Q&A with Rick Fontova, Senior Vice President, Enventure Global Technology
- Rick Fontova (Enventure Global Technology) | John Donnelly (JPT Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 20 - 23
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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When was solid-expandable-tubular technology commercialized? In what regions has it had the most acceptance?
Enventure itself was commissioned in November 1998 as a joint venture (JV) between Halliburton and Shell, so that was the genesis of the commercialization. The technology itself has evolved over time, but solid expandable technology came through Shell’s R&D efforts in their laboratory. Then Shell approached Halliburton to help commercialize it.
Enventure originally was commissioned to work in the western hemisphere, so it was several years before we were licensed to work internationally. The western hemisphere, primarily North America, is the place where we have performed the most installations, but we are growing very rapidly. The biggest growth region outside the U.S. has been the Middle East, both in terms of installation and revenue. We also have a major project in China, which is based on a smaller-cased hole, where we are doing approximately 8 to 10 installations a month. So if that continues, that will become one of our most active areas.
New technologies sometimes face hurdles in winning acceptance and widespread application. What is the story of expandable’s growth and success, and are there any lessons for the industry in this?
We have engaged other companies to try to help us understand what the barriers are to introducing technology and how you expedite the acceptance of technology in the oil and gas industry. This industry is really slow in introducing technology compared to industries such as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, or even manufacturing. Those industries can develop, introduce, commercialize, and then penetrate the market much faster than the oil and gas industry. But in our industry, solid expandable tubulars has been one of the most quickly accepted technologies of the past 15 to 20 years.
What is the reason for that?
We latched on to the early adopters. Shell, being one of our shareholders, was an early adopter, and Saudi Aramco was as well. Both of them used the technology from a strategic standpoint, and, of course, both of those are highly credible companies. So we were able to use the example with those two companies to continue to gain acceptance.
Today our major customers are Aramco and some of the smaller independents, which are quicker in making decisions about using new technology. Majors continue to use us, but they are not as quick to find the applications, see the value proposition, and then implement the technology.
Expandables seem to have started as a technology for last-minute contingencies but since have grown to broader applications. How did this evolve?
What happened was if an operator had gotten in a bind and had run out of alternatives to fix his well, then it said, “Why not? We are already at the end of our rope.” By being able to come in on those last-minute, very challenging situations and perform, we were able to get a good foothold in the industry as a salvager of wells. Then engineers, as they typically do, started thinking about the technology’s application in a broader sense, and the technology increasingly became more integral in the design of the well.
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