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No longer are oil country tubular goods merely "dumb iron."
In the tubulars business, there is now a smarter stainless steel, a smarter way to track tubulars from the mill to the drill, and a smarter way to use drill pipe for downhole telemetry. It's no surprise that smart wells would require smart tubulars.
Martensitic stainless steel
Koppel MTX, a new seamless tubular product, was introduced in May 2002 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. This patented martensitic stainless steel is more corrosion-resistant than 13Cr, and more embrittlement-resistant than Super 13Cr, which makes it suitable for use in fields with high CO2 concentrations and offshore environments. Because of its impact toughness, it is also suitable for both cold climates and deep, hot wells.
Invented by Dr. Robert F. Buck, president of Advanced Steel Technology, martensitic stainless steel tubing was designed to produce a specific microstructure during the seamless tube-making process, resulting in superior strength and corrosion resistance. Laboratory testing of the Koppel MTX production tubing has demonstrated that it is stronger and tougher than any 13Cr or Super 13Cr steel, and it is much less expensive than the latter.
At OTC, NS Group President and Chief Executive Officer René Robichaud said, "This announcement has been 4 years in the making. In the past, exploration and production companies needed to source their 13Cr tubing from Japan or Europe. Now we will have a dependable source in the US that can compete with the world's best 13Cr and Super 13Cr products at a reasonable cost."
The market for 13Cr tubulars is about 55,000 tons/year, or more than 75% of the total steel tube market, and the martensitic stainless steel is poised to take over a large portion of that market. NS Group has an exclusive license agreement with Advanced Steel Technology LLC to manufacture and sell the product through its subsidiary, Koppel Steel. The first shipments of Koppel MTX are expected by the end of the year.
Tenaris launches Web tracking
Tenaris has launched TenarisTracking, a new Web-based service that permits customers to track online the progress of their steel tubulars orders from the production process at any of its eight mills through to delivery at the point of use. Tenaris expects this service will create a transparent system integrating manufacturing, procurement, distribution and customer service. Customers are now able to manage supply risk and reduce costs while simplifying order management processes and reducing delivery lead times.
"The initial goal of TenarisTracking was to build a communication channel with customers for tracking their orders, making full use of Web-based technology," said Ernesto Cossavella, Tenaris commercial executive director. In addition to providing real-time information on the status of a customer's order (no matter which Tenaris mill is the manufacturer), TenarisTracking makes all relevant documentation available online, including mill test certificates, shipment-related documents and invoices as soon as they are produced. It is organized around three main sections: order tracking, statement of account and customizable functions that allow customers to sort their orders, be notified of particular events and select different criteria by which they can view their orders. Tenaris represents eight established manufacturers of steel tubulars: AlgomaTubes, Confab, Dalmine, NKKTubes, Siat, Siderca, Tamsa and Tavsa, with a combined production capacity of 3 million tons of seamless and 850,000 tons of welded steel tubulars.
Intelligent pipe all wired up
Grant Prideco has introduced a new telemetry drill pipe that leaves mud-pulse telemetry in the dust - literally. The IntelliPipe can send data both up and down the drill string at a rate of 1 million bits/sec, compared to mud-pulse telemetry rates of only 10 bits/sec. And because no drilling mud is needed for measurement-while-drilling (MWD), logging-while-drilling (LWD) and pressure-while-drilling (PWD) tools to communicate to the surface, directional drilling can be done even while air drilling or drilling underbalanced.
Initially developed by Novatek Engineering of Provo, Utah, and partially funded by a grant from the US Department of Energy, the new technology combines Grant Prideco's 57/8-in. eXtreme Reach drill pipe and eXtreme Torque connection embedded with a milli-hop coupler. This unique, non-contacting coupler transmits data across the tool joint interface. High-speed data cable is protected within the drill pipe so it does not interfere with mud flow or tool deployment. Proprietary amplification subs with sensors are used at 1,000-ft (305-m) intervals to boost the signal strength, enabling data to be collected at multiple points along the drill string in a sort of downhole Ethernet. A rotating top drive sub transmits data from the drill string to the data acquisition system.
"The system changes drill pipe from a drilling tool to an information tool," said John Beltz, vice president of marketing communications at Grant Prideco. In addition to MWD, LWD and PWD applications, IntelliPipe will be ideally suited for gathering seismic data while drilling.
Grant Prideco has tested the IntelliPipe at the Gas Technology Institute's Catoosa test facility in Oklahoma, and the product was virtually unaffected by standard rig operating procedures, and there were no special handling or make-up procedures needed. Commercial applications are expected in early 2003.