Deepwater drilling is a complex process that isn’t always viewed as environmentally friendly. In recent years, operators have been looking to change that perception and reduce their carbon footprint. Alternative fuel sources, autonomous ships and leak detection technology help. Another area where operators are looking to reduce emissions and waste products is through the management of their drill cuttings.
Halliburton says its BaraStream technology does just that.
“The BaraStream technology is Halliburton's engineered and customized response to the industry’s call for an efficient cuttings management system for offshore and deep water rigs around the world,” said Orlando Diaz, global strategic business manager at Baroid, a Halliburton product service line.
“The implementation of this system considerably minimizes the risk of having to decrease [rates of penetration] ROPs while drilling. Most importantly, it gives operators the capability to fully contain 100% of the drilled cuttings with no need for the large amount of crane lifting associated with conventional cutting skips.”
The BaraStream technology is a zero-discharge solution that combines three different Halliburton technologies: the HCB tank, the SupaVac SV400 pneumatic transfer system and the cuttings transport tank (CTT).
“The BaraStream technology is Halliburton's engineered and customized response to the industry’s call for an efficient cuttings management system for offshore and deep water rigs around the world.” – Orlando Diaz, Halliburton
Conventional bulk silos are built in a conical shape that can sometimes lead to blockage issues. They create bottlenecks that sometimes force the operators to decrease ROPs or even shut down the transfer process to clean out the tanks and continue transferring from tank to tank. The HCB tank prevents this by using its unique build to evenly disperse the cuttings around the tank.
“The design includes a multiple discharge point arrangement… we're talking about six outlets that are arranged in a hexagonal design at the discharge base of the tank. So these multiple hexagonal discharge outlets are arranged internally around a large inverted spike that allows the cuttings to be dispersed evenly around the tank,” Diaz said. “By utilizing this technology, we can successfully receive all the cuttings that are being received in the surface and start transferring from the shakers into the tanks in real time.”
The SupaVac SV400 system is a high-capacity, compact and 100% pneumatic transfer system. When operating in suction mode, the SupaVac system can be used from 40 meters of distance and in discharge mode, cuttings can be pumped around 200 meters. The pumping mechanism, which can be gravity fed, keeps the transfer process going to the HCB tanks and CTTs. The cuttings are then taken to their final destination to be properly disposed of or recycled.
BaraStream technology is not a new product. Its been used for 10 years in places such as the North Sea and the Mediterranean. But it has been modernized to be fully automated and remote operated. By taking some cues from their cementing product service line, Halliburton was able to automate portions of the BaraStream platform.
“We're using this platform to install a series of sensors around the valves that operate the HCB tanks. And by doing this, we are able to get live cuttings weighting with monitoring in each tank,” Diaz said. “We remotely operate the valves that control the transfer of the cuttings. We also digitally monitor the ‘skip and ship’ process by installing weight measurements, sensors and cameras monitoring … each tank. And last but not least, we are able to manage the offloading of cuttings into the supply vessels by the remote operated valves.”
Implementing more autonomous and remote functions in the BaraStream technology presents a number of benefits, according to Halliburton. Autonomous programming prioritizes best practices, allowing it to learn from previous experiences. It also allows for easier data gathering and real-time monitoring and modeling of dimensioning parameters and cuttings left in hole. However, the biggest impact has been due to the reduction of onboard personnel.
“The number one emissions reduction applicability by this is 100% related to the involvement of people,” Diaz said. Reducing the number of workers gets them away from hazardous areas and reduces the cost of operating the vessel. Reducing personnel can lower the carbon footprint of a vessel by as much as 50%.
As Halliburton looks to expand its BaraStream technology to other markets, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, the company is pursuing complete automation.
“Expanding our automation and real time monitoring, that's pretty much where we are going to be focusing our efforts going forward,” Diaz said. “Our goal is to reduce the number of personnel on board.”
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