It is well known that formations can be very abrasive, and can quickly and severely wear drill pipe tube bodies. Once the body wall of the tube no longer meets requirements for used pipe, the entire joint must be scrapped. A new method of applying sacrificial wear pads to drill pipe tube bodies is presented, by using a proprietary low heat input welding process to apply hardbanding directly to drill pipe tubes.

Using a proprietary low heat input welding process, hardbanding was safely applied to drill pipe tube bodies. This created new, raised contact areas for the tubes with the abrasive formation. Two wear bands consisting of this hardbanding create a wear pad for the tube body, improving its overall wear-resistance by up to 15 times and casing-friendliness up to 3 times. The application itself was validated through metallurgical testing, including advanced hardness mapping, tensile testing, and non-destructive inspection methods. Following this testing, multiple field trials were performed, which provided case studies for the effectiveness of the wear pads.

Three separate oil and gas Exploration & Production (E&P) companies were having issues with tube body wear of drill pipe in various formations in the USA. To address this, wear pads were applied to a sample set of drill pipe for each E&P company using a proprietary low heat input welding process. Measurements were taken from the drill pipe before and after drilling activities to determine if the wear pads protected the pipe as planned. In addition, non-destructive testing was performed on the wear pads to determine if any cracks existed. For all three case studies, the wear pads effectively protected the tube bodies of the drill pipe, preventing them from wearing. This proved that the wear pads were a cost-effective solution for protecting pipe from abrasive conditions downhole.

The novelty of this improved welding method is that it allows for the economical protection of drill pipe that would otherwise be scrapped due to tube body wear. This extends the life of the drill pipe itself, which is of great value to owners of drill pipe and E&P companies that rent or own strings. Furthermore, the hardbanding used for the wear pad is far more casing-friendly than the unprotected tube, which is also very important to E&P companies.

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