Products in action

September 1, 2011

One-trip solution

Baker Hughes last summer deployed a drilling system featuring a TORXS expandable liner hanger package with an EZCase casing bit system to assist an operator bedeviled by a problem zone. The unidentified operator was unable to drill through a complex micro-fractured formation because tools and drilling fluids, including oilbased mud, were being lost in the hole. After three sidetrack attempts, the operator was considering plugging and abandoning the well, in 162ft water depths.

Plans called for the well to be drilled to 40m from a depth of 3230m to 3270m to isolate the difficult zone. The operator also wanted to save money by switching from oil-based mud to seawater-based mud to drill the next section. The Baker Hughes liner drilling system drilled 45m, of which 19m were drilled with complete lost circulation, saving the well and about $7.5 million in combined mud and nonproductive time losses, Baker Hughes said.

The TORXS system allows operators to run an expandable liner hanger conventionally, 'without a critically timed high-pressure plug bump as the primary activation method for the hanger or packer, or for release of the running tool,' Baker Hughes said.

‘We drilled the hole, set the liner and the liner top packer in one trip,' said Baker Hughes product manager for liner and casing drilling Maurilio Solano. ‘Other systems may take three trips: one to run the liner, get to bottom, start drilling, release the tool, cement the hole and pull out the tool; another trip to clean the tieback; and a third to run a tieback seal assembly with a liner top packer and then isolate the top of the liner.'

Riser tensioner push-up

Under its $45 million contract to supply and service the industry's largest TLP marine riser tensioner systems – due for deployment in Chevron's Big Foot oil and gas field in the Gulf of Mexico – GE Oil & Gas' Drilling & Production business is making key design modifications to develop ‘push-up' style tensioner equipment to deal with the challenging wave and current conditions at location.

To date, TLPs have been successfully deployed in water depths approaching 5000ft. The GE-Chevron Big Foot unit will be the first to operate in depths of 5200ft. GE's Manuel Terranova said: ‘For this deepwater application we are utilizing innovative technology to deliver customized "push-up" style TLP tensioners that offer Chevron an efficient and reliable solution for their challenging deepwater requirements.' Installation of the TLP is scheduled to begin in November 2012, with first oil expected in 2014.

Calm hose deployment

Scottish-based offshore handling systems specialist Caley Ocean Systems has supplied a large diameter hose deployment system to SBM Offshore for the installation of two, largediameter, reinforced, bonded rubber hose offloading lines for a catenary anchor leg mooring (Calm) buoy. The system, based on an SBM design concept, will be used to assemble and deploy lengths of Trelleborg Trelline hose, some of which will be fitted with buoyancy modules.

Building on the SBM concept, Caley teamed up with SBM to refine the hose deployment and lifting system's design, reducing the size and weight of the A-frame structure, and the overall cycle times. In addition, guidance of the hose both above and below the deployment system's friction clamp enables safer operation.

The Caley hose deployment system comprises an A-frame assembly, which includes winches and lifting gear with a top tension of 26t, outrigging platform structure designed to withstand 200t of load, including clamp, guidance system, handrails and walkways, and 6.8m diameter deployment wheel.

The system was fully tested at Caley's quayside facility in Glasgow prior to being shipped for integration onboard the Normand Installer.

The system was then successfully used to deploy two offloading lines without any disruption in the assembly process, reports Caley sales director Gregor McPherson.

‘The dedicated hose deployment system combines careful handling of the large hose sections with ease of operation, enabling SBM Offshore to install Calm buoy hose quickly and efficiently,' he added.

Pressure off for valve repair

Houston's TDW Offshore Services completed a pipeline pressure isolation operation that allowed the replacement of a faulty shut down valve above the riser on a Gulf of Mexico platform.

The TDW team prepares to load the SmartPlug isolation plug modules into a cassette.

TDW was called in when engineers at the unidentified operating company determined that two existing downstream valves might not be sufficient to isolate the gas pressure during the valve replacement. TDW deployed two SmartPlug isolation modules linked together to create a ‘double block' isolation in the riser while monitoring the pigging procedure with its remotely operated SmartTrack tracking and pressure monitoring system.

The SmartPlug modules were pigged in for 80ft, traveling under a flow rate of 30-40 gallons per minute at about 1900psi. TDW set the downstream SmartPlug module and bled the topside pressure to about half the riser pressure; with the seal integrity confirmed, the shutdown valve could be replaced.

The modules remained in the riser for 12 days during the replacement, with hourly pressure readings taken of the isolated section.

‘By using this method, the operator would not only create a safe working environment for the valve replacement operation, its in situ gas inventory would be maintained at working pressure,' said Mike Benjamin, VP of offshore pipeline solutions for TDW.

‘The operation would be achieved without venting or flooding the line, which would disrupt flow and cause downtime on neighboring developments.' OE

Sonar capabilities expand:
BlueView Technologies and Schilling Robotics signed a systems integrator agreement that enables Schilling to sell BlueView 2D and 3D products on the company's ROVs. BlueView's systems, depth rated to 4000m, feature imaging sonar that uses the company's new S2 oil compensated electronics in what BlueView says is the industry's smallest deepwater housing.
‘BlueView imaging systems are in high demand and quickly becoming standard equipment for offshore ROVs providing essential data and imagery for operators, especially in low and zero visibility conditions,' said Schilling Robotics VP of sales & marketing Peter MacInnes.
BlueView also reached an agreement with Aberdeen-based SeeByte that the companies said will expand the capabilities of BlueView's sonar systems with advanced sonar analytics software from SeeByte. BlueView's sonar systems are currently deployed on more than 500 AUVs, ROVs, surface vessels, fixed installations and portable tripods.


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