The reliability of subsurface barrier valves has long been an industry problem. This can lead to costly interventions, especially in deepwater subsea markets. This paper describes the world's first deployment of multicycle barrier valves in 2 subsea wells in Australia. These valves use innovative methods of both remote activation and triggering, previously unavailable on the market, to attain a step-change in reliability.
The remote activated barrier valves were deployed as part of a subsea gravel pack system. They were initially run in hole (RIH) in the open position as part of the lower completion, then closed mechanically. The valve was subsequently opened via radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and then closed again mechanically, to allow running of the upper completion. Frequency modulated pressure cycles were applied to the well to open the valve and enable the well to flow.
The valve functioned exactly as planned, and it demonstrated that it could be closed multiple times on a semi-sub vessel. The valve was then opened via RFID tags conveyed on wash pipe. This is a much more reliable method when in high-debris environments. The valve was opened for the final time via frequency modulated pressure cycles. These pressure cycles are better able to be transmitted through debris and are not affected by other hydraulic events in the well.
The hydraulic pump that actuates the tool provides a constant force directly to the ball valve mechanism and is not subject to failures over time, unlike existing gas charges, ratchet mechanisms or springs. The RFID, mechanical or pressure cycles that trigger the valve offer a huge increase in operational flexibility that have never been able to be realized with existing technologies.