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E&P announces this year's winners.
The E&P editors and staff proudly present the winners of the prestigious 2011 Special Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation. The pages that follow spotlight the 11 awards the independent team of judges picked as best of the 2011 crop of entries. The winners reached across a broad range of disciplines and addressed a number of problems that posed roadblocks to efficient operations. The resulting technologies opened new and better avenues to the complicated process of finding and producing hydrocarbons around the world.
This year, some of the brightest minds in the industry from service and operating companies submitted entries representing better technology and new techniques for judges to consider.
The award program honors engineering excellence and achievement in every segment of the upstream petroleum industry. It recognizes new products and technologies that offer innovation in concept, design, and application.
Winning entries represent techniques and technologies that are most likely to solve costly problems and improve exploration, drilling, production, facilities, and IT efficiency and profitability. The people and companies that submitted the entries realize the oil- and gas-producing industry depends on new, better, and constantly changing technological innovation to continue producing low-cost oil and gas from smaller and deeper reservoirs to feed an increasingly energy-thirsty world.
Contest judges chose the winners, but there were no losers in this contest.The products chosen represented the best of a long list of winners.
The expert panel of judges included engineers and engineering managers from operating and consulting companies worldwide. They applied their expertise in areas in which they specialize. Judges were excluded from categories in which they or their companies had a business interest.
E&P would like to thank these distinguished judges for their efforts in selecting the winners in this year’s competition.
As in past years, E&P will present the 2011 awards at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, on May 2, 2011.
An entry form for the 2012 Special Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation contest is available on the magazine’s website at www.EPmag.com? . The deadline for entries for 2012 is Dec. 31, 2011.
BAKER HUGHES | EQUALIZER SELECT WITH MULTITASKING VALVE TECHNOLOGY
Completions design reduces fluid velocity and erosion effects
Using an inflow control device (ICD) allows uniform inflow across the entire horizontal well bore, which mitigates early water or gas coning.
The Baker Hughes Equalizer Select ICD reduces fluid velocity and erosion effects while exhibiting extremely low sensitivity to production fluid viscosity. It is adjustable for various flow restrictions based on the latest logging data and reservoir modeling prior to completion. The design also eliminates the need for an inner string during installation, allowing circulation through the liner while running in the hole as well as setting the hydraulic openhole packers.
A temporary valve system incorporated into the ICD design provides pressure integrity in the liner until the upper completion has been installed. Once the upper completion is in place, the valves are triggered hydraulically with applied pressure in the production tubing and opened mechanically by spring force, allowing the ICDs to be reconfigured into the production mode.
In the Middle East, Baker Hughes Inc. installed an openhole completion deployed on a slotted liner packer, which consisted of a series of 4½-in. Equalizer CF ICDs with multitasking valves to set MPas packers in a 61/8-in. openhole sidetrack. The multitasking valve technology provided the customer with its first ever run of the upper completion assembly in the field without battling huge fluid losses during the entire process. By eliminating the need for the inner string, the customer was able to reduce the risk associated with handling and the makeup of the smaller string of pipe.
DRILL BITS WINNER
BAKER HUGHES | KYMERA HYBRID BIT TECHNOLOGY
Hybrid bit bridges the gap
As operators strive for reserves in more difficult, demanding applications, drilling to reach them has become an even greater challenge. Complex well profiles, hard and interbedded formations, and rig or equipment limitations increase the potential for shorter runs and expensive tool damage.
Kymera hybrid drilling technology is a coalescence of roller-cone and PDC bits into a single, patented design. Combining the cutting superiority and continuous scraping of diamond bits and the strength of roller cones, the repairable bit can survive highly interbedded formations with smooth drilling and toolface control.
Compared to PDC bits, Kymera bits have lower and more consistent drilling torque, better dynamics and directional control, improved durability and reliability in interbedded formations, and less torsional vibration (stick/slip). Compared to traditional roller-cone bits, the new hybrid bits have increased ROP potential, minimal axial vibration (bit bounce), and lower weight-on-bit requirements.
