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IPTC 11463

Advanced Technology Solutions for Next Generation HPHT Wells

M.L. Payne, BP; P.D. Pattillo II, BP America; and R.A. Miller and C.K. Johnson, Viking Engineering LLC

Copyright 2007, International Petroleum Technology Conference

to pursue future reserves and production. Extreme HPHT
This paper was prepared for presentation at the International Petroleum Technology trends can be seen in the Middle East, Far East, China,
Conference held in Dubai, U.A.E., 4–6 December 2007.
Indonesia, Former Soviet Union, and North American
This paper was selected for presentation by an IPTC Programme Committee following review
of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as
operating regions. Thus, xHPHT technology will enable
presented, have not been reviewed by the International Petroleum Technology Conference development of new hydrocarbon resources on a global basis.
and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not
necessarily reflect any position of the International Petroleum Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Papers presented at IPTC are subject to publication review by Sponsor
Society Committees of IPTC. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this
HPHT Well Classifications
paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the International Petroleum
Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an
abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must Currently, less than 1% of all wells drilled in the USA have
contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write
Librarian, IPTC, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
penetrated below 15,000’. Despite this statistic, deep
reservoirs defined as production below 15,000’ account for
Abstract 7% of domestic production. This speaks to the prolific
production rates and large reserves which accompany
This paper describes research efforts and technology successful exploration and development of these deep
development associated with the next generation of high horizons. The National Petroleum Council projects this share
pressure, high temperature (HPHT) well designs. Sometimes will need to grow to 12 percent by 2010 to ensure that the US
referred to as x-HPHT (extreme HPHT), work has been demand for natural gas is met. Longer term, the deep gas
ongoing for several years looking at the next generation of resource in the US is forecast to be enormous: about 29
HPHT wells for both subsea and shelf/onshore operations. A percent of the Nation’s ultimate potential gas resource is deep
large number of challenges arise when addressing the gas. Under such challenging conditions however, only the
engineering of HPHT wells. This paper will not attempt to most promising deep prospects are economic to drill because
cover all such topics but will focus on some critical of the high risks and costs entailed in deep drilling. The cost of
technology areas which underlie key well design and planning drilling and equipping the average deep gas well (17,400’) is
issues. In depth discussions are specifically provided on about 12 times that of the average Lower 48 onshore gas well
advanced material testing and qualification, heavy load drilled to 6,000’. Industry experience has also shown that with
handling, and high temperature electronics. BP is at the an ultra-deep well, the last 10 percent of the bore hole can
forefront of many of these technologies and is working with account for 50 percent of the well's cost.
industry partners to advance capabilities and assurance in
these areas. Figure 1 shows one classification scheme for HPHT wells. In
this case, HPHT wells are initially identified as having
Introduction bottom-hole pressures above 10 ksi and temperatures above
300° F (~150° C). This HPHT classification would include
The next generation of HPHT wells includes full 15 ksi subsea wells up to 15 ksi and 350° F (~175° C) as shown. Ultra-
wells as well as preliminary engineering for 20 ksi subsea HPHT wells are the next class and involve pressures up to 20
wells. For shelf and onshore applications, the trend of deep ksi and 400° F (200° C). The final class shown is Extreme
drilling for new gas reserves has raised requirements for 20 to HPHT (xHPHT) and involves wells up to 30 ksi and 500° F
25 ksi surface pressures. Several classes of wells constitute the (260° C).
future of xHPHT operations. One class involves deep oil
plays in deepwater operating environments. A second and These classifications are useful in outlining how to
distinct class involves deep gas plays on shelf or onshore differentiate between HPHT well classes. Focus also needs to
environments. There are both common challenges and distinct be given to the operating environment of the well. For
problems between these two classes of xHPHT wells. The example, current subsea equipment is generally limited in
technology challenges associated with combining the ultra- rating to 15 ksi and even within the 15 ksi ratings, a number of
high pressures of deep gas with the deepwater environment are important pieces equipment have not yet been fully field
beyond the foreseeable future at this time. proven in operating conditions up to the 15 ksi working rating.
