The E&P editors and staff proudly present the winners of the 2018 Special Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation, which recognize service and operating companies for excellence and achievement in every segment of the upstream petroleum industry. The pages that follow highlight 14 winners, picked by an independent team of judges. The winning technologies represent a broad range of disciplines and address a number of challenges that pose roadblocks to efficient operations. Winners of each category are products that provided monumental changes in their sectors and represented techniques and technologies that are most likely to improve artificial lift, drillbits, drilling fluids/stimulation, drilling systems, exploration, formation evaluation, HSE, hydraulic fracturing/pressure pumping, intelligent systems and components, IOR/EOR/remediation, nonfracturing completions, onshore rigs, and subsea systems.

This year some of the brightest minds in the industry from service and operating companies entered exceptionally innovative products and technologies that have now been measured against the world’s best to be distinguished as the most groundbreaking in concept, design and application.

The awards program recognizes new products and technologies designed by people and companies who understand the need for newer, better and constantly changing technological innovation to appease the energyhungry world.

As in past years, E&P will present the 2018 awards at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

An entry form for the 2019 Special Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation contest is available at EPmag. com/mea. The deadline for entries is Jan. 31, 2019.

The expert panel of judges comprised geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and engineers from operating and consulting companies worldwide. Each judge was assigned a category that best utilized his or her area of expertise. Judges whose companies have a business interest were excluded from participation.

E&P would like to thank these distinguished judges for their efforts in selecting the winners in this year’s competition.


Schlumberger Lift IQ production management service transforms data into solutions by integrating 24/7 monitoring and surveillance with engineering analysis, identification of remedial actions and remote operations. The result is improved equipment uptime, lower operating costs and optimized productivity for a single well or an entire field. Sensors and motor controllers at the well site transmit data to Artificial Lift Surveillance Centers (ALSCs). There, a software solution merges the data into one synchronized platform that integrates alarms, well and field performance indicators and downhole events. Using analytical tools embedded in the platform, dedicated surveillance engineers can conduct well system diagnostics in real time and optimize data to understand the reasons behind every event to take corrective steps. In addition, the service provides long-term monitoring and analysis and proactively manages pump operation for the production life cycle of the well. Engineers monitor a dashboard of data to prevent or mitigate adverse events, diagnose probable causes and recommend remediation measures. ALSC engineers can use the data to correct discrete problems, update pump regimes to match fluctuating conditions or identify underperforming wells that could benefit from further pump optimization. Operators can tailor the service to monitor hardware in a single well to proactively and remotely optimize operations and equipment across an entire field.


The StingBlock advanced stabilization conical element cutter block is designed to improve footage and ROP in drilling applications that pose a high risk of vibration to the bottomhole assembly and impact damage to conventional cutter blocks. The cutter block features a staged gauge pad for increased stability and Stinger conical diamond elements for enhanced impact resistance. Field tests have demonstrated up to a 29% increase in ROP and a 56% increase in footage compared with benchmark results in the Gulf of Mexico. In high-impact and challenging applications, cutter blocks with a single gauge pad lack the necessary stabilization when encountering hard and interbedded formations. The increased area of the main gauge pad, coupled with the additional staged gauge pads, uniformly distributes the cutter block forces, enabling significantly enhanced stability with lower lateral displacement. During the testing of multiple cutter block sizes in different formations, finite element analysis simulation studies show an average of 65% less lateral vibration compared with standard blocks. Full-scale drilling tests demonstrated an average reduction of 83% in lateral vibrations. 


The well cementing community has long experienced difficulties designing cement jobs, particularly in the area of displacement efficiency. Poor cement bond can be a costly problem. Cementers want to optimize operation parameters and avoid mud channeling. However, available tools are limited because predicting displacement efficiency involves extremely complex calculations that traditionally have been performed using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) numerical simulation. This approach can require hours of simulation time. CEMPRO+, developed by Pegasus Vertex Inc., provides engineers a comprehensive and efficient modeling tool to model hydraulics, temperature and displacement efficiency. This simulation is based on fluid mechanics theories and CFD methods. An efficient finite volume method on 3-D grids is built into the software that is capable of simulating high-fidelity multifluid displacement flow within a short period of time. Displacement efficiency is simulated and results are graphically displayed using animation to show the progress of fluid mixing.


Well construction is becoming more challenging across all asset types, and large amounts of downhole data are needed in real time to enable operators to make timely decisions. The increased need for large volumes of real-time data creates a higher demand for telemetry systems that can transmit data at high speeds. Halliburton Sperry Drilling’s JetPulse high-speed mudpulse telemetry service delivers real-time drilling and formation evaluation measurements. The service is designed for complex and extended-reach wellbores in deepwater and mature fields and can operate in high-pressure environments up to 30,000 psi. The JetPulse service includes an integrated downhole generator that provides power to the bottomhole assembly. The generator can be run with lost-circulation material (LCM) concentrations greater than 100 lb/bbl. The system also can be deployed in a battery only mode, which removes any LCM limitations from the telemetry system. The service is less affected by depth and delivers consistent data rates across wide depth ranges.