The bit has been proven in the field. In Western Oklahoma, an operator needed to reduce the number of days on the well and increase the number of wells per year. The highly interbedded target interval – the Des Moines through Atoka shale formations – typically requires 82 days to reach total depth.
For the interval, Kymera exhibited increased ROP and footage over both the roller-cone and PDC bits. The hybrid technology created a much more efficient drilling environment, ultimately providing significant savings for the operator by shaving 25 days off the average well performance and 40% cost-per-foot savings.
DRILLING FLUIDS WINNER
NEWPARK DRILLING FLUIDS | EVOLUTION DRILLING FLUID SYSTEM
New water-based drilling fluid for harsh shale environments
Diesel oil-based mud (OBM) has been the fluid of choice for emerging shale gas plays in North America where high bottomhole temperatures and high pore pressures are encountered. Although OBM provides shale-stabilizing attributes and contaminant resistance, it also has shortcomings, including ancillary OBM disposal, haul-off and clean-up costs, and environmental liabilities.
Conventional water-based fluids historically have failed in extreme conditions, causing costly fluid maintenance issues. Furthermore, lubricity and drilling rate limitations often fall short of OBM capabilities.
Newpark Drilling Fluids introduced the Evolution drilling fluid system in 2010 as an eco-appropriate solution to the harsh demands of horizontal shale wells. The new water-based system has addressed issues including environmental impact, logistics and disposal issues, and incremental operational cost while providing extreme HP/HT lubricity, contaminant resistance, and improved ROPs with enhanced rotating and sliding performance over OBM applications.
The Evolution system was used in a Barnett shale application by a major independent operator that wanted to address operational problems experienced with an existing water-based system on an earlier well. The new drilling fluid system saved the operator 25 days on location.
Originally developed specifically as an OBM alternative for Haynesville shale applications, the system’s Barnett application confirms its viability as a drilling solution for unconventional shale development wells in other plays.
DRILLING TOOLS WINNER
SCHLUMBERGER | SONICSCOPE MULTIPOLE SONIC-WHILE-DRILLING SERVICE
Advanced LWD tool improves ROP
In a fast formation, a monopole tool can deliver shear slowness (1/velocity) since it is lower than mud slowness. When shear slowness is larger than mud slowness, a quadrupole tool is needed to provide the shear measurement. The Schlumberger SonicScope multipole sonic-while-drilling service is a new LWD service that provides multipole measurements to deliver consistent and reliable compressional and shear data. It is the only service with a dedicated mode for acquiring Stoneley waveforms while drilling, which ensures high-quality data before washouts can develop.
The service combines monopole and quadrupole measurements to deliver data in a range of applications, regardless of formation slowness. These data are fundamental to pore pressure monitoring and wellbore stability evaluation, especially when drilling in deep water.
Since 1987, Petrom has tested various stimulation and completion measures to improve production from the Leb da Est field offshore Romania. Average porosity is between 15% and 20%, and average permeability is 0.8 md. Microfractures and intergranular porosity connect zones with good porosity in mainly calcareous reservoir formations.
By 2008, Petrom had not been able to achieve more than approximately 115 boe/d per well. The low-permeability reservoir rock required hydraulic fracturing, fast, efficient post-drilling reservoir characterization, and natural open fracture detection.
The first well drilled with the advanced LWD system was built in a single run during five days in August 2009, and its approximately 4,395-ft (1,400-m) drain section delivered a peak of more than 1,000 boe/d from three fracture stages.
ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY WINNER
BRINKER TECHNOLOGY LTD. | PLATELET BARRIER TECHNOLOGY
Platelet technology seals leaks, increases production
A newly introduced rigless thru-wellhead workover solution can bring online in a matter of hours approximately 40% of the world’s oil wells that have been shut in or are performing poorly.
Brinker Technology Ltd.’s Platelet Barrier Technology is compact, easy to deploy, and can increase production more efficiently than traditional methods. In the time it would take to plan one rig workover, the new technology can address integrity issues in more than 100 wells, rapidly restoring production and releasing limited rig resources for workovers or drilling new wells.
