Often, operators aren’t aware that a wellbore seal needs to be replaced until a leak or loss of pressure occurs. AFGlobal is developing and testing a condition monitoring program for seals in an active wellbore sealing device to determine when a seal is nearing the end of its useful life before any leaks or pressure losses occur, leaving hours to spare before a change is required. In this interview from the 2018 SPE/IADC Managed Pressure Drilling and Underbalanced Operations Conference in New Orleans, La., on 17 April, Brian Piccolo, Technical Sales Director for AFGlobal, explains how the system uses annular packer pressure to monitor a seal and determine when it’s near the end of its useful life. He also explains the drilling mode testing AFGlobal performed using this system on its test rig in Houston. Further, he discusses the company’s future plans for the system, including developing a fingerprinting process that would specify how much useful life a seal has left.
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