A host of new products made 2012 an exciting year of innovation in the production technologies market.

Well completion and stimulation

In June Schlumberger released SPARK, its new stimulation technology delivery platform. SPARK works with third-party services to leverage high-pressure pumping equipment. The platform includes the company’s HiWAY, OpenFRAC, and ClearFRAC technologies, which create infinite conductivity channels, provide high performance, and increase fracturing efficiency with less reservoir damage, according to the company.

The platform was used in the Eagle Ford formation by an operator that had already had a third-party frac fleet. It was able to use its frac crew in conjunction with the HiWAY technology through the SPARK platform. The operator’s production was increased by more than 20%, water usage was reduced by 25%, and proppant consumption was reduced by 42%, according to the company.

In addition to SPARK, Schlumberger released Mangrove, its new completion and stimulation design software. It allows custom staging and perforation designs to be engineered beyond a geometrical approach, which in turn would enhance stimulation coverage, flow rates, and return on investment. Developed on the company’s pre-existing Petrel E&P software program, the technology allows users to access a shared earth model, which the company said eases the process of program designs.

Mangrove software

Mangrove software’s unconventional fracture model (UFM) uses pre-existing natural fracs and a mechanical earth model to simulate frac geometry. Microseismic data is superimposed over the UFM results for comparison. (Image courtesy of Schlumberger)

The software offers a completion advisor workflow for perforation picking and staging and includes predictive models for hydraulic fractures and conventional planar fractures. It also can integrate seismic, geological, geomechanical, and microseismic measurements and data, providing an integrated seismic-to-simulation workflow. The software was recently used in the Marcellus shale, where it eliminated screenouts and increased production by more than 50%, according to the company.

An extended range of SIM System technologies for flow control by Peak Well Systems offers improved flexibility for well intervention and production operations. Built around the company’s SIM Running Tool, the new product line includes retrievable and permanent plug systems, mechanical leak detection tools, gas lift straddles, and large-bore gauge hangers. According to Peak, these downhole tools complement an existing range that, when combined, can be successfully deployed in both large (5 1/ 2 -in.) and slim (2 3/ 8 -in.) wells. The new SIM products are designed to be set anywhere in the tubing as they do not require a nipple profile. They also can be set mechanically on slickline, eliminating the need for complex setting tools, pyrotechnics, or explosives, which makes deployment safer and more cost-effective, the company said.

A new openhole multistage completion system offering an alternative to conventional plug-and-perf (PNP) completions is now offered by Superior Energy Services. The system incorporates a ball seat design that can facilitate easier milling and lower pop-off pressures for production initiation, according to the company. The product is designed for use in land-based completions in unconventional tight sand, shale, and carbonate reservoirs. The system includes a ball-actuated isolation valve, ball-actuated frac sleeves, a pressure-actuated frac sleeve, and single-element openhole isolation packers. To prevent the packer from being set while going in-hole, the PNP system comprises single-element openhole isolation packers with metal element support. It also includes a permanent hydraulically set hanger packer with hydraulic running tool release.

Weatherford’s ClearWELL scale-treatment technology was upgraded recently to improve scale control in a variety of applications. The new R-series technology works by sending an AC electromagnetic signal through the pipe and production equipment to control the size of scale crystals and where they form. The charged ions in the saturated aqueous phase respond to this electromagnetic signal by absorbing energy and migrating to form areas of slightly higher concentration. Homogeneous nucleation begins at these more concentrated regions, and small crystallites form in the fluid phase rather than at the pipe wall. The small crystals remain suspended in the fluid and exit the system without collecting on the pipe and production equipment internals.

Water solutions

The extended SIM System product range

The extended SIM System product range features tools that do not require a nipple profile and can be set on slickline. (Image courtesy of Peak Well Systems)

To simplify complications caused by large quantities of produced water, water solutions companies have found ways to simplify the purification process to save operators time and costs. Aquatech released its new SMARTMOD modular evaporator technology. The system uses a vertical-tube falling film evaporator design that treats difficult produced water sources. According to the company, the technology can reduce in-field installation costs up to 75% by eliminating the need to build a large evaporator building or spend exorbitant costs on foundation labor and materials. This is accomplished through a new design that has reduced the tool’s center for mass and evaporator weight. The design also reduces freight costs during transportation, the company said.

With its new Hydrolutions water management system, Swire Oilfield Services has, in its words, revolutionized the way water is transferred during the hydraulic fracturing process.

The HydroDrive system features high-volume pumps; discharge manifolds; a specially designed retrieval and deployment system; and a leak-free, flexible pipe. The pipe, available in multiple sizes, can be manipulated to curve around obstructions, does not leak like traditional aluminum pipes, and produces 140 bbl/min flow rate. The product has seen success in the field, with Apache Corp. being one of the first to adopt it.

