Extreme environment requires
The region near Conklin, Alberta, Canada, is a development area
for thermal steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) wells. Recently,
a major Canadian operator elected to field test TenarisHydril
Blue® Thermal Liner with Dopeless® technology on SAGD wells
drilled from one of its well pads. This marked the first use of the
technology in a hostile Canadian environment and provided a
valuable opportunity for the operator to analyze the benefits of
Dopeless® technology for potential application under extreme cold
In SAGD projects, where up to 18 wells are drilled from a single
surface location, a “batch drilling” approach is often utilized,
resulting in repetitive drilling of the same well section (e.g.
Surface, Intermediate, Horizontal Liner), 8 or 9 times in a row.
In an effort to improve efficiencies and reduce drilling times and
costs, operators seek to streamline processes, reduce cycle-times
of repeated operations, and eliminate unnecessary steps in the
process flow. Furthermore, in a cold-weather environment, all
manual activities such as casing running and preparation take
longer to perform and encounter a higher frequency of delays.
Removing the thread protectors, cleaning off the storage
compound and then re-applying thread compound in challenging
winter conditions can lead to improper connection makeup and
pipe damage. Freshly applied running compound, which often
freezes instantly in these conditions, can hinder the makeup of the
connection and result in thread galling.
The use of traditional thread compounds requires more personnel
on the rig floor to remove the end protectors, clean the storage
compound, and then re-apply thread compound. Risk factors
increase substantially in Arctic environments where sub-zero
temperatures, snow and ice complicate rig operations.
Most conventional pipe thread compounds contain one or more
hazardous substances that, if discharged or not disposed of
properly, can endanger the environment. Numerous regions,
including Arctic exploration areas, have adopted and strictly
enforced “zero discharge” policies that regulate the use of
hazardous materials in sensitive tundra areas and wildlife preserves.
Dopeless® technology applied in
The pad of the Canadian operator consisted of 12 wells
(half of them being steam injection wells while the rest were
bitumen collection wells) all of which used TenarisHydril Blue®
Thermal Liner (TSH BTL ) connections with Dopeless® technology in
the horizontal (slotted) liner section.
Dopeless® technology is a completely dry, dope-free coating applied
at the mill in the final stages of connection manufacturing. This
integrated and automated process provides operational reliability
and increased efficiency by eliminating standard preparation
activities that would typically be conducted in the field.
The preparation and installation of all casing strings was monitored
and analyzed carefully. To facilitate the desired evaluation of
the potential cost savings and efficiency gains achievable using
Dopeless® technology on a typical Canadian SAGD drilling
operation, data from other 3 identical SAGD wells that were being
drilled nearby and were cased using TSH BTL connections made up
with regular running compound was contrasted.
Faster cycle times for casing running
Typically, the application of thread compound to each connection
on the rig floor increases the overall makeup time for a string.
In this evaluation, the standard cycle time (SCT ) for makeup of
Dopeless® connections was 10% faster than the SCT for the
standard doped ones.
Lower cost of running preparation
Because the Dopeless® technology is applied at the mill,
connections arrive rig-ready at the well site thereby avoiding the
expense associated with cleaning and applying thread compound.
By virtually eliminating cleaning activities from the process,
preparation costs were reduced by nearly 90%.
Reduced health, safety and environmental risks
Since Dopeless® technology is dry, slippery surfaces caused by
running compound were eliminated from rig floors, lowering the
risk potential for personnel accidents and minimizing the risks
associated with the possible discharge of hazardous fluids in both
well site and preparation operations — even the thread protectors
are clean, making protector recycling simpler and more costeffective.
Less pipe handling results in reduced operational risks and
faster, safer installation.
Tenaris’s team of field service specialists provided their local
expertise and specific knowledge of Canadian SAGD operations
to the customer, performing product and pre-running inspection,
as well as running assistance. This value-added service helped to
maximize product performance and reduce risk.
It is interesting to note that temperatures during this experience
ranged from 5˚C to 20˚C which provided optimum running
conditions. However, it is expected that during the peak winter
drilling season, when temperatures range from -35˚C to 0˚C, the
benefits of Dopeless® connections would increase significantly.