Radio-Frequency-Identification Technique Opens and Closes Sliding Sleeves Remotely
- Adam Wilson (JPT Editorial Manager)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 102 - 105
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 108 since 2007
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This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 153834, "Interventionless Completions for Unconventional Shale Plays," by Jane Mason, SPE, John Tough, Paul Day, SPE, and Shirley Hatton, Petrowell, prepared for the 2012 SPE Middle East Unconventional Gas Conference and Exhibition, Abu Dhabi, 23-25 January. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
To simplify the process of multiple fracturing operations, a new approach has been designed that uses radio-frequency-identification (RFID) techniques to operate sliding sleeves remotely. The number of sleeves that can be run in a well using this technology is essentially unlimited, each having the same identification and a unique electronic address that allows it to be operated remotely at will. This approach makes considerably more zones available for treatment without coiled-tubing or wireline physical intervention and, thereby, speeds the operations.
RFID technology will be familiar as the basis of toll-road tags for identification of one’s car—the tag in one’s vehicle contains a microchip that positively identifies it and triggers a toll charge. This same microchip system (Fig. 1) can be used to trigger a downhole tool that has an embedded antenna that picks up the coded signal in the chip as it is pumped down the hole. RFID’s method of data transfer and adaptability permit widespread application in a downhole environment. It is a close-proximity means of transferring data; no direct line of sight is required, and it works by using at least two devices—a reader and tag. The devices are paired and able to recognize each other through the transmission of radio waves; a tag is coded with relevant information that can be read as it passes an RFID reader. The term “close proximity” is relative. Tags are read from 100 m in the airline industry, where readers are able to use vast amounts of power. In contrast, the distance would be reduced to 6–12 in. in the oil industry, demanding far less power downhole. The tag, which contains an electronic circuit (transponder), is programmed with specific information, and, when it approaches the reader, the radio-frequency field generated by the reader powers up the tag, causing it to transmit its data continuously by pulsing the radio frequency. The data are then captured by the reader and processed.
Because the tag is so small, it allows great freedom of movement, and there is no need for direct contact for both devices, which results in a high level of convenience and flexibility. Some of the other advantages of RFID are
- Tags can be hidden or embedded in nonmetallic materials.
- No line of sight is required.
- Its contactless nature limits wear and tear.
- Tags can be read even if they are covered with dirt or submerged.
- Unalterable permanent serial code prevents tampering.
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