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Technology Applications

Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Fluid-Control Valve

Flowrox introduced its slurry-knife-gate product designed to enhance current pipeline equipment and processes. The new SKW (slurry knife wafer) valve was developed for use where abrasive or corrosive slurries, powders, or coarse substances are processed. The main benefit of its full-bore design is that the SKW valve itself becomes an integral part of the pipe and allows it to process the same fluids in the harshest of conditions. In addition to its strength and resistance to aggressive slurries, the SKW valve is designed as a full-port fluid-control device that allows a more-efficient process, requiring less pumping energy to operate. The SKW valve features a cast single-piece body that eliminates any potential leak paths from the body and offers a versatile tower construction that will accept manual, electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic forms of actuation (Fig. 1). When in the open position, the SKW valve’s rubber ring sleeves are the only parts in contact with the medium, as a way to reduce any potential corrosion or deterioration caused by wear and tear from even the most abrasive slurries. The valve also features load-distribution rings embedded into the rubber ring sleeves, a feature that avoids situations in which tight piping tolerances have caused the compression and destruction of rubber sleeves.

High-Build Rotary-Steerable System

Baker Hughes released its AutoTrak eXact high-build rotary-steerable system designed to help operators drill complex 3D wells with improved directional control and superior borehole quality. The AutoTrak eXact system combines high-buildup-rate capability with advanced logging-while-drilling (LWD) services, enabling optimized completions, improving drilling efficiency, and maximizing production potential. Using proprietary and proven closed-loop steering control, the AutoTrak eXact system delivers precise wellbore placement with high borehole quality in all applications for easier casing runs (Fig. 2). The system has the ability to drill shorter curve sections up to 12°/100 ft, compared with conventional systems that offer 5–6°/100-ft build rates. This maximizes reservoir exposure and helps avoid costly directional work in troublesome formations. Compatible with the Baker Hughes’ advanced suite of LWD services, the AutoTrak eXact system also provides access to real-time formation evaluation and reservoir data to help geosteer wells and optimize placement in the reservoir.

Compliance-Requirement-Management Software

Designed and developed to eliminate wide-ranging compliance-management failures, ACS Engineering’s Matrics regulatory-management system offers ease of learning, reduced workload, simplified user training, and streamlined production efforts. The software uses a simple system of implementation and maintenance and addresses key site-specific requirements such as air, water, waste, and safety (including ongoing system maintenance) for a fixed monthly fee with no added charges. Additionally, besides covering all typical scheduled tasks, Matrics’ electronic functionality includes unscheduled tasks that have caused violations when not physically checked. Submittal requirements accompany each specific task enumerated by the software, eliminating guesswork about processes. Converting requirements into easily monitored action items can be performed easily by individually marking Task or Checklist in the Matrics system. The software keeps all requirements current, tracking changes daily and auto-updating new requirements, including new wording, task revisions, and current frequency. The scope of these updates includes not only permits, plans, manuals, and contracts, but any items sometimes overlooked manually.

Spill-Containment System

As regulations for spill management grow increasingly stringent, oil and gas operators require new technologies that will reduce contamination risks, improve on-site safety, and minimize overall project costs. Newpark Mats and Integrated Services (NMIS) introduced the DURA-BASE DEFENDER linerless spill-containment system. The new system provides drilling and completion crews with a faster and more efficient way of achieving total site containment of spills, adhering to environmental requirements while reducing overall costs of operation. The DEFENDER system incorporates NMIS DURA-BASE mats into a fully integrated structure for total site containment (Fig. 1). As an all-in-one solution, DEFENDER protects the environment while eliminating the operator costs associated with transport, repair, and disposal of liners. The system features NMIS’s DX4 sealing technology, a key component designed to keep spills in check, limiting them to the surface of mats for fast and easy cleanup. The DEFENDER system’s enhanced cellar-protection system, coupled with DX4 sealing technology, reinforces the critical cellar region with a third layer of security. The proprietary cellar-protection system is custom-fitted for any cellar, on any site. The fully integrated wall berms and drive-over berms improve work site safety by easing access to the work platform, and minimize the environmental impact to surrounding areas with additional splash protection.