Halliburton’s Total Water Management Solutions initiative provides new water management services to operators in the Permian basin, Niobrara, and Eagle Ford shale plays that reduce the amount of fresh-water used for hydraulic fracturing as well as overall costs for water-related services in unconventional developments. The company deployed its CleanWave technology, which uses electrocoagulation to remove suspended solids from water and make it into clear brine for fracing, to recycle flow-back and produced water and to improve wellsite economics. According to Halliburton, the eventual goal is to eliminate the need for freshwater use in fracing operations. Toward that end, the company is investing in additional technology, water-related equipment and facilities, and development of high-performance fracing fluid systems that can be formulated with recycled or produced water.

Osorb field water treatment offered by Produced Water Absorbents Inc. (PWA) is a swellable, molecularly modified silica capable of absorbing volatile organic compounds, including formation hydrocarbons and upstream production chemicals. In this closed-loop system, the captured hydrocarbons are recovered with little or no waste stream, and the regenerated Osorb can be reused. Absorbed contaminants are removed using a mild thermal treatment or rinsing.

Recent field tests conducted by Texas A&M’s GRPI and pilot-testing of trailer-mounted units by E&P firms found that, according to PWA, 90% to 99.9% of soluble and micro-droplet volatiles were removed from production waters in the Clinton, Bakken, Utica, and Wamsutter formations.


Knoesis, Halliburton’s new production enhancement engineering and analysis service, assists operators in optimizing completion efficiency and asset development. The applications provide improved knowledge of the reservoir and its stimulation characteristics. Two of four components are currently available: Foray and Delve.

Foray enables Halliburton technical advisors to provide operators with insight into the frac network created by generating a 3-D representation based on the microseismic events observed during the treatment. The representation allows design decisions to be made to control the nature of the frac network generated in the reservoir.

Delve enables access to both historic and current job design data and operating experience that can be leveraged to the operators’ advantage through enabling improved stimulation job design and execution.

Schlumberger’s Avocet 2012 production operations software platform features advanced workflow automation, online artificial lift management, predictive data analysis for candidate selection, and web-based key performance indicators (KPIs) visualization for a complete view of operations. It also connects directly to engineering simulation models and analytical applications, providing insight into the root causes of production shortfalls and further improving production operations management in a broad range of asset disciplines, the company said.

The engineering analysis platform effectively integrates well operations and production management systems, including capturing and validating field data, production, and equipment surveillance and tracking specialized oilfield operations. According to Schlumberger, this unification of data and engineering models in a single environment allows users to identify problems more quickly, minimizing downtime and enabling continuous production optimization.

Regardless of asset location, the Avocet platform offers a view of asset performance and KPI monitoring as well as visualization of relevant information that can ultimately affect production and impact performance.

Reservoir monitoring

For decades, operators have relied on pulsed-neutron tools to quantify and locate hydrocarbons in a reservoir. The first pulsed-neutron tool, introduced to the industry in 1964, had one detector. In 1969, two-detector arrays were introduced. For decades, two-detector arrays were the industry norm until the first three-detector array was introduced in 2004. Increased interest in gas has prompted demand for a new approach to behind-casing evaluation. Weatherford tweaked the design of the detector array further, introducing a novel, five-detector-array tool, the Raptor, in 2010. The large detector array enables it to sense more formation volume. Beyond its hardware features, the Raptor tool is equipped with proprietary algorithms and incorporates automated characterization techniques that overcome drawbacks typically associated with more conventional pulsed-neutron tools. The tool also can obtain high-value behind-casing measurements in gas and mixed-salinity reservoirs.

Artificial lift

Red Spider is expected to deploy its new eRED-FB downhole valve products on a series of subsea dual-electrical submersible pump (ESP) wells this summer in the UK North Sea. The technology will allow the removal of all wireline runs from the completions operations, offering significant savings and risk reduction, the company said.

The eRED tool is the company’s first to implement its patented ROCT for remotely operating downhole valves. The latest offering provides a downhole barrier that can be opened and closed by remote command, allowing the tubing integrity to be tested without using conventional plug-and-prong equipment and eliminating the need to deploy traditional wireline methods.

According to Red Spider, the valve has allowed major operators to save close to US $500,000 during a single subsea completion operation, typically reducing slickline runs from eight to one. In deepwater workover operations, for example, savings of up to 36 hours and approximately $801,600 have been recorded in a single job.

Artificial Lift Co. has installed the first rigless ESP sting at a Saudi Aramco-operated field in the Middle East, resulting in cost savings on rig utilization and electricity expenditures, decreased downtime, and less oil deferment, the company said.

The operation comprised a 134-hp, rigless ESP system with a 6,000 b/d pump. The system, which includes Artificial Lift Co.’s Permanent Magnet Motors and Wet Connect system, was installed at a depth of 1,865 m (6,119 ft) and also included the installation of a downhole ESP gauge, packer, and subsurface safety valve assemblies to optimize production at the well site.