The use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology has grown in recent years and across a wide range of industries, from use in asset tracking retail sales, transmitters for toll roads and public transit, tracking patients in hospitals and identification tags in animals. That technology also has become available for use in the oil and gas industry as a means of improving operational and financial performance in the upstream and downstream sectors.
Weatherford International now offers the industry's first electronically activated reamer that provides increased flexibility for hole-enlargement-while-drilling (HEWD) operations.
The RipTide™ RFID drilling reamer enables hole enlargements up to 25 percent beyond bit diameter during HEWD operations, and includes advanced design and technological features that make it the appropriate option in various applications.
Unlike conventional HEWD tools that house all system components in one main body, the improved reamer has two segments. Its dual-body design permits the tool to be activated mechanically with a conventional drop-ball mechanism or electronically, which entails dropping small but highly durable RFID tags into the drillpipe ID to transmit instructions to an electronic reader located on the tool's controller. According to Weatherford, this level of reamer sophistication is an industry first.
The option for RFID-based activation enhances performance by enabling operators to activate or deactivate the tool at any time while drilling or tripping. One benefit is that it prevents activation of the cutter blocks during jarring operations, significantly reducing the risk of getting the reamer stuck in the hole and incurring nonproductive time as a result. Electronic activation also helps protect casing and the tool's cutting structure from damage while cleaning the hole at full circulation and rotation. Another benefit of this development is that it permits running of multiple drilling reamers in tandem, all of which can be independently controlled.
In addition to RFID activation, the tool leverages several design features to maximize operational efficiency and flexibility and reduce costs. The tool's durable polycrystalline diamond cutters (PDC) structure offers both high-impact strength and erosion resistance. The PDC cutters are strategically positioned to disperse workloads more evenly across all stages of the cutter block, thereby improving performance.
The drilling reamer's cutter blocks have a balanced, concentric design that minimizes detrimental vibration while drilling and thereby enhances operational efficiency. The versatile cutter blocks are capable of backreaming and feature gauge trimmers to control cutting depth during each rotation.
Compatible work-rate modeling software simulates a virtual drilling environment in which engineers can analyze and ultimately optimize the layout of the PDC cutters. Users can simulate the drilling environment to create a contoured image of the bottomhole surface. Analyzing the points of interaction between the PDC cutters and the bottomhole surface in the virtual environment enables engineers to optimize the arrangement of the cutters, ultimately enhancing cutting efficiency in the field.
To further advance services, the company provides technical support that including HEWD modeling, which maps out all drilling parameters, such as weight on bit, weight on reamer, revolutions per minute and rate of penetration for the entire section.
The tool can be applied for a number of underreaming-while-drilling objectives. Specific applications include expanding existing pilot holes, underreaming-while-drilling with rotary steerable assemblies and underreaming below casing with tight restrictions.