OTC Spotlight on Technology presents 14 awards

May 9, 2005
The Spotlight on Technology at the 2005 Offshore Technology Conference recognized 14 products.

The Spotlight on Technology at the 2005 Offshore Technology Conference recognized 14 products. The award program, started in 2004, highlights new technologies in offshore drilling and production.

The OTC board of directors selects award winners. The 2005 chairman, Rod Allan, said, “These recipients demonstrate the increasing technical edge that is required to explore and produce in ever-increasing water depths and more remote and hostile environments. The products recognized in this year’s Spotlight program will help bring offshore development to new depths-depths that just a few years ago seemed impossible.”

OTC recognized:

• AGR Subsea AS for RMR, a riserless mud recovery system for a dual gradient, top-hole drilling system.

• Aker Kværner ASA for the stepped diameter tendon.

• Cameron Division of Cooper Cameron Corp. for the Cameron DC all-electric subsea production system.

• Expro International Group PLC for the 15,000-psi subsea safety system.

• Expro International Group PLC for CaTS (cableless telemetry system).

• Halliburton Energy Services Group for the PoroFlex variable-reach annular barrier tool.

• Krohne Inc. for the Altosonic III ultrasonic flowmeter for custody transfer.

• Kværner Oilfield Products, the subsea subsidiary of Aker Kværner, for a carbon-fiber rod used in subsea umbilicals for axial stiffness enhancement.

• Mustang Engineering LP, subsidiary of John Wood Group PLC, for the LNG smart vaporization system.

• Norse Cutting & Abandonment AS for an abrasive water-jet cutting (AWJC) system that severs multistring conductors below seabed.

• ProPure AS for the C100 H2S scavenger mixer, providing offshore H2S removal.

Schlumberger Ltd. for the Pressure-Xpress pressure-while-logging service.

• Shaffer, a National Oilwell Varco company, for the continuous circulation system (CCS).

• Weatherford International Ltd. for an optical flowmeter.

Fluid systems

Two of the awards concerned innovations in downhole fluids.

One was AGR Subsea’s RMR riserless mud recovery system. The company tested the system in Troll field off Norway and has used it in the Caspian Sea for more than 1 year.

The other innovation in downhole fluids, Shaffer’s CCS, is a self-contained, single system that integrates several key functions and works with the rotary and top-drive systems, allowing drilling fluid to circulate continuously while connections are made.

Platform installation

Aker Kværner’s stepped diameter tendon can extend the water depth suitable for tension leg platforms (TLPs) beyond 4,000 ft. ConocoPhillips was the first to use the tendons on its Magnolia TLP, installed last year in 4,700 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico. For the same water depth, the stepped tendon reduces the tendon weight compared with conventional steel tendons. On its lower sections, the stepped tendon has smaller diameter, thick-wall pipe for withstanding the hydrostatic head and in the upper sections, larger diameter, thin-wall pipe that provides excess buoyancy.


Mustang Engineering’s LNG smart vaporization system regasifies LNG and reduces fuel consumption and NOx and CO2 emissions onshore or offshore. The process can be used in parallel with submerged combustion vaporizers (SCVs). The system incorporates industry standard fin-fan air exchangers and LNG vaporizer heat exchangers. The demonstration plant has been operating since early 2005.

H2S removal

The ProPure C100 H2S scavenger mixer is an inline system that provides offshore H2S removal using the C100 injection mixer to inject scavenger solvent into specially designed pipe geometry. Testing in the North Sea indicates a 30-35% reduction in H2S scavenger consumption.


Three awards recognized subsea innovations.

Cameron’s DC all-electric subsea production system consists of a surface power and communications unit, cables for power and communications transmission from surface to subsea, and subsea actuated valves, chokes, and controls. The system has undergone qualification testing and field trials from the BP PLC Magnus platform in the North Sea (OGJ, June 14, 2004, p. 53). DC current provides power to the system, unlike most subsea production systems, which require hydraulics to actuate subsea valves and chokes. Cameron says benefits of an all-electric system include increased actuation speed, high-speed communications, and real-time monitoring.

Expro International Group’s 15,000-psi subsea safety system for well intervention uses a high integrity ball valve system for landing strings to provide well control. The intervention string offers dual barriers during operations on horizontal subsea trees.

The Kværner Oilfield Products carbon-fiber rods are designed to enhance axial stiffness of the cross section in subsea umbilicals in water depths beyond 2,000 m. The carbon fiber rods are nearly as stiff as steel but have only 15% of the weight.

Custody transfer

Krohne says its Altosonic III three-beam ultrasonic flowmeter for custody transfer of light hydrocarbons has no moving parts and eliminates problems with clogging, scaling, and blockage while reducing pressure loss. It adds that the meter requires little to no maintenance and no recalibration. Krohne’s submission to OTC says pipeline operations throughout the US have tested the meter.

Well abandonment

Norse Cutting & Abandonment’s says Total E&P Norge AS has used its AWJC system for severing multistring conductors below the seabed on the Frigg DP2 platform abandonment project. It also reports that ConocoPhillips tested the tools on the Ekofisk Edda platform. AWJC cutting involves a high-pressure pump and mixing chamber that delivers a powerful jet of water-borne abrasive particles through an umbilical to the nozzle in the cutting tool. Crews can run the tools downhole through a rotary table, from a skid or platform deck, and from a vessel. Norse Cutting & Abandonment says it has proven the system at water depths of 350 ft. The system, it says, can cut in a single pass cemented or partly cemented five-string configurations.

Zonal isolation

The Halliburton Energy Services PoroFlex variable reach annular barrier tool is part of the Poroflex expandable system for openhole completions. The zonal isolation tool permits production and injection control using downhole control valves or sliding sleeves, stimulation, and conformance treatments.

Downhole data

Three of the recognized technologies collect downhole data.

Expro International Group’s CaTS system uses the steel tubing or casing in wells for transmitting data from remote downhole sensors (OGJ, Feb. 23, 2005, p. 41), thus eliminating dedicated cables or instrument lines in the well. In its submission to OTC, Expro says it currently has 17 systems installed worldwide.

Schlumberger says its PressureXpress service has undergone extensive testing in wells completed in the Wilcox formation of Texas. The wireline-run tool can obtain formation pressures and test for fluid mobility, as well as take fluid samples. The system has been shown to reduce costs and well cycle time while increasing production, according to Schlumberger.

The optical flowmeter from Weatherford International is a permanent downhole meter, deployed as part of the production tubing during well completion. Statoil ASA incorporated the flowmeter in well completions during May 2004, according to Weatherford. The company says the flowmeter is the first to use sonar optical technology, which provides greater accuracy, reliability, and stability than traditional electronic flowmeters. The meter features an array of spatially distributed fiber optic-based sensors to measure the propagation of pressures associated with turbulent flows and acoustic signals in the flow.