High-Performance Motor

Scientific Drilling International (SDI) introduced the TiTAN22 high-performance-motor solution. The TiTAN22 is engineered to support the most demanding drilling environments while delivering reliability and durability across a wide range of applications. The motor design features SDI’s Ti-Flex titanium flex shaft, and supports the highest torque power sections and highly robust bearing assemblies, providing optimal drilling performance in all sections of the well (Fig. 4). The TiTAN22 delivers confidence and reliability through enhanced weight-on-bit capacity for increased rate of penetration, a rugged driveline for ultrahigh-torque applications, full rotational capacity in any section of the well, a short bit-to-bend for directional versatility, and a robust design for optimal polycrystalline-diamond-bit performance. The TiTAN22 is ideal for drilling extended-reach laterals, for use in laminated formations, and for factory drilling in shale reservoirs.

Conductor-Cementing-Support System

It has become increasingly common for operators to install a jacket and batch set the platform conductors so that the topside can be installed at a later date. The operator brings a rig over the jacket and uses it to run a conductor and then to hold the conductor in place while the cement cures. Claxton Engineering Services has developed a new conductor-cementing-support system (CCSS) that has typically saved 12 to 18 hours of rig time per conductor waiting for cement to cure. The Claxton CCSS secures the conductor with a hydraulic jack-and-clamp mechanism that holds the weight of the conductor while the cement cures (Fig. 5). This means that the rig no longer has to hold each conductor and can therefore move to the next slot and begin running another conductor. The CCSS has a holding capacity of 135–160 t and is suitable for conductor diameters of 24 to 30 in. However, the design can be scaled to any conductor size on request and the footprint and weight-handling capacity tailored to specific slot or jacket configurations. The new system has a compact design and can be repositioned easily without a crane.

Articulating Rotational Mast

STEP Energy Services introduced the STEP-ARM articulating rotational mast, designed as part of a new coiled-tubing system. The unit was designed to reduce on-site safety risks and increase the efficiency of coiled-tubing operations on multiwell-pad locations, an increasingly common drilling practice. The unit is able to service multiple wells without having to move any equipment, greatly reducing the amount of time required to move from well to well (Fig. 6). It also provides increased safety for professionals working on a job site. The reel trailer is designed to carry a maximum payload of coiled tubing on the road. High-strength steel is used extensively in the unit to keep weight down, for road restrictions and regulatory requirements. The injector features an auto-leveling system, and the unit’s dual-boom design features a control system that keeps the booms timed and matched within 10 mm of one another at their tips. Once the three-piece system arrives on location, operators will spot the reel trailer up to the wellhead or multiple wellheads before setting up the STEP-ARM, which passes the injector unit from the back of the reel trailer to the ARM. The ARM lands atop the wellhead.

Flush-Joint Elevator

The Weatherford flush-joint elevator (FJE) uses four slips—two hydraulically actuated slips and two passive slips—to clamp onto joints as they come into the vee-door. As each joint arrives at the vee-door, rig personnel lift and secure the elevator around the joint by triggering the actuated slips. The elevator then lifts the joint to the derrick by topdrive, where it is made up to the string. Once the joint is threaded securely, the slips are deactivated and the elevator can be opened easily to release the joint and move on to the next section. Although this tool is similar in use to a single-joint elevator, the FJE has additional capabilities. It enables operators to run flush joints without threading lift nubbins in and out. The FJE also can be used on strings with a mixture of standard and flush joints, which helps operators avoid switching between two elevators when running in and out. By eliminating the need for lift nubbins, the FJE enables rig personnel to make up and run flush joints as if they were standard-drillpipe joints.

Hydraulic-Pumping System

The maintenance challenges associated with pumping large volumes of proppant at high pressures and rates are an accepted part of day-to-day operations. Energy Recovery introduced the VorTeq hydraulic-pumping system, ­engineered to increase run time and reduce maintenance costs by rerouting abrasive fracturing fluid away from existing hydraulic-fracturing pumps. VorTeq reroutes proppant-filled fluid away from high-pressure pumps on fracturing sites so these pumps process only fresh water and therefore last significantly longer. VorTeq channels the abrasive ­fluids and sends them down the wellbore. The core of the VorTeq system is Energy Recovery’s pressure-exchanger technology, which is already in use in more than 15,000 desalination installations worldwide. The system handles up to 110 bbl/min, with a ­treating pressure up to 15,000 psi. The ­system is designed with only one moving part, and made from tungsten carbide, which is 1,000 times more abrasion-resistant than steel (Fig. 7). With VorTeq, hydraulic-horsepower pumps will not be exposed to the abrasive-slurry mixture of proppant and water, the source of most maintenance issues.