Simple innovation enabling an evolution in well construction and completions

By David Stephenson, Deep Casing Tools

Specialising in the design, engineering and manufacture of a range of innovative well construction, well completion, and casing recovery products, Deep Casing Tools delivers simple innovation across the well life cycle
Specialising in the design, engineering and manufacture of a range of innovative well construction, well completion, and casing recovery products, Deep Casing Tools delivers simple innovation across the well life cycle (photo: DCT)

The changing face of the oil and gas industry and the vital need for cost effective solutions has resulted in a successful shift in focus for Deep Casing Tools (DCT).

For more than a decade, DCT has been successful in saving time and money for oil and gas companies and reducing risk by developing a range of smart, simple and proven technologies which provide a complete solution across the drilling and completion cycle.

The company traditionally focused on high-end products suited to high value, expensive wells but in recent years has evolved its product range through “simple innovation”. It now has a wide range of tools and services relevant to mid to low cost wells, and for decommissioning and slot recovery.

As wells are becoming deeper and longer, with extended horizontal sections, companies are finding that wiper trips, open hole exposure and pressure spikes are adding up to more flat time, potential equipment damage and unnecessary costs.

Reaching target depth first time
DCT’s TurboCaser™ is a high-speed, turbine-powered casing running system designed to address these challenges. It helps drilling teams to land casings and intermediate liners at target depth (TD) in even the most complex wells. The unique drillable turbine can be drilled through in minutes, after normal cementation, in a single cost-effective operation, allowing the same bottom-hole assembly to immediately drill ahead through the next section.

The technology ensures casings reach TD and negates the risk of landing casings high, pulling and re-running, saving on average three days and USD 600,000 on an offshore well.

TurboCaser™ is a high-speed, turbine-powered casing running system designed help drilling teams to land casings and intermediate liners at target depth in even the most complex wells
TurboCaser™ is a high-speed, turbine-powered casing running system designed help drilling teams to land casings and intermediate liners at target depth in even the most complex wells (illustration: DCT)

Norwegian Exploration company Lundin, after careful analysis of available solutions, decided that the TurboCaser was the best solution for drilling critical injection wells in the Edvard Grieg field on the western flank of the Utsira High on the southwest Norwegian continental shelf.

In previous operations, TD had either not been achieved or had taken multiple attempts and Lundin was concerned about the high variability of the field.

The operator required a reamer capable of performing in unstable zones and one which would negate any liner rotation from the surface. It would also have to be capable of quickly drilling ahead for minimum delay on subsequent sections of the completion.

The TurboCaser allowed a 9⅝-inch liner to land at TD on the first attempt, in difficult conditions in which the liner had to pass through unstable claystone and limestone stringer zones. Without the TurboCaser the liner would not have been set at the correct depth.

Ultimately, the injection wells were drilled out in one run, avoiding multiple attempts or side-tracking and thus reducing the potential cost to Lundin.

Removing surface rotation to reach target depth in problem wells
“Simple innovation” has also led to the development of a tool for well completions.

The TurboRunner™ is a rugged and reliable tool which provides high-speed reaming to land completions and liners at TD, without the need for surface rotation.

It combines turbine powered reaming with low circulating pressures, making it particularly useful for ensuring final strings, casings, liners or completions get to TD in more problematic wells.

The design minimises the risk of damage to delicate strings with low vibration and torque.

It cuts well construction costs and maximises return on investment by reducing wiper trips, creating reliable connections, protecting intelligent completions and minimising the loss of reservoir action.

The tool is 75% quicker than conventional technology and saves three days, and around USD 600,000 on a typical offshore well.

TurboRunner™ is a high-speed turbine-powered reaming system that enables completions to land at target depth and access all planned reserves
TurboRunner™ is a high-speed turbine-powered reaming system that enables completions to land at target depth and access all planned reserves (illustration: DCT)

The Turborunner proved its value when Saudi Aramco used it in a dual lateral well, to confirm the reservoir structure and oil water contact at the Unza reservoir in the north west part of the Khuzama field, near Riyadh.

The challenge was to reach TD, in the first lateral, with the lower completion. After drilling to a depth of 11,091 feet MD, Saudi Aramco attempted to run the lower completion but established it was not possible to reach the bottom.

They pulled and then attempted to condition the hole by running with a stiff bottom hole assembly. This only allowed access to a depth of 10,458 feet and many tight spots were encountered during six days spent reaming.

Because of the design of the lower completion it was not possible to run with a conventional reamer shoe and, requiring an innovative reaming approach for success, Saudi Aramco selected the TurboRunner from DCT.

The TurboRunner successfully allowed the completion to reach TD first time.

The tight spots were easily navigated because the TurboRunner effectively washed and reamed past any obstructions. Significant cost savings were also achieved because no further hole conditioning or wiper trips were required.

Following the proven success of TurboRunner in the first lateral, Saudi Aramco decided it offered the best opportunity for a quick and cost effective result in the second lateral and once again it proved successful, enabling the completion to reach TD in just one reaming trip, saving time and money. Again, further savings were achieved because hole conditioning trips were unnecessary.

Adoption from Shell Nigeria in the Bonga North West field
There was a different challenge for SNEPCO (Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company), which wanted to drill a horizontal 2D well to develop the BNW690 reservoir in the Bonga North West field, south west of the Niger Delta.

SNEPCO intended to run the first of Weatherford’s new RFID controlled single trip intelligent completion in an 8½-inch open hole reservoir section, in the first of four confirmed wells. The aim was to run the upper and lower completion in one trip.

For this completion, correct placement was paramount for maximum return on investment.

The operation was successful, and, without the TurboRunner, the completion would have been set 50 feet high or have been pulled out of hole.

Combining the single trip completion and the TurboRunner resulted in significant time and potential re-run savings.

Partnering with NOV Completion Tools to extend technology reach in Norway
DCT recently embarked upon a new alliance in Norway with American multinational National Oilwell Varco (NOV) Completion Tools, a move which allows DCT to extend the reach of its technology suite and open up significant opportunities.

The agreement gives NOV Completion Tools’ growing completions and production solutions division access to DCT’s proprietary technology. This includes not only the TurboCaser and TurboRunner but also its MechLOK Drill Pipe Swivel™, the world’s first mechanically lockable drill pipe swivel.

This technology allows the drill pipe to be rotated independently of the work-string which reduces drag, redistributes friction and mitigates helical buckling.

This in turn allows increased weight at the tool to help push the liner string into the well to TD. This tool can be locked at any time, removes any hydraulic concerns and reduces the risk of injury during completions as less manpower is required on the rig floor.

NOV Completion Tools will be DCT’s service provider in Norway, initially under the guidance and training of DCT staff.

A commitment to simple innovation
At the core of its business, DCT looks to support oil and gas companies drill more successful wells. It does this by developing and commercialising solutions which are driven by customer and market demand and enable operators to become more efficient. This approach has allowed DCT’s business to grow from strength to strength, led by a firm commitment to R&D and innovation.

David Stephenson, Deep Casing Tools Chief Executive Officer
David Stephenson, Deep Casing Tools Chief Executive Officer

David Stephenson led substantial businesses in the UK, Europe, Middle East and South East Asia during a 20-year career in the oil and gas sector and brings with him a reputation for delivering sustained and successful product development, and significant business improvement.