Many offshore abandonment projects require a permanent barrier to be set outside of a dual-casing string comprising 95⁄8-in.-by-133⁄8-in. casing. There is a limited number of feasible solutions, including cutting and pulling or pilot milling thousands of feet of casing. In situations where traditional casing retrieval or milling techniques are not optimal because of well or operational constraints, Weatherford’s Endura dual-string section mill (DSSM) offers a viable solution. The DSSM passes through the inside diameter of 95⁄8-in. casing, stabilizes and then mills a window in the adjacent 133⁄8-in. casing. This process exposes the formation, which enables an uninterrupted and verifiable cement plug to be set and prevents formation-fluid migration. In one example, the DSSM was deployed from a jackup rig to set a rock-to-rock barrier across a depleted zone in an offshore production well. While adhering to strict plug and abandonment regulations, the operator sought to reduce overall costs by minimizing milling trips required for a conventional job. When compared to traditional milling methods, the DSSM saved the operator 17 days of rig time. 


DrillCam is an integrated realtime system that images and predicts ahead of the bit and around the well based on the seismic-while-drilling analysis. This technology is designed to enable accurate predictions for geosteering in high-quality reservoir zones, avoiding high-pressure formations, and determine coring and target depths, which will result in optimized drilling decisions and EOR with estimated returns and cost reductions. The technology is based on acquiring seismic data in real time using the drillbit as a seismic source and cableless surface receivers that can provide 1) real-time recording and transmission of reflected seismic data to a central recording unit for immediate decision-making and 2) adaptive survey geometry with flexible receiver spacing and areal coverage to focus the seismic image as the drillbit depth increases. This, coupled with the recent advances in seismic sensors sensitivity, imaging algorithms and computational resources that can be deployed in the field, open a whole new set of possibilities. One of the key factors of this technology is optimizing the acquisition geometry to obtain the best image ahead of the bit as the drillbit increases in depth.


Schlumberger has released the next-generation in cased-hole logging based on pulsed neutron technology. With a slim 1.72-in. diameter, the Pulsar multifunction spectroscopy service easily fits through most completion restrictions to provide new measurement capabilities and higher accuracy in formation evaluation and reservoir monitoring in cased boreholes. The service integrates a high-output pulsed neutron generator with multiple detectors to significantly improve acquisition accuracy and increase both logging speed and measurement precision. Because detector resolution degrades only minimally at high temperatures, the Pulsar service does not use conventional flasking and operates without time limits at up to 175 C (347 F). The service’s measurements are complemented by powerful algorithms delivering robust answers that compensate for variations in the borehole fluids and completion. Because Pulsar service does not depend on conventional resistivity-based approaches to rock and fluid identification, it accurately determines saturations in low-resistivity pay and for any formation water salinity, and it can be deployed in wells at any inclination from vertical through horizontal. Without a rig, Pulsar provides environment independent measurements that make standalone cased-hole formation evaluation and reservoir monitoring a reality to improve both drilling efficiency and well productivity. 


Saudi Aramco recently launched the Kingdom’s first carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and CO2 EOR project at Uthmaniyah Field. It is the first of its kind in the Middle East in terms of scale and operation as well as one of the largest in the world, according to the company. It involves capturing about 40 MMscf/d, which is approximately 800,000 tons of CO2 per year that would have been ordinarily emitted into the atmosphere, compressing the CO2 and piping it across 85 km (53 miles) and injecting it into a watered-out zone of Uthmaniyah Field, part of the giant Ghawar Field. The CO2 is being injected in a water-alternating-gas mode. The primary objectives of the project are to permanently sequester part of the injected CO2, and enhance oil recovery beyond water-flooding. The project sequesters CO2 and enhances oil recovery and is part of Saudi Aramco’s corporate Carbon Management strategy and roadmap. The project consists of two major components: 1) the surface—CO2 capture, dehydration and compression and 2) subsurface—injection and production facilities.  


Stage Completions’ SC Bowhead II is a single-point entry system that meets the design-change demand limitations of traditional pinpoint fracturing systems. As a dissolvable ball- and collet-activated fracturing sleeve system designed for cased hole and openhole applications, it offers multiple profile length configurations that facilitate precise valve activation. Able to complete longer laterals and unlimited stages with tighter spacing, the system drives high utility of capital, increased EURs and removes the limitations found in other available systems. The tool is engineered so that there is no need for an initial pump down trip to set a plug. A second pump down trip to seat a ball is eliminated and no electric line perforating is required. Coiled tubing is not needed to activate Stage Completions’ sleeves. To open up a Stage Completions system sleeve, operators need to pump down the collet to the desired depth, which requires the use of a single wellbore volume. If the collet is promptly chased by a fracturing treatment, then a hydraulic fracture can be initiated after opening the sleeve, which mitigates wasting any fluid. Subsequent collets can be launched and displaced as part of the “flush” portion of the fracturing treatment for the previous zone, making the fracturing operation almost continuous from stage to stage.