In the subsea environment therefore, developing drilling,
Despite the various challenges of xHPHT, reserve forecasts completion and production capabilities for a 15+ ksi well will
accompanying these deep horizons are high. The industry is be substantially more complex than developing such capability
thus compelled to address these technical challenges in order for shelf operations where the wellhead and tree will be dry
2 IPTC 11463

and surface accessible. In terms of the well and prospect play in developing future testing approaches for these
portfolio for the industry, deep wells in the deepwater materials. One consideration is the need for materials with
operating areas currently involve HPHT and uHPHT well yield strengths above 110 ksi. An example is the development
classes. The xHPHT well class is currently specific to the of a 125 ksi tubular grade which will have some tolerance for
deep gas plays which are being drilled in shelf and onshore mildly sour environments. Such a 125 ksi grade will not
operating areas [1]. Figure 2 shows some of the industry’s likely pass a full NACE Method A test and hence the
HPHT experience to date along with the targeted operating development and agreement across the industry of a mildly
envelopes for the future deepwater and deep gas HPHT plays. sour test condition are needed. In addition, much of the H2S
testing work is conducted at room temperature. However for
In all well classes, there is little room for error with respect to deepwater applications, test conditions need to cover the low
well designs, drilling procedures, completion methods, temperatures that the materials will experience near the mud
operating strategies, etc. Thus, attention to detail and in-depth line. In the US GOM deepwater for example, mudline
technology studies are pre-requisites for success. In the temperatures remain in the range of 33 – 34° F (~0+° C) and
following sections, some of these key technical areas will be these low temperatures reduce the material resistance to
highlighted. cracking and crack propagation. Thus, work is ongoing to
address the new set of issues created by the factors inherent in
Advanced Material Testing and Qualification the next generation HPHT wells:
ƒ High strength material requirements for pressure
Due to high reservoir pressures and resultant surface containment and load support (i.e. 110 – 125 ksi or
pressures, very low amounts of H2S are needed to bring the higher)
H2S partial pressures above thresholds which require sour ƒ Qualification against conservative tests relative to
service materials. Independent of this issue, HPHT wells field requirements, including low temperature effects,
involve high pressure differentials which must be reliably but not as severe as historical NACE
contained with adequate design margins. In terms of the ƒ High quality manufacturing and verification of
impact on tubular designs, this results in thick wall designs metallurgical properties and material performance
with low D/t ratios. When combined with the sour service with heavy-wall, low D/t ratio products
considerations, the requirement is generated for high-strength, ƒ Development of engineered premium connection
thick-walled, sour-service tubulars. This product requirement with assured gas sealing capability for these
is a critical enabling element for HPHT well design and the specialized tubular products.
challenges associated with it are at the limits of the current
state of the art in the technology. Work has also been conducted on the influence of stress state
on material performance. Stress state is used to describe the
Currently, there are a number of select mills which have been full combination of stresses and not just a uniaxial stress. The
qualified by BP for the manufacturing of sour-service, 110 ksi basis for this work is that the NACE Method A tensile test
production tubulars. This C-110 grade, as it is now known, loads the specimens with a pure axial load as seen in the load
requires careful control of chemistry and heat treating. In frame shown in Figure 3. This stress condition does not
many cases, the manufacturers are only able to provide the reflect the triaxial stress state that is present in downhole
product using a double quench and temper manufacturing tubulars when they are loaded with internal and/or external
method. The qualified manufacturers are able to reliably pressure profiles. Furthermore, axial stress is not the critical
produce C-110 products including into the D/t range below 14 stress with regard to internal pressure containment, i.e. the
with pipe wall thickness up to 1.500”. Normally, these C-110 circumferential or hoop stress.
products are required to pass full NACE Method A tensile
based H2S tests. Within BP, NACE Method D DCB To address these limitations of the standard NACE A test, BP
requirements are also applied on critical projects. Although has been working with multi-axial test specimens that allow
qualified manufacturers can reliably produce C-110 products the loading of material specimens independently with pressure
against such standards, there is little room for error. Any and axial load. This concept was developed as a result of
deviation from established procedures with regard to evaluating these new HPHT material qualification
manufacturing or testing can produce periodic NACE test requirements [2]. As shown in Figure 4, the multi-axial test
failures. In such cases, product disposition must be resolved specimens are machined from heavy wall sour-service tubes.
through a combination of test analysis, retests, re-heat treating The specimens have threaded end fixtures and are loaded in
and in some cases, material reclassification. purpose-built test frames which allow the specimen to be
exposed internally and externally with controlled H2S
As a result of these observations with C-110 and after solutions. Figure 5 shows a photo of an actual mini-pipe load
consideration of the conservative basis on which some of the frame along with a failed specimen.
