Managed-Pressure-Drilling Control Device

Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) that depends on a rotating control device (RCD) is benefiting from a specialized subsea innovation that improves performance and eliminates the conventional RCD altogether for subsea applications. In deepwater environments, the Active Control Device (ACD) from AFGlobal offers a significant departure from conventional RCDs with a purpose-built, nonrotating, hydraulically controlled sealing sleeve around the drillpipe. The ACD, a component of the broader riser-gas-handling system, is American Petroleum Institute 16RCD-qualified to isolate and seal off the top of the riser to divert mudflow during MPD operations. The unique sleeve is a comolded element comprising an enhanced urethane matrix reinforced with a durable polytetrafluoroethylene inner shell. As the sealing sleeve wears, pressure is actively applied to force the element against the drillpipe to maintain consistent seal performance. The device varies hydraulic pressure on the seal to compensate for wear and accommodate passage of wear-­inducing tool joints. In addition, active pressure is a positive wear indicator to inform maintenance and assure MPD operations. Service life and performance is further enhanced by the greater durability of the comolded element and lubrication of the seal with clean drilling mud.

The Active Control Device from AFGlobal eliminates the need for conventional RCDs for subsea applications.