Inspired by the human body’s response to cuts and wounds, the technology uses sealing particles known as Platelets contained within a viscous carrier fluid that is pumped downhole through the wellhead to the leak site. The operator can control the carrier fluid to ensure it is positioned at the leak site where it is extruded through the hole. The suspended Platelets gather together and seal the leak. The entire process can be completed in less than three hours.
In Alaska, platelet barrier technology repaired five leaks in four days, enabling the operator to increase production by an estimated US $100,000/day. The solution was achieved without having to excavate and remove the surface conductor or pull the tubing and cut and pull the casing.
EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY WINNER
GEOTRACE | BANDWIDTH EXTENSION
Technology images deep, thin formations
When imaging deep objectives, it is common to be unable to resolve beds that are less than 80 ft (24 m) thick. Bandwidth extension (BE) from Geotrace changes that. By extending the signal spectrum by a full two octaves on most seismic data, beds that are 15 to 20 ft (4.6 to 6.1 m) thick now can be mapped.
BE uses the continuous wavelet transform (CWT) to perform a time series analysis of seismic traces that decomposes them into their respective amplitude and phase components in both frequency and time. Using fundamental frequencies, their harmonics are predicted to extend the upper end of the spectrum and sub-harmonics to extend the lower end. While still in the CWT, these harmonics are convolved with the input trace. If there is signal present in the data that corresponds to the harmonic frequencies, it is enhanced. Any harmonic or sub-harmonic frequencies that do not correspond to signal in the data fall out of the spectrum.
BE can be used as a standalone tool, or data can be input to inversion processes that predict acoustic impedance or, in the case of prestack inversion, compressional-wave velocity, shear-wave velocity, density, Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio, brittleness, porosity, and more.
This innovation means better wells are being drilled. Small faults can be mapped much more easily, sweet spots in resource plays can be better defined, and thin beds and pinchouts can be imaged. Success rates in several plays have improved from about 30% to more than 90%, meaning the risk of drilling dry holes is almost eliminated.
BAKER HUGHES | ECO-CENTRE
Eco-friendly facility purpose-built for processing waste
Cuttings removed while drilling comprise the single largest volume of waste produced during the exploration phase. To fully comply with continually evolving environmental legislation, a simple extension and modification of existing procedures is not enough.
The Baker Hughes Eco-Centre waste management facility in Peterhead, Scotland, provides the North Sea oil and gas industry with the highest level of environmentally compliant waste processing services, from rig site to final disposal.
The facility was purpose-built for solids and liquid drilling waste and can process more than 33,000 tons of drill cuttings and 3.7 million gallons of liquid waste annually. Synergies from having separate waste streams, using the energy captured from one stream to power the other, saves energy and lowers the carbon footprint.
Baker Hughes Inc. also has developed the EcoLink online remote monitoring software system to support the waste processing facility. Customers can monitor drilling waste around the globe, 24/7, with near-real-time data on waste locations, tonnage, analysis results, and cumulative costs through the WellLink DS Web portal to ensure accessibility, accuracy, and accountability.
To allow future technology to be addressed, the Eco-Centre houses the Fluids Environmental Services Global Research and Development Center, providing a platform for investigating technology that will be required within a fully licensed site to allow trials to be carried out with real waste material, including both drilling solids (cuttings) and slop fluids.
FORMATION EVALUATION WINNER
HALLIBURTON | GEOTAP IDS
Tool samples while drilling
In the past, operators required wireline operations to obtain multiple fluid samples. Halliburton’s GeoTap IDS fluid identification and sampling-while-drilling sensor and acquires samples within hours of drilling the formation instead of days, reducing the likelihood of borehole damage and producing a less-contaminated sample.
Capable of being positioned anywhere within the LWD bottomhole assembly (BHA), the GeoTap IDS sensor extends a probe on command to establish a seal at the borehole wall. Multiple drawdown tests then measure formation pressure and calculate fluid mobility for sampling, after which a surface command is sent to begin pump-out operations.
