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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Sucker-Rod Coupling

Materion introduced its ToughMet 3 sucker-rod couplings. Materion’s ­patent-pending ToughMet 3 couplings are designed to maximize production output and significantly reduce the costs of artificial-lift operations when used in place of sucker-rod couplings made of conventional materials (Fig. 1). ToughMet 3 couplings cut the frequency of sucker-rod-coupling and production-tubing damage, the leading causes of well failure. Made from a unique temper of copper/nickel/tin spinodal alloy engineered by Materion specifically for use in the oil field, ToughMet 3 sucker-rod couplings resist mechanical wear, thread damage, corrosion, and erosion. They are nongalling, to prevent damage to production tubing, and they retain their strength, even at elevated temperatures. This combination of attributes minimizes the frequency of workovers associated with couplings made of other materials. ToughMet 3 sucker-rod couplings are designed to double the interval between users’ well workovers, effectively reducing one of their major operating costs and increasing their earnings by eliminating costly production interruptions.

Completely Disintegrating Fracturing Plug

Baker Hughes has introduced the ­SPECTRE disintegrating fracturing plug—the first in the industry that disintegrates completely—further advancing the benefits of interventionless technology for the plug-and-perforate market. The SPECTRE disintegrating plug offers the same flexible stage placement as composite plugs, but, unlike other interventionless plugs, the entire plug—including the plug body, anchoring grip, and packing element—fully disintegrates downhole in the presence of wellbore fluids (Fig. 2). The new plug eliminates post-fracturing intervention requirements, accelerates completion times, and leaves behind an unobstructed production inner diameter for maximum flow area and easy future access. The SPECTRE plug’s innovative design leverages the high-strength, controlled electrolytic metallic (CEM) nanoconstructed material developed and patented by Baker Hughes. Much of the plug body is formed from the same CEM material used in the company’s IN-Tallic disintegrating fracturing balls. A proprietary packing-element system provides reliable stage isolation, and a specially engineered anchoring system, built from similar disintegrating material, holds the plug firmly in place during fracturing. Complete disintegration ensures an unobstructed flow path and eliminates risks associated with plug debris. It also protects infrastructure from undissolved plug remnants, such as cast-iron slips or ceramic buttons, which can complicate any future interventions and compromise wellbore integrity.

Degradable Polymer

To date, there has been only one polymer considered strong enough for use in making downhole balls and tools: polyglycolic acid (PGA). Whereas balls and tools made from PGA degrade reasonably well in environments that have a sustained temperature greater than 210°F, PGA is generally not considered for use in lower-temperature formations. Bubbletight has developed its new patent-pending Degradable Composite Polymer (DCP) to overcome the issue of degrading in colder formations, and it has the added benefit of costing less than PGA. Balls, darts, and other downhole tools made from DCP will degrade in ambient-­temperature fresh water and have the strength and mechanical toughness of a composite phenolic (Fig. 3). Additionally, because it is a thermoplastic that can be ­injection-molded and extruded, DCP can be formed directly into net-shape components with no additional machining required.

Hydraulic Tubing Tong

The Weatherford 7.6-50 hydraulic tubing tong provides torque capability of up to 50,000 lbf-ft (67 791 N•m) for makeup and breakout of 2⅜- to 7⅝-in. tubing. Moreover, the backup tong can grip up to 8⅝-in. tubing. The ergonomic design of the tong enables safe and efficient makeup of premium, high-torque connections on both standard and corrosion-resistant-alloy tubulars (Fig. 4). Various features help to ensure proper connection makeup and long-term wellbore integrity. The patented free-floating hydraulic backup virtually eliminates bending and shearing when making up or breaking out connections, the integrated thread compensation system prevents thread damage, and the optional Micro Grip pipe-gripping system minimizes marking on the tubular surface to avoid stress corrosion cracking and sulfide stress cracking. The reduced damage and minimized marking that result from using these features also save on the potential well-workover costs. The tong is fully compatible with multiple tong-positioning systems, and operation can be fully or semimechanized.

Pipeline-Monitoring System

Paraffin-wax deposition and calcium-­carbonate scaling cause significant costs for oil companies. Significant savings can be achieved when the pipeline deposition and scaling are monitored continuously in order to control dosage of antiscaling and antideposition chemicals widely used in the oil and gas industry. Deposition Watch, developed by tomographic instrument provider Rocsole, is a new instrument that produces real-time images of what is collecting on the inner wall of the sensor, for continuous control of the chemical feed (Fig. 5). The instrument provides a visual image of the interior of the pipe even when the pipe is 95%, or in some cases even 100%, blocked by deposition. Some operators do not use antiscaling and antideposition chemicals to prevent pipe buildup. These operators can use Deposition Watch to monitor deposition-growth rate for optimization of the pipe-pigging cycle. Pipe-deposition and slug-flow data provided by Deposition Watch can also be used in validation of a multiphase-flow simulator. The system is based on a nonnuclear technology called electrical-capacitance tomography, an imaging technique that can be used for the determination of the permittivity distribution of a dielectric medium, within a region of interest.

Cooling-Water Treatment System

U.S. Water introduced the Phos­Zero family of cooling-water-treatment products with E-FeX technology, a new technology in sustainable chemistry for ­cooling-water treatment. E-FeX is a synergistic blend of ingredients that replaces the most common uses of phosphorus in cooling-water applications. The Phos­Zero products are designed to provide scale and corrosion control, similar to traditional phosphorus-containing chemistries but without the discharge or aquatic toxicity concerns of older technologies (Fig. 6). Benefits for users of PhosZero with E-FeX include maximum protection against corrosion and scale, ensuring high heat transfer and maximum equipment efficiency; environmental sustainability through Phos­Zero’s favorable aquatic toxicity profile, reducing a plant’s environmental footprint; elimination of phosphorus discharge to the environment, enhancing regulatory compliance and eradicating costs associated with phosphorus removal from waste streams; and plant-safety improvement, because Phos­Zero reduces the need for acid use and storage on-site, helping to reduce reporting, insurance costs, and chemical-­handling mistakes.

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