Coiled tubing use predicted to jump 20-25% this year

The coiled tubing business is rebounding, with some exciting technology and applications yet to come, industry officials said Wednesday at the start of an annual meeting and exhibition in Houston.


Sam Fletcher
OGJ Online


HOUSTON, Mar. 7�The coiled tubing business is rebounding, with some exciting technology and applications yet to come, industry officials said Wednesday at the start of a coiled tubing roundtable and exhibition in Houston.

The use of coiled tubing in well servicing, workovers, and even drilling operations is expected to increase 20-25% this year, �back to 1997-1998 levels,� said Willem van Adrichem, business development manager for coiled tubing with Schlumberger Ltd.�s well intervention services.

�Coiled tubing is less cyclical than the rest of the industry,� said Van Adrichem, cochairman of the opening technical session on workover and service applications at the meeting. While drilling drops off during periods of low prices for oil and gas, he said, demand improves for less expensive coiled tubing operations to help increase production and cash flow.

�Because the oil and gas industry is drilling-oriented, there is always a lot of interest in the use of coiled tubing in drilling. It has not happened yet to the point that many had expected, but still it is increasing,� Van Adrichem said.

Many applications of coiled tubing are now seen in all of the major areas for exploration and development around the globe. �There are not any unknown areas on our map,� he said, �but there is still room for expansion in North America and Russia.�

Meanwhile, PGS Intervention AS, Norway, is part of a consortium preparing to build a monohull vessel that will use coiled tubing for workovers and other intervention in subsea wells in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

That group is �2-4 months away from closing� an agreement that would start construction of the vessel at a shipyard in Asia, said Per Buset, manager of PGS� well intervention services. It would take delivery of the unique vessel 22 months later, he told OGJ Online.

Although a monohull design won�t be as stable as a conventional semisubmersible rig, the proposed vessel can do the work at lower cost and with more efficiency, Buset told industry representatives. The Society of Petroleum Engineers and the International Coiled Tubing Association sponsored the conference.

In another presentation, Phil Head of XL Technology Ltd. outlined plans for development of �intelligent� coiled tubing with high voltage conduits, fiber optics, sensors, and hydraulic systems built into the tubing itself.

The biggest challenge, he said, is �how to connect the pipes together� without disrupting the alignment of the built-in features. �But it�s doable,� he said.

That technology could prove commercial by mid-2002, Head said.

Contact Sam Fletcher at Samf@OGJonline.com

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