2015Innovating While Drilling®March/April

Drilling & Completion Tech Digest

Enhanced Drilling taking Riserless Mud Recovery to deeper waters offshore Norway

Enhanced Drilling plans to deploy its Riserless Mud Recovery system in a project in 890 m of water on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The contract came into effect in November 2014 and will run into 2018.
Enhanced Drilling plans to deploy its Riserless Mud Recovery system in a project in 890 m of water on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The contract came into effect in November 2014 and will run into 2018.

A major operator has signed a four-year contract with Enhanced Drilling for the Riserless Mud Recovery (RMR) and CTS cuttings transportation system for use on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). Since it was first deployed operationally in 2003, RMR has been used on more than 220 wells. On this project, it will be used in a water depth of 890 m, making it the deepest RMR job to date on the NCS, according to Enhanced Drilling.

RMR returns mud and cuttings to the rig before the drilling riser is run, without discharge to the seabed. This means engineered, weighted drilling fluid can be used in the top-hole section. The technology enables this section of a well to be drilled more safely, quickly and with less environmental impact. CTS, meanwhile, enables operators to take cuttings, cement, mud, clay and other deposits away from the well area, keeping templates debris-free.

“Although we have provided both RMR and CTS for this customer before on the NCS, this latest contract for the deepest RMR project to date in the area is a great testament to the technology, skills and knowledge that Enhanced Drilling possesses,” Enhanced Drilling’s Vice President for Europe Svein Egil Steen said.

The four-year contract, which includes multi-year extension options, came into effect in late November 2014 and will run until 2018.

Acoustic telemetry network field-tested in deepwater GOM

XACT Downhole Telemetry, in conjunction with BP, in 2014 completed the first operational field trial of the SandSentry Acoustic Telemetry Network in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the company announced in January.

The SandSentry measurement and telemetry tools provide downhole measurements of weight, torque, bending, pressure and temperature, and wirelessly transmit this information to surface regardless of flow, depth or formation type. The system provides real-time downhole measurements in challenging environments where data is currently not available, while offering simple integration opportunities into existing rig operations.

In late 2014, two collar-based, full through-bore SandSentry tools were deployed during a deepwater Gulf of Mexico completion operation. These tools were designed to meet the harsh conditions and challenging loads seen in today’s deepwater well construction environments.

They demonstrated their ability to transmit and receive downhole data during flow and no-flow operations and exceeded acoustic-performance expectations, including demonstrating transmission ranges of greater than 5,000 ft between measurement nodes while operating at reduced transmission power settings.

“This successful field trial demonstrates the clear potential of XACT’s acoustic telemetry system, and we look forward to commercial application of this technology,” Mark Barrilleaux, Completions Advisor for BP, said.

Petrobras reduces operating costs, time with new pre-salt subsea deployment technique

At the end of last year, Petrobras deployed its first wet Christmas tree using cables in the pre-salt area. The main change involved was the use of a subsea equipment support vessel (SESV) to install the equipment rather than a traditional drillship. This resulted in a time saving of approximately 10 days, generating a gain of more than $5 million, according to the operator.

The Christmas tree was installed using this technique on Well 7-SPH-2D-SP, which is located on the Sapinhoá field in the pre-salt layer of the Santos Basin, at a depth of 2,130 m.

The operation, which involved lowering the Christmas tree into position and installing it on the wellhead using a suspended cable, was carried out from an SESV using a subsea equipment guidance system.

This installation technique replaces the use of drillships. Petrobras estimates that it takes approximately 10 hours to lower a riser 1,000 m in the open sea using a drillship. Consequently, the average time required to lower a Christmas tree for installation on a well at a water depth of 2,300 m is 40 hours. SESVs, on the other hand, can perform the same maneuver in less than four hours, due to the cable launch and return speed, according to the operator.

Petrobras had already used this technology at depths of up to 2,000 m. Following engineering studies, adaptations were made to the SESV Skandi Santos, enabling the vessel to install equipment at depths of up to 2,300 m.

