands quickly. Three different slots make measuring effective: A 1/32-in. slot helps determine if reapplication is necessary, a 3/32-in. slot reveals the recommended minimum application thickness, and a ⅛-in. slot shows the recommended maximum application thickness. The ­stainless-steel gauge, which is patent pending, includes both metric and English measurements.  It also features a series of steps that allow the applicator to set the torch to the proper height easily.

Configurable Compression Packages

Exterran recently launched its C-Series line of configurable compression packages, pre-engineered with a wide range of configuration options, allowing for flexibility, fast delivery, and high performance. The first model in the line, the C-Series 3516, offers more than 60 options and is available for delivery in 10 to 14 weeks. In some cases, a ready inventory of preconfigured units in stock may be available for immediate delivery. The preconfigured options and an online C-Series configurator allow customers the flexibility to build their own compression packages in a few steps. With this configurator, customers can choose from more than 1,000 possible configurations to meet their operational needs, see the result, and submit a request to receive a customized quote for their chosen configuration. Built on a heavy-duty, 12-ft-wide skid suitable for mounting on a compacted-gravel pad or concrete foundation, the C-Series 3516 is available up to 1,380 hp and outfitted with a Cat 3516B lean-burn engine and an Ariel JGT4 compressor (Fig. 5). It is available in seven base models in one-, two-, and three-stage configurations. The C-Series 3516 can be used in a wide array of natural-gas applications, generally greater than 5-psig inlet pressure and up to 1,300-psig discharge pressure.

Hydraulic-Hose Solution

Parker Hannifin introduced GlobalCore, five hydraulic hoses and two fittings series that significantly reduce engineering and service complexity (Fig. 6). GlobalCore is built and tested to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 18752 specification. With GlobalCore hoses tested to twice the ISO 18752 standard, high performance in rugged environments and high-impulse applications are ensured. GlobalCore provides options for the most-critical sizes and pressure ranges in the industry (3,000 to 6,000 psi in Sizes 4 through 32). GlobalCore hoses are manufactured in North America, Europe, and Asia, thereby supporting the equipment they serve regardless of where it was manufactured originally or where it is today. Parker’s hose design enables it to be half the bend radius of conventional hose, which makes installation and routing much easier. GlobalCore is compatible with Parker’s Parkrimp family of crimpers and features no-skive, premium abrasion-resistant covers, providing users with less downtime and longer intervals between replacements.

Drilling-Operations Tool

The new Weatherford UniSlips tool is a rotary-mounted, multifunctional slip used for casing, tubing, and drillpipe operations. While conventional handling tools require frequent slip changes for each size of tubular that is run, the Uni­Slips tool incorporates a proprietary dual-wedge slip design that can handle any tubular within its size range and avoids the need to change slips (Fig. 7). The universal gripping feature can save hours of valuable rig time when making up bottomhole assemblies or running tapered strings. The UniSlips tool incorporates a power-down feature that counteracts up to 80,000 lbf‑ft of torque, which eliminates the need for manual backup tongs and reduces the hazards associated with casing- and tubing-­running operations. For production, completion, and workover risers, the UniSlips tool includes two opposing slots for safe handling of control lines or umbilicals, and a 19-in. slip opening to accommodate large-outside-diameter string components. The tool can carry loads up to 500 short tons (453.6 metric tons) and fits into 37½‑in. rotary tables. Larger rotary tables require an adapter.

Sealing Gasket

Plasti-Bond introduced its patented V-Seal gasket, with a special interlocking V-groove. V-Seal is the most effective way of preventing corrosion damage by sealing Form 8 conduit bodies coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Available on Plasti-Bond Form 8 fittings, V-Seal’s interlocking seal provides effective protection over the traditional flat gasket-sealed designs (Fig. 8). The unique V-shape that runs along the sealing edge interlocks with the body to create a seal that locks out corrosive elements and provides more protection than the flat-surfaced seals of standard fittings. In addition, Plasti-Bond ships these V-Sealed Form 8 fittings with stainless-steel cover screws with ­plastic-encapsulated heads for maximum corrosion protection. These specialized fittings and screws keep entire conduit systems from being vulnerable to corrosive elements that enter through joints and openings. The V-Seal is available in numerous configurations and has a 40-mm gray PVC exterior coating as well as a 2-mm urethane interior coating. It is available in 12 trade sizes from ½ to 6 in. All conduit openings feature sealing sleeves. Electrical continuity of the conduit system is maintained across assembled joints.