Products in action - OE October 2010

Quicker connection
Baker Hughes announced the commercialization of its Reconnect technology, which the company says provides an alternative for re-establishing surface hydraulic control to surface-controlled subsurface safety valves (SCSSVs) rendered inoperable due to compromised control lines or when the installation of a storm choke is undesirable. Baker Hughes says Reconnect, developed by recent acquisition BJ Services, is also a viable option for wells that were not completed with SCSSVs.

The system includes a wireline-retrievable safety valve, a through-tubing replacement control line that strings into the new valve assembly and a wellhead adapter.

SCSSVs, mandatory in most offshore wells, are installed in production tubing and designed to stop flow in the event of a catastrophic failure. If pressure inside the control line is lost, the valve closes to stop flow; historically, surface control could only be regained with the installation of a storm choke, which can be unreliable, or by performing a workover intervention.

According to Baker Hughes, the Reconnect system uses field-proven capillary and safety valve technology to rapidly restore an important safety barrier with the same complete surface control as was originally designed into the well.

The technology was put to use on a mature shallow water Gulf of Mexico well that had developed a leak in the control line of its subsurface safety valve and that could not be repaired with injected sealants. The operator considered installing a velocity valve, but the well was scheduled for a P&A in one zone and the perforation of a new zone; adjusting and readjusting a velocity valve was deemed too timeconsuming and expensive because of the well’s remote location. The Reconnect system gave the operator the flexibility to vary the well’s production rate without the intervention required to pull the velocity valve and adjust the differential pressure settings.

Additionally, the operator can perform mandatory downhole safety valve testing without the added cost of a lift boat, which was previously required due to the platform’s limited crane capacity and deck space.

Weatherford introduced what the company says is the industry’s first rotary-mounted, multifunctional slip used for casing, tubing or drillpipe operations. The UniSlips all-in-one handling tool eliminates the need for frequent slip changes by handling a variety of tubular within its size range, saving hours of rig time.

The UniSlips tool incorporates a power grip feature to counteract torque, eliminating the need for manual backup tongs and the hazards associated with casing and tubing running operations, Weatherford says.

Statoil has pledged financial support for development of the technology, which was introduced at the 2010 ONS conference in Stavanger.

‘The drilling industry currently accepts the fact that slips have to be changed frequently for different pipe sizes and does not consider this as lost time; for example, when making up bottom hole assemblies drill strings and tapered casing and tubing strings,’ says Baard Alsaker, Weatherford’s rig systems general manager. ‘In the future these slip changes will be seen as nonproductive time and unnecessary personnel risk exposure at well center. New technology like the UniSlips tool allows for gripping a wide range of pipe sizes without slip-changes and manual interaction, providing flat time reduction while improving personnel safety.’

Cleanup timesaver
M-I Swaco has introduced Deepclean, a single-stage well-displacement chemical designed for downhole use in oil and gas wells. The additive is used for cleanup during the displacement of oil-base or synthetic-base drilling fluids prior to the start of completion operations.

Deepclean forms a double emulsion in brine under shear, where both water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions exist simultaneously. ‘The unique structure enhances the mass transfer between oil-base mud film and spacer so that oil film is removed rapidly, solids are dispersed and metal surfaces are water-wetted effectively,’ M-I Swaco says.

The Deepclean additive ‘creates a perfect interfacial film between the solvent and aqueous phases,’ the company says. The additive meets all requirements for multi-stage displacement wash train with a single product and can be mixed with freshwater, seawater and high-density brines.

The additive was used to successfully clean a deepwater well in Nigeria with a single, full circulation, says M-I Swaco project engineer Adewale Talab. The Deepclean additive ‘proved to be highly effective in cleaning syntheticbase mud from an over 17,500ft deepwater well in just one circulation, compared to five circulations with the previous displacement chemistry’, Talab says.

Harnessing the hazards
The UK Health & Safety Executive’s offshore safety statistics bulletin 2009/10 recently revealed that releases of hydrocarbons from UK North Sea installations were at a five-year high and up 40% on the previous year. According to business technology solutions provider Amor, such releases could be significantly reduced by using the group’s newly launched process safety management system.

Amor, with 22 years of developing, supporting and implementing process safety procedures in UKCS oil and gas operations under its belt, says its system captures all the information required in near real-time to make proactive decisions that could prevent offshore incidents, bringing together data from disparate sources to provide a simpler, more robust environment in which to control and manage the hazards.