With this project proving SESVs as a viable option for the pre-salt layer, Petrobras will be looking to this technology to help reduce operating costs and times.

The operator has chartered a second SESV, which is being adapted for depths of up to 2,500 m and is expected to start operating in the second half of 2016.

The Sapinhoá field is operated by Petrobras (45%) in partnership with BG E&P Brasil (30%) and Repsol Sinopec Brasil (25%).

BigFoot toe sleeve deployed in Anadarko Basin completion

The BigFoot toe sleeve was recently installed in a horizontal completion for an independent operator.
The BigFoot toe sleeve was recently installed in a horizontal completion for an independent operator.

PetroQuip Energy Services has implemented its toe sleeve, BigFoot, in a horizontal completion for an independent operator in the Anadarko Basin.

Eight days after BigFoot was installed and cemented, the operator rigged up to test the casing with a test pressure of 9,500 psi and then bled down to 0 psi. The first casing test was successful, so the operator chose to cycle through the remaining casing test chambers by pressuring up to 8,500 psi, then bleeding to 0 psi. The sleeve was opened during the final cycle at 4,600 psi. The operator pumped into the formation with an injection rate of 11.5 bpm at 7,200 psi with a total of 150 bbl injected before shutting down.

The BigFoot design enables operators to run multiple tests at any desired pressure for as long as necessary, according to PetroQuip. The toe sleeve can be opened at any time. These features can be coupled with the option of conducting multiple high-pressure tests and opening at a lower pressure.

BigFoot also eliminates the need for coiled tubing to be run to initiate circulation, PetroQuip said.

MWCC delivers expanded containment system

MWCC’s enhanced system builds on the equipment and technology put into place with the interim containment system, made available in February 2011.
MWCC’s enhanced system builds on the equipment and technology put into place with the interim containment system, made available in February 2011.

The Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) has announced the completion and delivery of its expanded containment system, bolstering well containment capabilities and response readiness for the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico. Built for use in depths up to 10,000 ft, the containment system can contain up to 100,000 bbl/day and handle up to 200 million cu ft/day of gas.

The system includes two modular capture vessels (MCVs); three capping stacks; subsea umbilical, risers and flowlines (SURF) equipment; and additional ancillary equipment.

The three capping stacks include the subsea containment assembly, 15k psi capping stack (single ram) and the 10k psi capping stack (dual ram). These stacks vary in size, and capabilities for use depending on incident factors.

MWCC’s SURF equipment is used to flow fluid from the capping stack to capture vessels on the surface. The two MCVs, the Eagle Texas (MCV A) and the Eagle Louisiana (MCV B), are modified Aframax tankers outfitted with modular processing equipment designed to capture, process, store and offload liquids from a damaged well. Each MCV can process up to 50,000 bbl/day with 700,000 bbl of liquid storage capacity and can offload the liquids to shuttle tankers.

MWCC’s two shore base locations along the US Gulf Coast provide the storage, maintenance and skilled personnel to support the deployment of the expanded containment system.

The Containment System is available for use by members, as well as non-members on a per-well basis.

Electro water separation system to be tested in California

OriginOil recently commissioned a pilot site for the electro water separation (EWS) treatment of produced water for steam injection and to provide irrigation water for California’s drought-stricken Central Valley.

EWS is a high-speed, chemical-free process used to filtrate large quantities of water. The site is hosted by Vaquero Energy, an E&P company based in Bakersfield, Calif. OriginOil has placed two EWS units with Vaquero. The first is a P250 model, which can treat 250 bbl/day. This unit is being field-tested.

The second is the commercial-scale P3000, designed to treat 3,000 bbl/day. Commercial scale can be achieved with this design by combining up to four units in a single 40-ft container to treat as much as 500,000 gal/day.

More articles about industry technology milestones and downhole or subsea innovations are available on DC’s Innovating While Drilling microsite. Click here to visit the site.

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