Schlumberger’s WellWatcher Advisor real-time intelligent completion software transforms acquired data into actionable intelligence at frequencies as high as 1 second. This results in data analysis workflows that used to take weeks and months of manual study that can now be completed automatically in hours and days. WellWatcher Advisor software gives users up-to-the second insights into well data from any location on any computer. The system is tailored to work with most existing real-time data streams to bring deeper understanding by incorporating computations such as flow-rate estimation, pressure gradient and productivity index estimation. These computations and an alerting system point users toward problem areas, eliminating time spent investigating where issues might be. The software can be connected to an operator’s real-time data sources or to remote production operations centers. The on-premise software is installed locally on the operator’s computers, and all data remain within the operator’s network, enhancing security.


Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), has developed the Torus insert safety valve. The valve is designed to deliver flexibility to thru-tubing completion operations by enabling rigless deployment of a range of production enhancement equipment on insert strings while maintaining safety valve functionality. Common methods of boosting production in maturing wells include installing electric submersible pump systems, gas-lift systems, velocity strings or chemical injection systems. Rigless thru-tubing deployment of these systems is economical. However, maintaining a robust well barrier during their installation and the subsequent production phase is complex and cost-prohibitive. This is because traditional safety valves used for these jobs have flapper-style closure mechanisms that require an unobstructed inside diameter for their operation, which prohibits the passage of coiled tubing (CT), control lines or cables through the valve. As a result, a workover rig has to be mobilized to recomplete the well and permanently install flapper-style valves deeper in the well, below the production enhancement equipment. The Torus valve replaces the flapper valve with a sliding sleeve design to control production. This makes the Torus the only insert safety valve to offer a permanent concentric conduit for capillary lines, cables and CT, enabling rapid installation of production-enhancement equipment in mature wells without the need for a workover rig. 


Reveal Energy Services’ IMAGE Frac pressurebased fracture maps allow operators to monitor 100% of their wells with streamlined pressure-based fracture maps that validate their completion designs with minimum operational risk and cost. This technology serves as a completion design early warning system for factory mode field development that increases reservoir contact. The technology offers an early look at completion effectiveness. The tool requires only a pressure gauge and a bridge plug to generate fracture maps that highlight the fracture attributes. An example of how the tool works is represented in a treatment well that will be hydraulically fractured and is full of fluid, along with an adjacent well, known as the monitor well, with an isolated stage that has been fractured and has a pressure gauge placed at the wellhead. Because new fractures generate a stress field pressure response in the monitor well, Reveal Energy Services can compute a pressure-based fracture map. The map is computed using a fully coupled 3-D model that compares the modeled pressure response with the observed pressure response in the monitor well. The IMAGE Frac suite is field proven in more than 2,500 stages during the past 18 months in several major North American basins. 


Tubular running accounts for a large percentage of an average well construction budget; it’s also the backbone of life-of-well integrity. Simple operator-influenced makeup errors wreak havoc on connection quality, operational efficiency and long-term well integrity. The Weatherford AutoTong system automates the final connection makeup and evaluation. As a fully integrated tubular-running technology, the system includes a mechanical tong and AutoEvaluate software. Using high-resolution data to autonomously appraise connections, the tong-mounted computer manages each connection with smooth, computer-controlled precision. By removing nearly any chance for negative human influence, the system removes connection-makeup errors, eliminates flat time, reduces safety risks and significantly decreases tubular-running costs. Rather than a visual check of the makeup graph against known profiles, AutoEvaluate software automates the connection evaluation process. Using proprietary algorithms and real-time makeup data, the software accurately interprets 10 times more datapoints than the human eye can see. The system automatically evaluates the makeup graph to ensure conformance to original equipment manufacturer criteria. 


Helically Grooved Buoyancy for vortex-induced vibration (VIV) suppression is polyurethane or syntactic foam buoyancy with a pattern of helical grooves on the outer diameter for suppression of VIV. Helically Grooved Buoyancy was originally developed and patented in 2009 by Diamond Offshore Drilling, subsequently optimized for more than three years using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and is manufactured and marketed by Trelleborg Offshore for drilling and production risers in both polyurethane and syntactic foam. In 2017 Helically Grooved Buoyancy was tested in SINTEF Ocean’s Marine Laboratory Towing Tank in Trondheim, Norway. These model tests validated Diamond’s CFD models, established parameters for riser analysis software and confirmed that Helically Grooved Buoyancy has VIV suppression and drag reduction comparable with existing riser fairing designs. The Helically Grooved Buoyancy system transports, handles, runs and stores like standard cylindrical buoyancy. The system was successfully tested for stacking “crush” forces and is typically stronger in crush than conventional buoyancy. It has a small cost premium over conventional buoyancy and uses existing molds and standard manufacturing methods. Helically Grooved Buoyancy decreases drilling riser drag, which improves differential pressure station-keeping and reduces vessel emissions and allows fitting of riser fairings for extreme current conditions.