Fluid vis diverted through a zero-shock chamber to a series of conventional one-liter DOT-certified sample bottles, with up to five one-liter bottles in each GeoTap IDS sensor sample collar, which can be stacked to carry 15 samples or more.
Since the process is performed while drilling, data are obtained in real time, and samples are available immediately when the BHA returns to surface. When a sufficient quantity of samples is collected, the pump is stopped and the probe retracted. The drilling operation is free to continue, leaving the option of later acquiring additional samples in other zones.
The GeoTap IDS sensor increases safety of drilling operations by providing accurate formation data, which allow more accurate mud weights to be used, minimizing the risk of fluid influxes and/or lost circulation.
VERDANDE | DRILLEDGE
Software helps mitigate downhole problems
The DrillEdge system from Verdande Technology uses case-based reasoning (CBR) techniques to monitor drilling operations in real time and provide a studied alternative to gut feeling.
DrillEdge uses a library of stored “cases” and continuously compares each case against a real-time data stream from a well that is being drilled. When a situation looks similar to a past problematic case, the case is displayed on a “radar” screen along with lessons learned, mitigation advice, and company best practices.
The radar screen provides an intuitive interface that allows drilling engineers to monitor multiple wells simultaneously. In the center of the screen, the result of the CBR search for past situations is shown on the case radar. Here, each case that is relevant to the current operation is displayed as a dot colored according to the severity of the situation it represents.
By clicking on a case, the user can access more information in text form. This information typically contains a summary of the incident, what actions were taken when this case first occurred, lessons learned, and best practices.
PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY WINNER
RESMAN | CHEMICAL TRACER TECHNOLOGY
Interventionless surveillance provides long-term solutions
Production scenarios increasingly are being characterized by very complex wells in demanding and costly operating environments. Obtaining vital reservoir and well surveillance data is complicated by long horizontal wells, multilateral completions, etc. In addition, reservoirs have more complex subsurface structures with different physical properties leading to uneven drainages and early breakthrough of unwanted fluids such as water.
Resman chemical tracer technology acquires insight into the inflow distribution in these challenging situations without wireline, coiled tubing, or downhole tools and without interrupting production. Tracer elements are embedded in plastic inserts that are adapted to completion configuration and can be deployed in any type of well, including horizontal and multilateral wells.
The deployment technology allows tracers to be integrated into conventional completion hardware, where they lie dormant until triggered by the arrival of oil or water. When triggered, they dispense unique chemical “fingerprints” into the flowstream that can be detected in wellhead samples. Concentrations as small as one part per trillion can be detected, and because each chemical has its own signature, the tracer’s point of origin can be determined.
In the Tyrihans field offshore Norway, the operator needed to monitor production to determine if the entire lateral was contributing and if water was coning to points along the laterals. Successful well cleanup also was essential.
Resman replaced sections of the predrilled liner with screen sections containing tracer elements. This solution offered sufficient insight into the inflow distribution with zero operational risk and lower costs.
BAKER HUGHES | OPTIPORT
Multistage frac completion system proves cost-effective
Multizone proppant fracturing of horizontal wells has changed the economic landscape of the North American oil and gas industry. In the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, annular fracturing has taken hold, further improving the economic viability of mature fields.
Baker Hughes has taken this technology a step further with OptiPort, which combines ball-drop completions with annular fracturing. The new technology reduces well completion costs and improves the value of the well. Since its introduction in 2010, more than 1,000 zones have been stimulated in more than 50 wells.
OptiPort contains fracture ports opened by a pressure-activated valve; fracture ports replace perforations in a typical well bore. Once the ports are open, fracture treatments are pumped down the wellbore CT annulus. Each zone is treated sequentially, starting at the bottom of the well. Subsequent zones are isolated by bottomhole assembly run on CT.
In the Viking formation in the Dodsland area of southwest Saskatchewan, Canada, Penn West Energy applied four horizontal fracturing techniques. The fourth technique – cemented monobore completions with OptiPort CT frac sleeves with CT-deployed abrasive perforating and annular fracturing systems using foamed Aquaclear – was the most cost-effective. The technique also reduced water consumption by 36% compared to the other three techniques.