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IBP2006_12 CASE STUDY ON BOTTOM HOLE ASSEMBLY TOOL Richard Verhoef1, Paul Benet 2, Dave Mason3

Copyright 2012, Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute - IBP


This Technical Paper was prepared for presentation at the Rio Oi & Gas Expo and Conference 2012, held between September, 1720, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. This Technical Paper was selected for presentation by the Technical Committee of the event according to the information contained in the final paper submitted by the author(s). The organizers are not supposed to translate or correct the submitted papers. The material as it is presented, does not necessarily represent Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute opinion, or that of its Members or Representatives. Authors consent to the publication of this Technical Paper in the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Proceedings.

Abstract
In these days of rig automation and advanced rig mechanization, the industry may wonder why running the Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA) still requires more people on the drill floor and more equipment then required when tripping in or out. Part of the reason is that BHAs are made up of many different components; each usually having a separate outside diameter, which means that every component needs a specific set of hand slips. Furthermore, every component needs to be secured by a safety clamp to prevent unwanted pipe slippage. Both setting the slips and fixing the safety clamp is a manual process, which often requires 2-3 persons to complete. This is a potentially unsafe practice and it is imperative to find a reliable solution to meet this challenge. The Bottom Hole Assembly Tool (BHAT) provides the solution to all of the main challenges faced when handling the BHA: (1) Many different diameters (2) Safely running collar-less components with relative low loads .The BHAT eliminates these problems because it is able to grip a wide range of diameters without component changes to the tool; it grips BHA components with the necessary force so the BHA cannot slip through and with such built-in safety features a safety clamp is not needed. During the design and prototype testing of the BHAT, all individual design features have been examined in great detail; from the design of the insert teeth profile, to the clamping force of the cylinders and its integrated safety features. This paper presents some of the design challenges and the prototype testing leading to a field test on a test rig. A safety and efficiency analysis will be presented to demonstrate the potential time savings when using the BHAT, resulting in a surprising payback period.

______________________________ 1 Product Technical Director, Hoisting and Compensating Systems National Oilwell Varco 2 Drilling Engineer Chevron, Deepwater Exploration and Projects 3 Director Engineering, Hoisting Tools and Top Drives National Oilwell Varco

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 1.

Introduction
The BHAT is designed to reduce the manpower and the quantity of equipment needed to safely run a BHA. The main design parameters set for the tool were; 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 150 sTon Load rating according to API 7K with a 3:1 safety factor, without the use of a slip design Size range 4 12 (for BHA diameters) Hydraulically operated, including a safety clamp feature One man operation, the driller only will operate the tool Small enough to fit between the rails of the most common Iron Roughnecks Have a closing and clamping speed of 20 seconds or less Comply with the European CE Machinery Directive

The BHAT design team focused on first finding solutions for the first three points. The three revolutionary design features of the BHAT are that it is (1) a slip-less tool that can handle, (2) a range of pipe without size component changes, and (3) eliminates the use of safety clamps. 2.

Standard Engineering Practices


During the design stage several standard engineering practices relating to supporting axial tubular weight had to be revisited. The work started by looking in detail at the contact point between the tubular and the load holding equipment; the inserts (dies or buttons). The BHAT is designed from the inserts up. Another standard engineering practice is the use of wedge shaped devices (slips) to generate the force that allows equipment to hold axial string weight. Slips are used, and will be continued to be used, in almost all situations where high string weights need to be supported, but there is another way of generating holding power- direct radial hydraulic power. This method; however, brings along other design challenges to overcome some of the benefits of using slip type arrangements. The last revisited standard engineering practice is that with slips, typically one size slip can only hold one size (diameter) of tubular, or a very small range of tubulars in the best case. This means that while running a BHA, several slips will be needed to handle the number of different diameters present in a BHA. Running a BHA requires most of the components to be flush so a collar or upset cannot be used to support axial weight, which may lead to the BHA slipping through the slips if they are not gripped sufficiently. To counter this problem, the safety clamp (or dog collar) is used. However, a safety clamp may not be the best solution. Installation of this cumbersome equipment is time consuming in order to avoid causing injury to the two or more people required to complete the operation and to prevent damage to the equipment.