NACE tests are based, the industry is currently pursuing the
development of more field specific H2S qualification methods. Figure 6 shows examples of HPHT well design challenges for
These methods involve testing conditions less severe than a number of well types. As shown, tight clearances must be
NACE but still conservative relative to specific field managed in order to develop a robust well design that provides
requirements. Additional considerations have also come into adequate protective strings to to top reservoir. Then, in order
to complete the well with tubulars capable of withstanding
IPTC 11463 3

production loads, the technology described above must be required to ensure that the mitigation is effective for all
successfully addressed to provide high-strength, thick-walled, permutations of open and sealed annuli, with and without fluid
sour service products. This challenge is one of the major degradation. Additional work is anticipated to address the
hurdles associated with establishing a rigorous basis of design limitations noted above and to provide mitigation in future
that will provide appropriate pressure containment capability uHPHT wells.
for an xHPHT well. Other major design challenges associated
with HPHT well designs include annular pressure buildup ILA comes into play in the vicinity of a subsea wellhead.
(APB) and integrated load analysis (ILA). Classical wellhead growth studies recognize the differing
growth tendencies of the various casings due to the thermal
Annular Pressure Buildup gradient from the tubing outward and the boundary conditions
imposed by formation and cement. The individual strings are
Characterization of the potential for APB was addressed in the coupled at the wellhead, resulting in a redistribution of axial
early 1990s [3-5], however the magnitude of the cost of failure forces. ILA extends this problem by recognizing the
was not fully appreciated until the Marlin incident occurred complexity of casing-to-formation interaction. There is no
[6,7]. A tremendous effort ensued to develop and implement point of “fixity”. Rather, the formation stress-strain response
mitigation techniques to prevent APB from occurring or to varies with temperature and depth. Soil springs are used to
relieve the building pressure [8-10]. Design, testing, and field distribute reaction forces along the casing axis. The formation
experience has demonstrated that the APB challenge does not itself is subject to thermal heave as the well heats.
have a universal solution. Mitigations and associated Additionally, APB loads alter the pressure-area forces acting
considerations include: at the wellhead. A full ILA treatment of wellhead growth is
ƒ Nitrified foam spacers are more compressible than crucial in identifying the full forces applied against lockdown
drilling mud and reduce the overall APB. However, devices. It also addresses the boundary conditions for fatigue
the spacers are less compressible at very high loading on structural pipe. A more complete treatment of
pressures, and there are placement concerns with wellhead growth will be addressed in a forthcoming technical
partial returns and with gas migration. paper.
ƒ Engineered rupture disks vent APB prior to pressures
exceeding casing collapse ratings. The disks create a Heavy Load Handling
vent path in outer casings in order to ensure they
mitigate inner strings. Figure 7 shows an industrial As HPHT drilling extends into deeper water offshore and to
rupture disk used in this manner. deeper horizons both onshore and offshore, the loads placed
ƒ Syntactic foam modules are designed to crush at a upon tubulars are increasing. Of particular concern are the
specified pressure and temperature, creating landing strings used to run the casing strings, tiebacks, and
additional volume for fluid expansion. Adequate liners necessary for deep-water operations. Typical weights
annular clearances are needed and special attention for these strings commonly exceed one million pounds, and
while running is required. Figure 8 shows syntactic the need for systems that can handle strings approaching two
foam being run on production casing in a deepwater million pounds is on the horizon. With the severe, biaxial state
HPHT well. of stress induced in the landing string by its own weight and
ƒ Vacuum insulated tubing (VIT) lowers APB by by the radial compression of the slips, the pipe begins to yield,
limiting heat transfer. VIT tubes can be expensive and the resulting large deformations can render the pipe
and in limited supply, and cold-worked corrosion unusable. More importantly, if yielding progresses throughout
resistant alloy (CRA) materials are incompatible with the thickness of the pipe wall, or if the deformation is so
the welding process. severe that the slips cease to function properly, catastrophic
ƒ Insulating packer fluids reduce heat transfer by failure can occur, posing significant danger to rig personnel
preventing convection in the annulus, thereby and resulting in the losses of casings and possibly the well.
