Mark Hopmann- weatherford.jpg

Weatherford brings completions innovation with RFID

Aug 14, 2019
5 min read
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In a road-show around the region, Weatherford, the U.S. technology company for upstream, is educating the industry players about its RFID solutions, designed to reduce the total cost of ownership and operating a field, which at first instance looks set to become an industry game changer.

Mark Hopmann, president of completions for Weatherford speaks to Pipeline Magazine  about the company’s latest technology for completions, which brings an evolution of multiple advanced deployment systems into a single integrated one-trip completion.

With the new RFID technology, operators can run upper and lower completion in a single trip, from toe to tubing hanger, while always maintaining pressure integrity. Based on field-proven RFID technology, the equipment is pressure insensitive and multi-cycle.

This is what Weatherford calls the industry’s first intervention-less, deep-water, single-trip completion systems combining upper and lower completions.

“With RFID, we use electronics on the tools we run downhole in the well with an antenna and battery pack and when you want the tool to set, you pump an RFID tag that works remotely, so it eliminates the need for coiled tubing, slick-line or electric-line inside the well and you end up saving on the amount of time it takes to install the completion,” Hopmann explains.

In a bid to gain a stronger foothold in the region, the company didn’t just want to do the same thing as its competitors but cheaper. Instead, it focused on how to save the operators cost from an operational standpoint – so instead of normally running completions in four days, its new technology is able to do it in about half the time.

Weatherford is currently helping Shell Nigeria with its deep-water rigs to drill wells in West Africa. While they were normally taking 10-12 days to run completions, with the use of RFID electronics, the technology company was able to help cut the time by 40-60 per cent.

“The first one we did for them with the electronics took six days, the second one we did in five days and the third one in four days. So we saved them a substantial amount of rig time,” Hopmann said.

Weatherford is targeting the high-end, offshore market wells with the RFID technology to help cut back on time and therefore cost.

“Those are the kinds of areas we’re heading into with completions; how can we help reduce the operator’s cost, making them more efficient by taking it out of the total time it takes to do the operations,” he added.

“All of the operators we talk to say that they need lower costs. That’s great because we can show them how to do that. The price of the tool is not cheap, it’s actually more expensive but we’re going to lower the amount of time they spend on completions to lower the total cost.”

Middle East a big market

Hopmann said the company has strengthened its foothold in the Middle East market recently, and this is also where it sees significant potential for its RFID tools.

“If you look back to five years ago, we were very small players in the UAE. Now, we’re approaching market leaders in the completions area. As we go forward, we see us getting bigger and bigger with new technologies,” he said.

Additionally, the RFID tools are also perfectly suited for the region, which tends to have large-scale complex wells.

The tools have already begun to make an impression in the region. Usually, completions technologies are shown to engineers before they can make their way up to decision makers, with the latest RFID technology, Weatherford is able to have a direct approach.

“With this one, we go straight to the boss and say let me show you how we can reduce the total cost of doing your field by $50 million and they say, tell me I’m all ears,” Hopmann said.

The technology not only reduces the time it takes to complete operations but it also cuts out on a lot of the traditional operations. Usually, a wash pipe is run with a small diameter pipe for the stream, which is then changed over to the drill pipe, along with changing all the handling equipment on the rig from small pipe to big pipe, with the RFID tools, a lot of the processes are eliminated.

“You just run it in ground, drop the tag and you’re done. It reduces the entire operation. Its takes all the flat time out of the operation to get it done,” Hopmann said, adding that the simple one-trip process also reduces the need for people in zone one, close to the wellhead, making it a much safer operation. “It really has a lot of good benefits.”

“In the oil field, we have a very risk averse culture, so there is always a backup option. And the backup option for this stuff is it works like any of the conventional equipment. If the electronics fail, you can pick up ball tubing, go in and shift it like a conventional tool,” Hopmann said.