3.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road, or Better: Where the Insert Meets the Pipe
Holding axial string weight with a tool that is relying on friction alone as contact between the tool and the BHA will not result in a high capacity tool. The degree of friction depends on a number of variables such as contact materials, clamping power or surface roughness, and the friction is influenced by outside factors like moisture, grease, mud, oil or other substances that can get between the equipment and the BHA. Based on this, no tool should rely on friction alone to support weight; there should always be a reliable method that is not influenced by these above factors. The best way to ensure (flush) tubulars are being adequately supported is to use little steel blocks, which have small teeth that can penetrate the pipe thus providing the best gripping power possible. These inserts (pictures 1a and 1b) come in many shapes and sizes, but basically all perform the same function - their teeth profiles are designed to penetrate the pipe. The carburized and case hardened insert teeth typically have a minimum hardness of 58 Rc, making the teeth much harder than most commonly used BHA tubulars. So, if friction alone is not providing the needed capacity to support axial string weight but the inserts are, what is defining the failure point of the inserts; in other words when do inserts fail? To understand this, the design team concentrated on the most common types of teeth profiles used on inserts - the symmetrical pyramid shaped tooth profile (pictures 1a and 1b) and the buttress shaped profile (pictures 2a and 2b). The pyramid tooth profile has a 60 degree pyramid with a maximum height of 0.09 high and a flat spot on top. The buttress design has a 70 degree asymmetrical tooth shape, with a sharp edge.

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Picture 1a and 1b: Pyramid Shaped Teeth Profile

Picture 2a and 2b: Buttress Teeth Profile

When the inserts are being pushed into the pipe, the downward force caused by the string weight is loading the teeth in shear (see picture 3). This will allow for a fairly simple calculation to determine the force needed to shear a single tooth and the complete insert. The insert material hardness has a minimum value of 58Rc, this relates to a tensile strength of 337,000 psi and thus the shear strength can be determined as 0.58 x 337,000= 195 ksi. When doing a shear force calculation, the maximum load holding capacity of a single insert at maximum penetration (0.09) depth is 113 sTon. Maximum insert teeth penetration will only be possible on tubulars with relatively low hardness and with enough radial force to push the teeth into the tubular material. On harder tubular material this will never occur. Due to the buttress design, the shear area will increase during penetration at a higher rate compared to the pyramid profile. This will result in higher theoretical load holding capacity at similar penetration depth. Graph 1 displays the difference in shear force per insert between the pyramid and buttress design.

Picture 3: Shear Area

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Graph 1: Comparison Shear force per insert for Pyramid and Buttress teeth profile 4.

Gripping a Range of Tubular Diameters


The most challenging design parameter of the BHAT is that it must have the capacity to grip a range of diameters without size component changes. The design team set the maximum range of diameters that the tool would need to adjust to 4, for example; the BHAT can adjust to all diameters in a 4-6, 6-10 range, and in an 8-12 range. Inserts have an inside radius machined and the optimum small radius insert will contact the tubular on the outer two teeth columns only. Only the inner two teeth columns will contact the pipe if the inside radius of the insert is too large. Both situations will result in fewer teeth penetrating the tubular and therefore less load bearing capacity. A compromise is found in making the radius fit in between the biggest and smallest expected tubular size to be run.

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Picture 4: Insert Block Picture 5: Insert blocks in Insert Carrier Blocks

To overcome the range adjustment the BHAT has double rotating inserts. The BHAT has four main insert block carriers, each holding two insert blocks (picture 4). The insert carrier blocks (picture 5) have a concave shaped rear side as well as the insert blocks. This double rotation will allow for automatic adjustment of the insert blocks for the 4 range of diameter. The inserts are rotated so that the teeth profile is always contacting the tubular in the most efficient way. When testing the arrangement it became clear that the double rotation works well. Initial fears that the insert teeth would grind along the tubular to find their position were unfounded; with the carrier blocks set up for the smallest diameter, and then presented with the biggest diameter, the insert blocks would position themselves to the radius of the tubular and stay in that position without scraping along the tubular surface. 5.

How to Generate Clamping Force with a Slip less Design?


With the insert type selected, the team needed to come up with a way for the BHAT to generate enough clamping force to ensure the insert teeth were penetrating the tubular enough to hold both low and high axial tubular weights for tubular material hardness of up to 43Rc. In normal slips, the clamping force is generated by the tubular weight dragging the slips further in the bowl thereby increasing the clamping force. The 4:1 taper will ensure that the clamping force is almost 3:1 in relation to the string weight. With a 50 ton string weight, the clamping force generated by the slips is almost 300,000 lbs. So, the heavier the string, the more clamping force there is to penetrate the inserts into the tubular. From these results, an optimum clamping force was determined at 160,000lbs, and any additional clamping force did not add to the overall load holding capacity over the tool. However, a high clamping force can have a negative effect on some threaded connections of BHA tubulars; a high clamping force on a thin walled connection may result in a higher make up torque during make up due to squeezing the pin and box together. On the other side, a low clamping force may result in the inserts not penetrating the tubular enough, especially on harder tubulars, as this may result in pipe slipping. The BHAT design team decided to use four independent cylinders to generate a constant clamping force of 160,000lbs, at 2000 psi, irrespective of the tubular weight in the tool. Using four cylinders also provides a redundancy should one cylinder not perform well.