lowering APB. However, fluids have not been
developed for temperatures beyond 250 to 270° F The so-called “slip-crushing load” is therefore a key operating
(~120 to 132° C). parameter, and slip-crushing mechanics must be clearly
ƒ An ROV drilled hole through casings below the high understood. For several decades, the foundational work of
pressure wellhead has been used to vent outer annuli Reinhold and Spiri has served as the de facto means of
to the mudline. However, this technique has had calculating the slip-crushing load [11,12]. Recent
limited application and cannot reach all trapped experimental evidence demonstrates, however, that the
annuli. Reinhold–Spiri formula does not fully account for the
ƒ Special fluids have been proposed which will complexity of the actual pipe behavior under the loads and
chemically react downhole, reducing the annulus stresses induced by the slips [13,14]. Figure 9 shows a load
fluid volume. This technique has not been used in an diagram which illustrates the mechanical behaviors which
actual well, and placement concerns have been must be understood to quantify slip performance and induced
expressed. stresses. As a result of such complexity, qualification of
landing-string operations for critical wells has required
Current deepwater well incorporate one or more of the above experimental testing in order to establish an appropriate level
mitigation methods. A comprehensive design effort is of safety for the slip-crushing limit.
4 IPTC 11463

In 2004, an independent operator suffered a catastrophic slip markedly elevated relative to the range in other
crushing failure which resulted in a dropped casing string in locations.
US deepwater operations. In that case, drilling was ongoing in ƒ Although the loads that initiate yielding on the inside
Green Canyon 242 and 22” surface casing was being run with surface of the tubular are lower than the Reinhold-
6-5/8” drill pipe as the landing string. The string had a net Spiri formula, these loads do not constitute “failure”
weight inclusive of 6-5/8” drill pipe of about ~660 kips just of the tubulars. The yielding is often limited to areas
prior to the failure. The failure involved slip crushing failure near the gap between insert carriers, and the stiffness
of the 6-5/8” drill pipe which consequently resulted in of the entire system (both slip system and tubular) is
dropping of the 22” surface casing. This incident was viewed sufficient to prevent progression of yielding through
as a serious failure and as a result a full investigation was the tubular wall.
conducted by the US MMS [15]. Figure 10 shows a photo of ƒ The stress state of the tubular when the slips are set
the failed field joint along with the result of a slip crushing test can differ between the laboratory and the field. When
that was performed during the investigation. Without a conventional load frame is employed in an
repeating the detailed conclusions of that investigation, it is experiment to load the tubular in the slips, the slips
sufficient to state that the technology associated with assuring are set around a stress-free tubular which is then
the ability to safely handle heavy loads is critical to HPHT pulled by the load frame via the platen at its base. In
operations. In addition to this 2004 failure, BP has also had a the field, the weight of the tubular string induces high
small number of incidents and ‘near misses’ with handling axial stresses in the tubular before the slips are set.
equipment for heavy tubular loads. In one case, failure of the Once the slips are placed in the bowl, the weight of
casing handling equipment was catastrophic resulting in the the tubular is slacked off until the section of the
dropping of approximately 1 million lbs. of 13-5/8” casing tubular above the slips has unloaded. The differences
into a deepwater well. Fortunately, recovery from this failure between the stress states of the tubular during the
was fairly efficient, and drilling was able to resume on the slip-setting process could lead to discrepancies when
well including subsequent operations through the dropped experimental results are applied directly to field-
casing. As a result of such events, BP has focused loading scenarios.
considerable effort in advancing the technology and assurance ƒ Recent advances in experimental methods have
capabilities around heavy load handling. increased the extent and quality of data generated
from testing slip-loaded tubulars. Past practices of
Various testing programs have been conducted to examine the passing varying sizes of drifts through the tubulars
behavior of slip-loaded tubulars. Many of these tests involve only provided a crude indication of the amount of
advanced strain-gauging techniques, where the strain levels in deformation induced by the slips. By placing a grid
the tubular at various orientations and loads can be examined of strain gauges on the inner diameter of the tubular,
to assemble an accurate picture of the severity of the stresses a more detailed picture of the degree and shape of the
and deformations induced in slip-loaded tubulars. Figure 11 deformation is obtained. Also, by placing strain
shows a slip based spider just prior to a testing procedure. gauges opposite specific features of the slip system
These experimental programs have unveiled many notable (load rings, gaps between insert columns), the impact
conclusions, including the following: of these design features upon the tubular can be
ƒ Results from strain-gauge testing have confirmed that studied in more detail.