According to Andy Corkhill, Amor Group energy sales director, the system gives senior management and boards the ability to drill down into working schedules and practices and reassure themselves that policies and safe working procedures are being followed. ‘IT itself is not the solution, but it provides a solid platform from which an effective process safety management system can grow,’ he says.

‘Working with the oil and gas industry and a major utility firm, we have a proven methodology that standardises responses to critical situations, ensuring containment and early warning of potential risks and hazards,’ adds Corkhill.

ESDV integration
ABB and Dresser Masoneilan are collaborating on an integrated process to monitor, test and manage emergency shutdown valves (ESDV) during all operational conditions.

The combined solution leverages the capabilities of ABB’s 800xA high integrity safety instrumented system (SIS) and Masoneilan’s SVI II emergency shutdown device and PST controller to improve overall plant safety and increase the availability of ESDV’s for optimal response of the isolation valve in emergency situations. This integration also simplifies safety compliance by automatically recording partial stroke test results and emergency shutdown events.

‘By taking advantage of System 800xA’s unique integration capabilities and open standards, the user has immediate access to the health diagnostics and status of the ESDV,’ explains Kristian Olsson, manager of ABB’s safety center of excellence. ‘This access also provides proactive management of this critical device, for instance enabling remote triggering of partial stroke tests, to ensure that it is ready to perform when needed. This immediate readiness is vital to the protection of the process, the environment, and the surrounding community in the event of an abnormal situation.’

‘While open standards offer great benefit for end users, it is the collaboration between automation vendors that provides for an “out-ofthe- box” solution capable of generating instant results,’ notes Sandro Esposito, Dresser Masoneilan global marketing manager, digital products. ‘The SVI II ESD provides an excellent return on investment with its combined shutdown function, partial stroke test function and shutdown event “blackbox” into a single SIL3 certified device.’

generating instant results,’ notes Sandro Esposito, Dresser Masoneilan global marketing manager, digital products. ‘The SVI II ESD provides an excellent return on investment with its combined shutdown function, partial stroke test function and shutdown event “blackbox” into a single SIL3 certified device.’

The Sercel MaxiWave digital downhole seismic array has been selected to perform high-quality VSP and microseismic surveys by Canada’s GeoStrata Resources. Historically a surface seismic data acquisition company, GeoStrata is expanding its service capability to include downhole seismic and recently purchased a 20-level MaxiWave tool complete with the Wavelab acquisition and processing system. Company president Mitch Peters says the company is considering a second system in 2011.

When the MaxiWave was released in 2008 Sercel hailed it as ‘a technical milestone for the seismic industry’. It enabled for the first time, without the use of specialized deployment equipment, large downhole arrays to be used for safe, efficient and reliable recording of massive borehole seismic surveys either for standalone acquisition or in combination with 2D/3D surface seismic recording in both offshore and onshore environments.

Designed for large downhole surveys, MaxiWave, with its compact design, exceptional clamping force and industry-leading wireline telemetry, is also targeting hydraulic fracture and passive monitoring surveys.

Used oil analysis service
A new oil test service has been developed by Castrol specifically with the needs of the offshore oil and gas industry in mind. Unveiled at ONS in Stavanger, Castrol Labcheck allows lube oil or hydraulic oil onboard a rig or platform to be sent in for analysis of characteristics including wear metals, contaminants, oil condition and additives.

Tony Globe, business development manager for Castrol Energy Lubricants, says the service gives operators greater control over maintenance tasks and helps schedules to be planned with confidence, failures to be anticipated and avoided, and maintenance costs to be reduced. ‘Repeat samples are tested under the same conditions, using the same methods, ensuring the service delivers consistent results,’ he adds.

The results and diagnostic comments are available online usually within seven or eight days, supplemented with a traffic light system to indicate the equipment wear severity rating.

Heat for hydrates
Houston-based Gaumer Process reports it has conducted successful tests of its medium voltage subsea heaters to 5000psi, demonstrating effectiveness in water depths of up to 11,250ft.

The heaters could be used in oil containment operations like the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, where early containment efforts 5000ft below the Gulf of Mexico surface were thwarted by hydrate build-up.

Gaumer says its medium voltage heaters can be installed directly inside a containment vessel, such as the failed ‘dome’ deployed by BP, and powered by a ship above. The heaters raise the temperature inside the containment vessel above the point where hydrates form, allowing hydrocarbon capture with no environmental impact from the heaters.

‘Gaumer subsea heaters enable an immediate oil containment solution,’ says Gaumer VP of engineering Craig Tiras. ‘Our heaters operate at 4160 volts to raise the temperature of deepwater containment equipment so hydrates cannot form. This ensures that hydrocarbons can flow to storage ships on the surface.’