6.

Safety Clamp or Not?


Running BHA is almost a synonym for using safety clamps. The correct use of a safety clamp should prevent flush pipe from slipping through the hand slips. Once the safety clamp is installed a few inches above the slips, they function as a slip push down device; if the pipe slips through the hand slips, the safety clamp lands on top of the slips, thereby pushing them further in the bowl and forcing the slips to grip the tubular harder. The safety clamp is considered the last line of defense and is therefore often abused as such. At times the safety clamp is utilized in ways other than its intended use such as creating a collar for a side door elevator, which results in the safety clamp being loaded with the full string weight. Still, the safety clamp is a psychological barrier that is hard to remove; a slip-less tool without a safety clamp will raise a few eyebrows. The design team realized the BHAT had to have an understandable and extremely reliable locking device that, under no circumstances, would accidentally let a tubular slip through by keeping the two clamping halves locked together .

7.

Safety Improvements When Using the BHAT


The BHAT provides a number of safety improvements over the conventional method of running a BHA: Removing personnel from well center No safety clamp and slips needed will result in: o No manual Slip handling, reducing heavy and awkward lifting operations for personnel o Reduce injury risk by removing pinch points (no more hammering the nut of the safety clamp when tightening it) o Dropped objects (safety clamp nut can fall off when operated by pneumatic wrench, wrench can be dropped and fall down hole) or when it slips out of the hands of the crew during hammering. Mix-up of different sizes slips and safety clamps to handle different diameters on the BHA Reduced amount of times needed to remove the insert bowls and Master Bushing, resulting in less opportunity to drop bowls on feet and get hand injuries while handling the lifting slings

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Picture 4: manually setting hand slips. Notice the back straining lifting position

Picture 5 and 6: Hammering the safety clamp nut. Notice the potential for injury to hand and feet and dropped objects 8.

Field Testing the BHAT


The BHAT field test was performed at the end of March 2012 on a test rig in Lafayette (La). The test was conducted with Chevron and National Oilwell Varco personnel present, supported by the local test rig crew. The field test was set up: o To test and improve the operational sequence of lifting the BHAT onto the drill floor, installing the BHAT over well center (installing and removing) and timing the operation o Proof the speed of operation on a well situation when closing and opening the BHAT o Demonstrate the gripping capacities of the BHAT on Monel Drill Collars o Proof the ease of operation by the tools ability to handle a range of diameters within the 4 size range insert blocks o Demonstrate the integral safety of the tool in case of full loss of hydraulic power and catastrophic failure of clamping cylinder seals o Demonstrate the controls and feedback signals o Receive rig crew feedback on the tool in all aspects of working with the BHAT to further improve the BHAT operational sequence 6

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 9.

Installation
The BHAT was lifted onto the drill floor by using a crane and long 4 legged lifting sling with a spreader bar. Once the tool was on the drill floor, the power supplies were connected and the tool was functioned a few times before it was placed over the well center. An adapter plate was used to mate the BHAT with the rotary table with a master bushing. During running in hole with the BHA, the BHAT can just be placed over the well center, with pipe in the hole. The BHAT needs to be opened up to allow the tool to come around the pipe. This was tested over the well center without pipe in the hole. The removal of the BHAT front jaw requires four latches to be opened up and a door plate to be removed. The jaw can then be removed by lifting the jaw up with a tugger line. Removal of the jaw took five minutes to complete, placing the jaw back and latching the jaw in place tool seven minutes. In actual rig situations, the BHAT will only need to be removed from the well center once the BHA is run or for BHA with components having an outer diameter larger than 18.

