An operator in the Permian Basin (Texas), in Midland County, has just completed a series of field runs of the VAM® SPRINT-SF solution. Designed for onshore drilling, this innovative connection allowed our customer to benefit from an exceptionally high operational torque and an efficient running time with only 3.5 turns to make up and zero reject.
Unconventional wells have evolved in design as operators push the boundaries for increased efficiencies. In turn, the quest for these increased efficiencies has driven the need for new tubular technology to be developed. VAM® SPRINT-SF is a new connection that was developed to help operators with this challenge. An operator in the Permian Basin (Texas) was able to take advantage of the new design in a series of field runs in Midland County. The exceptionally high operational torque allowed them to overcome friction and safely rotate during cementing with reduced risks of interior diameter (ID) restrictions. It also allowed them to plan for an extended lateral and the torque that would be required to get the casing to bottom. With less than four turns to make up, VAM® SPRINT-SF allowed for efficient running time with zero rejects
Looking for operational torque for rotation
Industry standard semi-premium connections are being used in unconventional wells in a manner that they weren’t designed or tested for at the time of their development. Casing strings are often “worked” into the hole with high tension/compression and torque combined loads. In addition, high numbers of completion stages are adding ever-increasing fatigue loads.
An operator in West Texas approached Vallourec with problems manifesting themselves as internal diameter restrictions adding remedial operational time and cost to their wells. They also had a desire to use higher torque for a new cementing practice but were unsure of combined load limits.
VAM USA partnered with the operator for an in-depth study. Well loads were used with FEA models and WELLCAT™ for a digital copy of the wells. In those models, it was found that when working the pipe, high levels of torque were applied at the same time as high tension and compression. All loads in isolation were within connection ratings. However, the combined loading (VME) resulted in load points outside of the connection operating envelope and the model predicted the restrictions at the depths seen in the field.
Enter a high-torque, semi-premium connection tested for the application
This modeling scenario was utilized in the development of the new VAM® SPRINT-SF. The same FEA/ WELLCAT™ approach allowed for effective modeling of operating limits which were then used for physically testing in VAM USA’s Connection Technology Center. The operator followed the development and offered operational information.
Once the design was validated through physical testing, they opted for a four well trial with 5˝”, 20# VAM® SPRINT-SF (capable of delivering 40,000ft.lbs). With a Total Measured Depth (TMD) of over 24,500 ft and casing joints pushing the limits of Range 3 length at over 46 ft, 10% fewer connections had to be made up as compared with industry standard casing length. Fast make-up was proven with 3.5 turns to optimum torque after stabbing. Zero rejects were seen on the first run that averaged close to 30 jts/hr.
To help facilitate the trial, a Vallourec.smart package was used. This allowed for the CVD (Clean, Visual, Drift Process) to take place offsite of the rig. Delivery for the full string of pipe took place in 3.5 hours with less people at the rig site. A digital tally was handed to the company man to ease operations. To cut thread protector removal time while keeping the connections safe from the elements during running, quick release protectors were used. VAM® Field Service ran torque turn so it was optimized for this connection at job start. Once the string was in place, the connection’s high torque was utilized to get the string turning during the cement job.
A peak of just over 16,000ft.lbs was seen to get the string moving during installation and 22,000-24,000ft.lbs was sustained during the cementing job. After completion, the rig ran a gauge ring and confirmed that there were no ID restrictions, thus meeting the customer’s requirement.
This successful first test run of VAM® SPRINT-SF is proof of Vallourec’s continuous will to innovate and work together with customers to meet their challenges.