July 2014
Shale Technology Review

What's new in shale technology

What's new in shale technology

Melanie Cruthirds / World Oil

Flexible fueling option for shale plays

Weatherford has developed a lower-cost fueling solution for shale field operations, with its DF RamForce, a pumping unit powered by a 2,500-hp Caterpillar (CAT) engine and transmission, equipped with a dual-fuel conversion package. The package, labeled DGB (dynamic gas blending) by CAT, allows for the use of diesel, natural gas, liquid propane or CNG in various combinations. The result is a dependable, economical fuel alternative that saves money and reduces the number of diesel tankers required to fuel pumping unit fleets during operations. The DF RamForce is built specifically for dual-fuel applications, and includes all-CAT parts (engine, transmission and fuel system) to ensure system integrity. It will soon come equipped with Weir fluid ends composed of stainless steel, which hold up to heavy pumping and are field-proven to out-last conventional carbon steel fluid ends. In some cases, operators have been able to replace up to 70% of diesel usage with unprocessed field gas.


Compliant, enclosed combustors introduced

AEREON, a single-source supplier of environmentally compliant gas and vapor combustion, handling and recovery equipment, has launched a new line of regulatory-compliant, enclosed combustor solutions. The Quad-O Design Enclosed Combustor (QDEC) is a completely smokeless system, offering quiet operation, with no visible flame, reducing emissions to comply with NSPS Subpart OOOO. QDEC does not require electrical, steam or assist gas utilities to achieve smokeless performance, which reduces capital, operational and maintenance expenses.


Green solution designed to achieve desired formation stabilization

Phoenix Chemical Technologies has introduced KCL MAX, a proprietary, polymeric formulation clay and swelling shale stabilizer that is applied in small liquid doses to achieve desired formation stabilization results during drilling, fracing, workover and well stimulation. It is designed to work most effectively at a ratio of 3%–5%/100 gal of fluids make-up, and is especially beneficial in perforating fluid systems. When used in shale drilling applications, the near-solids-free nature of clear brine fluids, and the controlled high densities they achieve, contributes significantly to stabilization of sensitive formations. Additionally, when utilized as a stabilizer in a drill-in fluid, the low-solids nature of brine fluids contributes to increased penetration rates and lower abrasion for longer bit life. KCL MAX eliminates the need to handle and apply dangerous bulk chemicals, and delivers even better results in a wide range of applications. As part of the company’s green solutions family of products, it is environmentally safe and requires no Department of Transportation documentation, or the use of PPE for personnel on site.


New motor targets horizontal shale drilling challenges

Baker Hughes has launched the Navi-Drill Ultra Curve drilling motor, which drills high-build curves with precise directional control in horizontal shale plays. Featuring reduced bit-to-bend length and improved toolface control, the Ultra Curve motor completes the vertical, curve and lateral in one run, thereby exposing more of the reservoir and increasing well efficiency and productivity. Because the steerable motor has a smaller adjustable kickoff angle requirement, it can provide higher, more consistent build-up rates in the curve section and better rotation through higher dogleg severities. It also delivers improved directional steering control through the lateral section and enhanced hole cleaning in the vertical section. The Ultra Curve motor extends footage and rates of penetration in the vertical sections, improves the performance and directional consistency in the build section of wells, enabling precise wellbore placement while improving overall drilling performance and reducing well costs.


Product line attains CARB certification

Altronic, a branch of HOERBIGER Engine Solutions, has received aftermarket certification of the GTI Bi-Fuel product line from the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CARB) for use on off-road, compression-ignition engines in stationary applications. The GTI Bi-Fuel system is designed to allow diesel engines to operate on a blend of diesel and gaseous fuels. The system displaces a portion of the diesel fuel with clean-burning, domestically produced natural gas.


Pipe-handling system serves directional drilling operations

Vacuworx, a manufacturer of innovative vacuum lifting technology and heavy-duty material-handling equipment, has launched a lightweight pipe-handling system to lift and position drillstems in horizontal and directional drilling operations. The HDD Pipe Handling System utilizes wireless, remote controller operation, and the latest vacuum-lifting technology, to tilt and place drillstems at angles between 0° and 30°, without the use of ropes or slings. Suitable for use with Vacuworx MC Series lifters, the HDD unit is significantly lighter in weight than competing technologies, and requires only one worker to lift drill stem and transfer pipe into a drilling rig, reducing exposure to risk of injury in a pipe yard or on a job site. The equipment features a 360° hydraulic rotator that gives operators complete control over drill stem, and allows for the precise placement of pipe joints with fewer workers on the ground. 


Activator-free proppant sets in low temperatures

Santrol, a Fairmount Minerals company, has commercialized its CoolSet curable resin-coated proppant that sets in fractures to prevent flowback at a reservoir temperature of 100°F. With robust, unconfined compressive strength and enhanced conductivity, 20/40 CoolSet proppant increases hydrocarbon production. The technology, which is frac fluid- and breaker-friendly, also ensures better crush resistance, minimized proppant embedment, and significantly reduced fines generation. Customers can source the proppant from Santrol’s eight Permian basin terminals, in addition to receiving it in other regions, such as the Midcontinent.



About the Authors
Melanie Cruthirds
World Oil
Melanie Cruthirds melanie.cruthirds@worldoil.com
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