9.1 Speed of Operation and Gripping Different Diameters and Hardnesss The test continued by running 9-5/8 recessed drill collars in the well, for each connection the BHAT closed on the slip recess section without problem. The drill collars were made up by using a hydraulic power wrench. The opening and closing speed of the BHAT was 20-25 seconds from command to close the tool to a positive feedback signal. The six drill collars were followed by a 9-5/8 Monel drill collar (with 31 Rc) to demonstrate the BHAT holding capacity on extreme hard tubular surfaces. The 9-5/8 section was pulled out of hole and followed by a 6-3/4 drill collar section to demonstrate the automatic size adjustment of the inserts blocks. No problems were reported in switching from the 9-5/8 drill collar to the 6-3/4 drill collar without any adjustments to the BHAT. 9.2 Security Once the 6-3/4 drill collar was securely clamped by the BHAT, a pressure test was conducted. All hydraulic connections were removed and the tool was left to sit for 75 minutes. During this period, the clamping force of each cylinder lowered from 39,000 lbs to 35,000 lbs, still well within the expected and safe clamping force. The pressure test was followed by a simulation of a failure of a complete single cylinder by removing all hydraulic pressure from the left upper cylinder on both barrel and rod side. The load cell for this cylinder indicated a 0 lbs clamping force, while the lower clamping cylinder load cell increased to around 60,000 lbs, also as expected. During these tests, the control systems showed the expected results and the feedback signals reported exactly what happened inside the BHAT during these tests. The feedback received from the test rig crew has further helped in improving the operational efficiency and ease of use of the BHAT. Some minor design adjustments have been completed as a result of the feedback. A major positive point is that the crew very quickly adjusted to the notion that there is no longer a need for a safety clamp when running BHA. The crews confidence in the BHAT grew with every drill collar run.

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Picture 7: BHAT location on test rig 10.

Rig Efficiency Resulting in Time and thus Money Saved


Using the BHAT will result in a substantial efficiency gain due to the reduced number of operations required to grip a new piece of BHA. A cost vs. efficiency and payback analysis was performed for using the BHAT on a Chevron dual activity drillship working in the Ultra Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The drillship is capable of racking back 130ft stands of BHA offline in the derrick, so any time savings using the BHAT would only be realized for handing the BHA on critical path and running in the hole. When looking at the time involved for manually handling BHA components versus the use of a BHAT, the following overview can be generated:

Estimated Time Comparison for BHA Tool (BHT) Conventional BHAT Time to set/remove slips 2 Min Open/Close BHAT and Transfer Weight Time to affix/remove safety clamp 8 Min Time to affix/remove safety clamp Time to remove/reinstall bowls 6 Min Total time to rig up/down BHT # Times per BHA to remove/Install bowls to pass # Times per BHA to remove/Install bowls 6 Qty jewelry (10"<OD < 17.1/2") to pass jewelry (10"<OD < 17.1/2") Average BHA (130ft) Stands / Connections 4 Qty Average BHA (130ft) Stands / Connections Total flat time on BHA running 76 Min

2 Min 0 Min 30 Min 0 4 Qty Qty

Total flat time on BHA running 38 Min

Overview 1: Estimated Time Comparison for BHAT

$555,359 $23,140 1.27 $29,311

Operational Estimates Running BHA - Rig Day Rate Only Conventional Utilizing BHAT Day Rate Only $555,359 Day Rate Cost per hour $23,140 Cost per hour hours 0.63 hours Flat Time Cost based on Day Rate Only $14,655 Flat Time Cost based on Day Rate Only $14,655 Difference $29,311 Roundtrip $385,000 BHAT Price

13 Roundtrips needed for Payback


Overview 2: Operational cost comparison and payback time based on Rig Day Rate only

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Operational Estimates Running BHA - Chevron Spread Rate Conventional Utilizing BHAT $1,100,000 2012 Chevron DCL Spread Cost $1,100,000 Spread Cost $45,833 per hour $45,833 per hour $58,056 Flat Time Cost based on Spread Rate $29,028 Flat Time Cost based on Spread Rate $29,028 Difference $58,056 Round Trip $385,000 BHAT Price

7 Roundtrips needed for Payback


Overview 3: Operational cost comparison and payback time based on Spread Rate only

Graph 2: BHAT CAPEX vs. Potential Efficiency Savings

It should be noted the cost vs. efficiency savings analysis presented above can be expanded to cover other offshore and onshore drilling rig types that do not have the capability to rack back BHA stands in the derrick. In this scenario even greater efficiency savings and shorter payback periods can be realized with the BHAT as with these rig types the BHA must be picked up in singles joints and each threaded connection made up on critical path while running in the hole.

11.

Conclusion
The BHAT was designed to remove safety hazards while running BHA, to improve rig efficiency and make a step forward in automating the BHA process on drilling rigs. The design criteria were set at an early stage and the design team has stuck to these criteria, resulting in a tool that performed as intended. Field testing has been conducted to demonstrate the assumptions and expectation that the tool would have in regards to rig safety and efficiency. Based on the actual field testing results, a comparison was made to determine 9

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 the potential savings in rig time when using the BHAT; the savings would suggest that the payback time on a BHAT could be as low as seven round trips on a large offshore drill ship. The potential cost savings do not take in to account the potential savings that result in a reduction in lost time incidents potential when running BHA. The Next step in the process will be to place the BHAT on a drilling installation to further demonstrate the potential on savings this tool has. Plans have been set up for this and will be reported at a later date.

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