May 10, 2010

New submarine robot designed for offshore fields

Bourbon Subsea Services, Paris, and Schilling Robotics LLC, Davis, Calif., have developed a new generation of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for inspection, maintenance, and repair of offshore fields.

The new HD ROV is a work class type, offering a compact design and less energy consumption, which the developers say equals the largest ROVs by carrying up to 250 kg of equipment in operation. The unit's design is suited to precision work as well as handling loads of as much as 3,000 kg at 3,000 m depth.

The submarine robot's small footprint, its launch system, and tools are easily transportable, the firms note.

Source: Bourbon Subsea Services, 33, rue de Louvre, 75002 Paris, France.

New ball-activated drilling valve

The new WELL COMMANDER ball‐activated drilling valve provides an alternate circulating path for placing lost circulation material or boosting annular velocities during drilling operations.

The maker says the valve does its job whether placing lost‐circulation material, applying the I‐BOSS wellbore strengthening solution, or conditioning or displacing wellbore fluids at high flow rates. The valve allows operators to readily accomplish these tasks while bypassing downhole bottomhole assembly tools.

Generally, run in the hole in the closed position, the tool remains inactive until needed. Then the operating ball is dropped and pumped down to the WELL COMMANDER. Pressuring up on the ball activates the tool and the increased pressure unseats the ball. It is expelled into the bypass ball catcher, and the ports are locked opened. To close, another ball is dropped, pressure increased, and the ports closed as the tool deactivates.

The tool uses the same size operating ball to open and close the ports. A smaller BHA‐shutoff ball can be dropped to prevent fluid flow or solids deposition at the top of the BHA. As many as seven complete cycles are possible on each trip due to the 14 ball capacity of the bypass catcher. Ball‐seat technology allows the same‐size ball to open and close the tool, eliminating the risk of dropping the wrong size ball. No complicated ball-dart sequence or potentially problematic pump on-off hydraulic sequencing is required to open and close the tool. Additionally, high circulation rates will not cause the tool to function prematurely.

The tool can assist in removing cuttings beds in high‐angle/horizontal wells and can help displace fluids by boosting annular velocities. Other applications include enhanced hole cleaning during hole‐opening/underreaming operations, displacing to kill weight fluids for managed pressure drilling or underbalanced drilling operations, and preventing surge-swab by allowing more efficient pipe filling-draining during trips.

Source: M-I Swaco, 5950 North Course Drive, Houston, TX 77072.

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