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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Jackup Drilling Rig

Zentech’s new R-550D jackup drilling rig design is a high-capacity, extended-reach cantilever rig, rated for 3,500 kips combined drilling load with extended reach to 80 ft aft of the transom. The R-550D features an operational variable deck load of 11,000 kips (Fig. 1). The Zentech designed and patented Zenlock System provides enhanced rig safety and ease of operation. This unique leg-to-hull fixation system is already under construction for R-550D rigs being built for Alliance Offshore Drilling. The R-550D features 4,220-bbl active/reserve mud pits configured for dual-fluid operations, along with three mud pumps, each 2,220 hp or equivalent. Living quarters can accommodate more than 150. Utilities and drains are configured for zero discharge. The R-550 is designed for closed-loop or air cooling of all equipment. The rig features a high-speed preload system for minimized mobilization time, as well as enhanced jacking capacity with 54 pinions allowing jacking with full preload (70,000 kips) in addition to normal jacking of 54,000 kips. The R-550D has been designed to virtually eliminate rack phase differential (RPD) problems with an allowable spud-can deflection of more than 14 ft and RPD values in the range of 9 to 10 in. with nominal fixity. The rig handles drilling depth of 35,000 ft (9144 m).


Proper casing centralization is critical to achieving a high-quality cement job and long-term well integrity. The Weatherford VariForm centralizer withstands the most-demanding run-in-hole conditions to centralize casing precisely in horizontal, deviated, standard-gauge, underreamed, and close-­tolerance sections (Fig. 2). It is a one-piece, slip-on centralizer with a single, metallurgically invisible weld with no hinges or mechanical connections. The shape can be easily adjusted to optimize performance for any application. During run-in, the bows collapse to enable passage through tight wellbore restrictions. Upon landing, the bows restore the full outside diameter (OD) to provide reliable standoff. The centralizer is available in three distinct versions: standard, UR, and sub. The standard centralizer has an OD that is equal to the expected hole size, to minimize starting and running forces. The UR centralizer runs through tight annular restrictions, especially those in underreamed sections. The sub runs in close-­tolerance casing restrictions as narrow as 0.125 in., yet it restores to full OD to centralize underreamed openhole sections of at least 4 in. Each type of centralizer is available in a wide selection of standard sizes and designs or can be fully customized.

Artificial-Lift Foamers

Aubin has developed a new range of “green” foamers certified for use in the North Sea and Europe. Aubin has focused on surfactant-based foaming agents suitable for a variety of brines, temperatures, and condensate levels, therefore unlocking a new gas-well de­liquefication solution. Both operators and service companies have verified the laboratory performance of the new product range, leading to field trials in the North Sea and Europe. ­Laboratory-testing methods involve a dynamic liquid-unloading technique by a test-rig apparatus and column tests by bubbling gas at the bottom of a cylinder, which aim either to remove a percentage of total liquids from the column or to evaluate the quality of the foam generated. The dynamic-liquid-­unloading-test rig simulates the well in the laboratory. The foam generated is collected in a tank and then sits on a balance, obtaining the weight of the fluids unloaded from the column. Gas purge at the bottom of the cylinder by a porous sinter reveals the quality of the foam and buildup time and half-life of the foam. Test results have shown a significant de­liquefication percentage, up to 90%, for highly loaded condensate wells.

Magnetic Thickness Detector

GOWell’s latest-generation ­magnetic-thickness-detector (MTD) tool is ca­pable of evaluating quantitative thickness measurements of three concentric pipes (Fig. 3). The instrument combines a high-power transmitter, improved ­signal/noise electronics, and fully configurable acquisition. This flexible approach allows a wide range of evaluations under different conditions and conveyance systems, including logging in large pipes (up to 18⅝ in.), fast logging of single pipes, chrome- and alloy-pipe evaluation, thick casings, and memory-optimized logging. Internally, the tool acquires up to 300 channels of pulsed-eddy-current transient decay that can be transmitted in real time to surface or stored downhole. Real-time logging is possible either in combination below any of GOWell’s existing Multi-Finger Caliper (MFC) tools or when combined with PegasusStar, ­GOWell’s high-speed telemetry system. Memory acquisition is supported by GOWell’s memory logging system. When run with their Pegasus­Star platform, the MTD is fully combinable with  the MFC tool  and their Digital-Radial-Bond Tool, allowing a comprehensive evaluation of well integrity, providing accurate thickness information for multiple pipe strings as well as the cement-bond quality.

