The introduction of continuous circulation technology during the drillpipe connection process pioneered by Eni with the introduction of the Eni Circulation Device (e-cd™) has helped address many difficult drilling challenges by providing a simple managed pressure drilling (MPD) solution for many narrow pressure gradient, high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT), and extended reach horizontal wells.

Increasingly, rigs using continuous circulation hold the requirement that all personnel be removed from the rig floor red zone area during single-pressure barrier exposure applications. To address this challenge, a new and enhanced semiautomated connection system was developed that enables an operator to deliver a connection tool to the continuous circulation sub by overhead lift or manipulator arm. Using a remote human machine interface (HMI), the system automatically removes a threaded cap, makes a flowline connection to the side port, automates the flow diversion process while a new stand is connected, and isolates the side port once the connection and flow diversion process is complete—all without the operator’s physical interaction.

The new system removes personnel from single-barrier pressure environments, helping improve safety to rig floor personnel and, because of the addition of automation, increasing system performance and repeatability to reduce nonproductive time (NPT) and rig drilling days.

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