Heating could eliminate or reduce the need to use methanol and other toxic chemicals to prevent hydrate formation, the company says.

RBG replaces
Forties risers Under a £500,000 contract with operator Apache North Sea, RBG recently built a pair of 130m-long risers at its Invergordon facility in north Scotland to replace existing risers at Forties Bravo and Forties Charlie. RBG’s new marine & subsea division is delivering the project from fabrication to deployment into an installation vessel and hookup, providing a complete subsea support package including construction support and maintenance.

Cutting down drag forces
The newly launched UROS centralizer embodies a radical new design targeted specifically on under-reamed well sections, helping to optimise the balance between drag resistive loads and the performance required once in final position, says European centralizer manufacturer Centek.

The company sees its underreamed offset centralizer, currently available in 7 x 9-1/2 and 7 x 9-7/8 sizes, as ‘the answer to the oil industry’s need to reduce drag forces on run-in-hole through previously set casing before continuing into an underreamed well section’.

According to Centek, the UROS significantly reduces initial insertion forces, a characteristic of bow type centralizers, and additionally delivers a substantial reduction in running forces when passing through previously set casings. Once through the compressed stage, the UROS reverts to normal centralizer operation in the open hole with the bows regaining their nominal outer diameter to maximise stand off. With the new centralizer’s innovative, patented bow design, the high points of the bows are offset alternately, producing significant drag force reduction without reducing the strength of the unit or its capacity to centralize the casing once in the open hole.

‘The UROS is the best solution for under-reamed wells of any geometry, providing reduced insertion and drag forces, to ensure a problem-free run through tight previously set casing, and once clear of all restrictions, it expands every time to the designed OH size to optimize cementing operations in under-reamed wells,’ explains Centek sales and marketing manager Cliff Berry. ‘Once in the OH the unit characteristics are those of a gauge hole centralizer so maximising stand-off.’

Close collaboration
Halliburton’s Landmark Software and Services division rolled out a software suite that the company says allows distributed, multi-user teams to work in a common workspace and improve user productivity by more than 60% over traditional approaches.

The DecisionSpace Desktop software, built on the OpenWorks project database, creates what Halliburton calls ‘immersive collaboration’ among E&P subsurface specialists, improving efficiency ‘by eliminating the cumbersome data management challenges inherent to so many workflows.’

The OpenWorks database allows immediate updates so decisions can be made based on the most current analysis.

‘DecisionSpace Desktop suite customers benefit from two key productivity gains over existing solutions,’ says Landmark VP Gene Minnich. ‘The first productivity gain results from the elimination of manual data search and manipulation. The second gain comes from the synergies found as a result of numerous cross-discipline technologies being available in a single application. Users can step through processes quickly, as the system recognizes the interdependencies and suggests intelligent default data. Additionally, the learning curve is reduced dramatically, as users no longer need to learn multiple different application interfaces.’

Monitoring jackups
The problem of rack phase differential (RPD) for jackup rig operators is said to be eliminated by a new monitoring system launched by Monitor Systems Scotland. RPD occurs when jackup legs encounter strong currents or variable, uneven ground such as soft or rocky seabed. Attempting to keep the leg chords even without effective monitoring can cause serious structural damage to the legs, racks, girder work and drive machinery.

Aberdeen-based Monitor’s RPD M1000 monitoring system, the first of which has been fitted to Transocean’s Magellan rig (pictured) in the North Sea, is designed to position the three legs of a jackup accurately and securely on the seabed. Managing director Brian Sinclair comments: ‘The most important consideration for jackup operators is getting the rig on site, positioned quickly and safely and earning money. Undertaking jacking operations in adverse conditions, without effective monitoring and control, can run high risks with serious safety implications and cause serious damage with extremely costly consequences. We believe our new RPD M1000 monitoring system addresses all of these issues successfully.’

The system uses three permanently located daisy wheels engaged precisely into the rack teeth on the three chords of each of the three legs, enabling direct, accurate feedback from the source of any problems. The daisy wheel units cause minimal obstruction and are made from extreme weather coated robust steel and high-grade stainless steel, with all shafts ‘O’ ring sealed to provide long-life reliability. Critical monitoring data is gathered from all leg chords and fed to a central control console, as well as to local monitors stationed at each chord, giving the operator clearly defined instructions on required RPD corrective actions and featuring auto-shut-down if disregarded.

The system also includes the development, with Siemens, of a radio telemetry network with SIL2 approval, aimed at reducing cabling installation costs and providing handheld mobile data display for additional operators. OE

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