Chemical-Injection System

Remote Automation Monitoring (RAM) products allow upstream and midstream operations to increase chemical-injection precision and efficiency while reducing chemical and overhead costs. RAM uses patent-pending, virtual-flowmetering and stroke-­counting technology to achieve precise dosage delivery. RAM’s IPC2000 cellular pump controller uses this technology to sense each compression stroke delivered by the pump without additional sensors, cables, or components (Fig. 4). It offers major savings on equipment costs and includes PROFLO proportional flow-control technology. PROFLO allows the option of setting chemical-delivery targets on the basis of conventional quart-­per-day parameters, or in parts per million (PPM). The PPM mode permits a simple input signal from a product flowmeter to automatically modulate chemical dosage on the basis of the user-set PPM concentration level. All RAM ­cellular- and satellite-based controllers feature integrated tank monitoring, local autonomous pump and tank management, comprehensive battery management, temperature-controlled methanol injection, and security alerts. They also offer comprehensive scheduled/polled reporting through text, a mobile web page, or RAM’s FLEET web-based human/machine interface.

Geospatial Navigation and Analysis Service

In complex geological formations, optimizing wellbore placement presents a difficult challenge. The Baker Hughes VisiTrak geospatial navigation and analysis service increases well-­construction efficiency by reducing seismic uncertainty and avoiding costly pilot holes and unplanned geological sidetracks (Fig. 5). The advanced logging-while-drilling service makes it possible to define reservoir architecture by mapping multiple bed boundaries in real time, without the need for pilot holes that are typically drilled to evaluate the formation before drilling the horizontal portion of a well. The service combines extradeep azimuthal readings with full interpretation of complex geological scenarios, to give operators a better understanding of the reservoir architecture. The service, which is built on more than a decade of reservoir-navigation experience using both omnidirectional and azimuthal technologies, consists of four key components: a set of sophisticated downhole sensors, reservoir-­navigation-service experts, multicomponent real-time inversion-modeling software, and advanced 3D visualization software. The VisiTrak bottomhole assemble uses short transmitter/receiver spacing to position the modules closer to the bit, which enables earlier detection of remote reservoir boundaries. The modules operate at two frequencies—20 and 50 kHz. For each frequency, the VisiTrak service provides long space measurements of phase difference and attenuation resistivities, along with directional signal-strength measurements that provide a 360° view of the borehole.

Automated Reporting Software

NOV has announced the commercial release of the SynOpsis automated reporting software, part of the MD Totco family of drilling applications and software. The SynOpsis software collects data from rig sensors, determines the activities being performed, and provides rig, crew, and well-­efficiency metrics to increase understanding of drilling operations. Manual methods of capturing rig activity are subjective and summarized, limiting the ability to identify invisible lost time or possible areas for improvement. The SynOpsis software analyzes 1-second sensor data at the rigsite to determine the rig state in real time. This provides metrics and visibility on even the shortest events, enabling operational optimization. The SynOpsis software offers a variety of intuitive, comprehensive reports that highlight key performance indicators such as rotary-/slide-drilling rate of penetration, tripping speed, and slip-to-slip and weight-to-weight connections to evaluate rig and well performance. With detailed and summary information, users can view key metrics by day, well, or crew. With a diverse selection of reports, whether customers want to see a condensed daily summary of all rigs or wells, a comprehensive view of rig performance, a post-well report, or a benchmark of multiple rigs and wells drilled in a particular area, SynOpsis provides a view to meet the need.