A new valve has been designed and qualified to reduce interventions during packer-setting operations. In a typical well, completion with a hydraulic-production packer, the tubing string must be plugged to create the required pressure differential for packer actuation. At desired depth, delivering a preselected circulation rate actuates the tool and converts the string to a closed system, enabling the packer to be set hydraulically.
Before designing the valve, an operator's engineering and operational requirements were collected and understood. Then a conceptual design was evaluated, and a prototype device was manufactured. The valve was tested for autofill capability, actuation parameters and pressure integrity. The critical design elements of the valve are the choking and spring mechanisms, which enable circulation without prematurely actuating the valve and then enable tubing autofill. A visual inspection post qualification test was conducted to validate the components’ condition and integrity. During the qualification process, the valve working envelope was developed.
After the successful qualification test, the valve was deployed in a customer well with a production packer that has a blanking device consisting of a ceramic disc. Prior to deployment, hydraulic simulation was done to determine the required flow rate to achieve desired pressure drop across the valve for actuation. During deployment, the tubing was filled automatically, validating the valve autofill capability. Upon reaching setting depth, the completion string was circulated at the required circulation rate to actuate the valve and close the system.
Pressure integrity in the tubing validated the valve functionality. Surface pressure was applied against the blanking device, and the production packer was set hydraulically. Subsequently, before completing the well, the blanking device was broken using a slickline run, and the well was put on production.
The deployment technique using the valve requires only one slickline run whereby in typical operation four slickline runs are required.
This project represented true problem-solving engineering approaches. The operator requirements were properly understood and conceptual design was validated, and product realization phase was initiated. The efficient product development methodology improves the lead time from conceptualization to product realization. During the first well deployment, hydraulic simulation during the prejob planning proved to be critical to understanding the required circulation rates to actuate the valve.