The pursuit of continuous improvement in operational safety and overall health, safety, environment (HSE) performance represents a major driver in Eni's drilling and completion area. To minimize significantly the risks of blowout related to well operations and, thus, ensure a more sustainable business, Eni has launched the Casing Valve with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Activation Research and Development project. The scope of the project is to develop an innovative solution capable of reducing the risk of blow out, minimizing or preventing the progression of an influx from the reservoir to surface during operations in which the drill string is out of hole. The final objective of the technology is to create a supplementary independent downhole safety device, to be added to the "conventional" ones already in place, thereby exceeding the "dual barrier" policy, to ensure the control of formation fluids. The project is intended to specifically increase safety by isolating the surface from the reservoir during tripping in /out and by establishing a mechanical barrier, eliminating the need to kill the well, reduce blow out probability, eliminate surge and swabbing effects, minimize fluid mud losses during tripping in /out, reduce tripping time when MPD /PMCD techniques are implemented and increase system reliability through an RFID activation system.

The RFID-Activated Casing Valve system is a flapper-type valve integrated into the casing string that is operated mainly via RFID methods (instead of using umbilical control lines) and used to isolate the open hole from the surface.

Eni, in partnership with Weatherford, is developing two different sizes of the RFID Casing Valve, one compatible with 13 ⅝" casing and another for 9 ⅝" casing. The design finalized consists of a hydraulically operated flapper valve with a metal-to-metal seal. A downhole hydraulic power unit (HPU) integrated into the system is used to operate the valve. The micro-pump in the HPU is powered by downhole battery packs and is triggered primarily by RFID tags relayed through a recessed antenna or by alternative actuation signals processed by the programmable electronics and data storage module of the system.

The 13 ⅝" RFID Casing Valve system was built, qualified and tested in the laboratory and on a test rig / well in Houston, Texas, USA before being applied to Eni assets. A successful field application of the 13 ⅝" RFID Casing Valve has already been conducted on a land well in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt in October 2018.

The 9 ⅝" RFID Casing Valve is currently in the engineering / design phase and deployment is expected to be in 2019.


Research and development on innovative technologies that are geared towards safety and risk reduction is a major focus for Eni. The company has consistently invested a large portion of its R&D budget towards health, safety and environment initiatives and projects, and this commitment naturally extends to its drilling and completion operations. Eni has a proven track record for identifying, incubating, developing and deploying, whether in-house or in partnership with other companies, innovative drilling and completion technologies that have become part of conventional drilling operations. In line with this thrust, the company has been working jointly with Weatherford for the development of casing valve technology with the end objective of being able to increase the safety barriers that can be put in place during the well construction process.

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