Electronically Enhanced Remote Actuation Systems Improve Deepwater Completions Capabilities, Economics
- Mark Hopmann (Baker Oil Tools) | Paul Dodd (Independent Consultant)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- December 1997
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 224 - 227
- 1997. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 Well Completion, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 3.2.2 Downhole intervention and remediation (including wireline and coiled tubing), 2.1.7 Deepwater Completions Design, 1.6.5 Drilling Time Analysis
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With offshore rig demand at a premium and costs often exceeding $100,000 per day, the economics of developing burgeoning deepwater arenas is closely tied to technologies that expedite production and reduce rig time. This paper describes a new, mud pulse-frequency based communication technique that actuates and manipulates downhole tools equipped with on board electronics. The downhole tools (which may include permanent or retrievable packers, sliding sleeves, and disappearing plugs) are programmed at surface to recognize one of sixteen discreet actuation commands from a computer-controlled, portable terminal unit. Once in position, the tools are actuated upon receipt of a specific command sent from the portable terminal unit. As many as sixteen devices can be actuated independently of one another in a single wellbore and, since the system is independent of absolute pressure in the tubing, there is no need to install, for example, a tubing plug to set a packer.
By using packers equipped for electronically enhanced remote actuation, days of rig time can be saved by accelerating the completion cycle. Sliding sleeves equipped with the new technology can be remotely shifted without using coiled tubing or wireline. Electronically enhanced remote actuation allows for reduction, and in some cases total elimination, of common well intervention operations associated with getting the initial completion in the ground. The resulting savings in operating expense and overall completion cost can be substantial, as has been proved in several recent deepwater applications.
Conventional completion techniques can be time intensive, require tubing manipulation, and many times require multiple well interventions - all of which make them less than desirable for extended reach and deepwater applications.
One of the more common completion practices is the setting of a retrievable or permanent packer above the producing zone to isolate and control the produced fluid and pressures to protect the casing and other formations above and below the producing zone. The packer setting process consists of three distinct sub-processes: 1) Running - run packer in the well without actuation, 2) Actuating - actuate packer so it gets from a "run in the hole" position to a "ready to set position", and 3) Setting - set packer such that slips grip casing and packing elements seal against the casing.
There are five conventional actuation/setting methods: 1) Wireline Setting Tool - run-in on wireline, actuation and setting occurs via an electric-line actuated pressure setting assembly, 2) Tubing Setting Tool - run on a workstring, actuation and setting occurs via a hydraulic setting tool, 3) Mechanical/Mechanical - run-in on tubing, actuate packer mechanically by rotating tubing, set mechanically by applying tension or compression; 4) Hydraulic/Hydraulic - run on tubing, actuate hydraulically by placing a plug in the tubing and by applying hydraulic pressure, and hydraulically set by applying more pressure against the tubing plug, 5) Hydraulic/Hydrostatic - run on tubing, actuated hydraulically by placing a plug in the tubing and applying pressure against the plug, and hydrostatic set using the well pressure of the column of fluid in the tubing.
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