Deepwater operators continually face technical and environmental challenges to drilling and completing wells safely and efficiently. To address both current and future challenges, the industry has leveraged radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to reduce risk, rig time, and nonproductive time (NPT) and to perform operations that traditional tools cannot perform. RFID technology has been integrated into drilling and completions tools to improve performance and reduce risk for offshore operations, such as drilling underreamed holes, spotting lost circulation materials, setting packers, opening stimulation sleeves, and performing subsurface reverse cementing. These tools use RFID tags released from the rig floor to enable downhole hydraulic power units (HPUs) to operate the tools. This paper describes criteria for selecting RFID-enabled tools rather than traditional tools, integration of RFID tools with operations, and value-added features enabled by RFID. Contingency, safety, and risk assessment factors are discussed, along with case studies validating performance and suitability of selected RFID tools.

Three case studies describe how RFID solutions for drilling and completions were selected and applied in high-cost environments to address specific challenges and job objectives. Design and bench testing of RFID tools to enable future subsurface reverse cementing operations are also covered.

The first case study describes an RFID lower-completion system that was successfully deployed into a southern North Sea extended-reach well. The system enabled remote control of flapper isolation valves and remote operation of stimulation sleeves to access the reservoir, which aimed to eliminate the need for intervention between treatments and ultimately improved fracture cycle time and reduced risk.

In the Gulf of Mexico, an RFID drilling underreamer was used to set a liner shoe precisely at the casing point and eliminate a dedicated hole-opening run that would have been needed with traditional underreamers. The 8 1/2-in. hole section was drilled; but losses prevented the mechanical reamer from opening. Therefore, the 650-ft hole section was drilled to TD using the bit only. To eliminate multiple trips to take pressure samples and underream the hole section to 9-7/8 in., an RFID underreamer was placed below the measurement-while-drilling/logging-while-drilling (MWD/LWD) equipment. After pressure measurements were taken, the underreamer was actuated with RFID tags to enlarge the entire 650-ft openhole section with less than a 13-ft rathole.

In the last case study, an RFID circulation sub was deployed above other bottomhole assembly (BHA) components, including an RFID underreamer and a conventional ball drop underreamer. This configuration enabled the operator to ream out the 22-in. cemented show track, underream the openhole section, and efficiently clean the wellbore at total depth. Because of BHA and standpipe pressure limitations, the RFID circulation sub was used in a split-flow application to bypass a percentage of the total flow to allow for a higher downhole flow rate. The sub helped to achieve high flow rates, high annular velocity, and turbulent flow, which contributed to better hole cleaning and improved wellbore integrity.

Selecting the best tools and technology for specific applications results in streamlined applications and reduced operational risk. The methodology for selection, design, planning, and implementation of RFID drilling and completions tools identifies when RFID technology can be beneficial to deepwater operations.

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