JPT logo
SPE logo

Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Measurement-While-Drilling Tool

NOV Wellbore Technologies introduced the BlackStar II electromagnetic (EM) measurement-while-drilling (MWD) tool, part of the InTerra family of sensors and systems. The BlackStar II EM MWD tool uses EM telemetry to transmit data measurements even while making a connection, enabling increases in survey speed and accuracy that drive performance gains. EM systems send information to the surface through the Earth’s crust using low-frequency EM waves. Information is received at a surface antenna, decoded and processed by a computer, and distributed to the driller’s readout display without the encumbrance of mud or wire transmission (Fig. 1). EM tools have no moving parts, allowing for use in air-drilling conditions or high-lost-circulation-­material environments where mud-pulse tools are rendered inoperable. The BlackStar II EM MWD tool transmits data measurements from the bottom of the hole back to the surface, allowing the driller to control and monitor the location and orientation of the drill bit. Surveys can be transmitted during connections, minimizing the nonproductive time associated with conventional mud-pulse tools. The flexibility of EM systems makes them the preferred strategy in a growing number of MWD applications, including underbalanced drilling, underpressured formations, vertical-control drilling, and coalbed methane.

Artificial-Lift Production Solution

Baker Hughes introduced the CENesis PHASE multiphase encapsulated production solution, which helps operators avoid production interruptions in unconventional wells. Designed to separate natural gas from the oil stream before it can enter an electrical-submersible-pumping (ESP) system, the solution mitigates production downtime and potential ESP performance issues, which can ultimately improve reserves recovery. During the production phase in unconventional plays, higher levels of natural gas are usually released from the pay zone as reservoir pressure depletes. This gas typically enters the horizontal wellbore and accumulates in the high side of the lateral, creating large gas slugs that, as they move up the wellbore, cause low-flow or no-flow conditions in an ESP system. The CENesis PHASE solution mitigates this problem by surrounding the entire ESP system in a shroud, allowing lighter natural gas to continue flowing up the wellbore while heavier production fluid flows into the shroud and is produced through the ESP system (Fig. 2). The shroud also provides a supply of production fluid so the ESP system can continue to operate during gas-slug events when natural gas completely displaces fluid in the wellbore. Mitigating this gas interference in the pumping system stabilizes production and reduces downtime associated with pump-cycling and gas-locking conditions.

Dual-Vacuum Sludge Pump

For its new-generation drills, Conrad Stanen has chosen the BV100 sludge pump from BBA Pumps. With the BV auto-prime sludge-pump range, BBA Pumps offers a series of ­vacuum-assisted centrifugal pumps for use with abrasive liquids. These are specially designed for the pumping of drilling sludges and bentonite in order to meet the toughest pump jobs. Using high-efficiency pumps and state-of-the-art diesel engines, the pumps offer maximum performance at minimal cost (Fig. 3). The BV range of pumps has been designed with a clear focus on reliability and durability. Featuring a 100% mechanical priming system, the BV series pumps quickly prime and reprime, even from dry conditions. The heavy-build style of both pump and frame make the BV range perfect for use in the strenuous drilling market. The pumps are constructed of steel-welded materials for high wear resistance and feature the MP100 oil-spill-free priming system. A floating box on the suction spool is easy to clean, and large inspection covers allow easy access.

Antislip/Stick Tool

The new Counter Force antislip/stick tool (AST) solution by Tomax keeps the lower bottomhole assembly and the drill bit suspended in both axial and rotational directions at the critical moment when the first cutter touches the rock. As the load increases, the helix-telescope function of the Tomax AST ensures a steady load within the capacity of the fresh cutters, regardless of how hard the rock is. As more of the cutters are engaged, a smooth bottomhole pattern develops (Fig. 4). When the full cutting face is engaged, the Counter Force AST system is practically offloaded, while the main springs in the AST system take over to keep the system in tune. Now the weight on bit (WOB) can be brought beyond the compressive strength of the rock to produce a fast, yet safe, rate of penetration. The patented Counter Force AST makes it safe to run a drill bit that is sharp enough to stay engaged even in the hardest layers. A continuous cut at moderate WOB produces less heat and makes the cutter last considerably longer. The larger cuttings from a sharper edge are removed more easily, to leave the cutting surfaces clean at all times.

Exhaust-Gas-Cleaning System

The Alfa Laval PureSOx exhaust-gas-cleaning system is a flexible choice for sulfur oxide abatement. Its compact construction and multiple configurations, combined with custom engineering, make it easy to adapt for individual vessels (Fig. 5). With the launch of an inline I-design scrubber, the ­Pure­SOx platform is now even more versatile. The inline-scrubber design, or I-design, builds directly on proven PureSOx technology. It provides an additional alternative for vessels with more-complex structural needs. As with the U-design PureSOx scrubber, the I-design scrubber can be configured with multiple inlets. This reduces space needs and installation costs by allowing one scrubber to handle exhaust gas from multiple sources, including boilers as well as the main and auxiliary engines. A further alternative for inline PureSOx configurations is reflux. Reflux involves the creation of two separate loops: one for the jet and a second for the absorber. In the jet loop, clean water is evaporated by means of the waste heat in the exhaust gas. The vapor is then recondensed as clean water in the absorber loop. The water-cleaning unit is a vital component of any closed-loop or hybrid PureSOx system. When the scrubber is in closed-loop mode, the unit removes soot from the circulation water, thus protecting the scrubber and enabling compliant discharge of bleedoff.

Slim Microimager for OBM Wells

Weatherford introduced the compact oil-based-mud (OBM) microimager (COI), a slim-profile tool that delivers fullbore, high-definition images in wells drilled with oil-, diesel-, or synthetic-based muds. The tool’s 4.1-in. diameter enables deployment in a wide range of geometries including narrow, horizontal, and highly deviated wells. The COI features eight pads with 72 total measurement electrodes that provide optimum coverage (Fig. 6). The images can be enhanced further through Weatherford Reveal 360 image processing. Reveal 360 technology uses structural and textural information in the measured parts of the image to reconstruct any gaps between pads. Through analysis of the COI images, the structural, stratigraphic, and depositional geology around the wellbore can be detailed, even in wells previously deemed too complex for imaging services. Recently, the COI was deployed with other petrophysical-measurement tools in an 8¾-in. OBM well in Latin America. The COI captured superior images of the geology compared with incumbent technology, which enabled detailed fracture analysis and stratigraphic interpretation. As a result of the image and interpretation services, the operator was able to reduce reservoir uncertainty and to optimize the completion design.

Subsea Connector

Ametek has expanded its portfolio of high-pressure, high-temperature (HP/HT) connectors with the addition of its latest Elite Series Wet-Mate connector. The three-channel connector is designed to operate reliably in the extreme environments found in subsea and downhole oil and gas applications. The HP/HT connector is just 15.8 mm in diameter and has been functionally tested to 1034 bar and temperatures as high as 150°C (Fig. 7). The Elite Series Wet-Mate connectors feature a distinctive, patented design in which concentric contacts are individually sealed within pressure-balanced, oil-filled plug-and-receptacle connector housings. The sealed receptacle with its concentric contacts features an oil-filled primary chamber to prevent water ingress. Each electrical band is protected further within an individual secondary oil-filled chamber when mated. All chambers have individual seals, so that the failure of any one seal does not compromise the connector’s overall integrity. A central female pin, axially displaceable in the central passage, prevents water ingress or loss of oil when the connector is not mated. A main insulated plug core with contact bands on the connector displaces the female pin during the mating process. The plug core is protected by an outer sleeve that covers the contacts in the oil-filled chamber.