the slip loading of tubulars is a complex phenomenon ƒ Tests with a solid mandrel may provide some
that induces complicated deformations in the tubular information as to the integrity of the slip system;
not envisioned by the pioneering work of Reinhold however, since a solid mandrel reacts more rigidly to
and Spiri. slip loads than a hollow tubular, this method is not
ƒ Initial yielding occurs on the inner surface of the pipe appropriate to examine the stresses that the slip
at loads lower than those predicted by the Reinhold– system would impart to an oilfield tubular.
Spiri formula [14]. ƒ Examinations of tubulars exposed to high loads in
ƒ Through-wall yielding of the pipe occurs near the toe slip systems show that the shape of tubular cross-
of the slips in the gaps between slip inserts at loads sections near the toe of the slips can be plastically
comparable to (and sometimes below) the Reinhold– deformed. These plastic deformations are detectable
Spiri prediction. with advanced techniques involving a coordinate-
ƒ The locus of maximum strain does not always measuring machine (CMM). As an example, some
coincide with Reinhold and Spiri’s prognosis that the slip systems impart a triangular-shaped deformation
maximum strains should occur on a ring around the to the cross-section of highly loaded tubulars. Such
inner circumference of the pipe near the toe of the shapes raise concerns that repeated loading of the
slips. Strain-gauge data shows that the maximum tubular may accumulate fatigue damage as the
strains can occur on a line parallel to the longitudinal tubular is removed from the slips and reinserted at
axis of the pipe, positioned in the middle of the different orientations with respect to the slip inserts.
largest gap between insert carriers. Figure 12 shows
an example test result where the maximum stresses In an addition to the slip-crushing phenomenon, research has
did occur in the gap between slips and they are been conducted into the integrity of the tubular handling
systems themselves. Several recent failures during deepwater
IPTC 11463 5

operations have spurred investigation into the methodology the context of assurance for critical service slip design and
behind slip-system design and manufacture. Several manufacturing.
contributing factors to these failures have been discovered,
including the following: Currently, API is actively reviewing these requirements as a
ƒ Slip-loaded tubulars experience loads in the field that result of recent industry events, and BP is active in
are typically not considered during design- participating and advancing this standards enhancement work.
verification testing. Such conditions as pipe offset It is recommended that other operators who will be involved
and dynamic loading can increase stresses in the in heavy load handling on critical HPHT wells become
tubular handling system considerably. familiar with these issues associated with the design,
ƒ Due to the difficulty in modeling teeth-pipe qualification and assurance of handling systems. It should
interaction and friction factors in slip bowls, the also be noted that there are now slipless-based alternatives for
current state of finite-element methods are unable to heavy load handling [16]. These are proprietary and can carry
predict stresses accurately. These methods must be a significant cost impact but may be warranted in some cases.
improved to increase the usefulness of computational Advanced material qualification and the ability to safely
investigation. manage heavy loads are two critical elements for getting a
ƒ Due to the absence of Charpy impact requirements in viable well design established for HPHT prospects. Beyond
slip-based systems that reside in or on the rotary well design considerations, HPHT wells also offer substantial
table, many components have a low resistance to challenges relative to the durations required for drilling.
crack propagation and fatigue cracking.
ƒ Traceability on slip system components is poor, with Relative to the drilling efficiency for xHPHT wells, major
many components lacking serial numbers altogether. challenges are created by the high temperature aspect. The
temperature requirements create a challenging problem not
In order to address the reliability and assurance problems just for production conditions but more immediate barriers in
associated with handling equipment for heavy loads, BP has terms of getting the wells drilled efficiently. Of specific
conducted both in-depth analysis of industry events and also a concern are the implications of limits on HT MWD/LWD
study on the state of industry requirements for this equipment. tools and the resulting impact on drilling efficiency.
These industry requirements are primarily defined in API and
ISO standards. Before proceeding, the definitions used by High Temperature MWD/LWD Technology
API for rotary slips and spiders deserve clarification. For the
purposes of distinction within the API, spiders are pipe- Electronics are widely used in modern oil and gas exploration,
handling systems that sit atop the rotary table and may or may drilling, and production. Data collected include azimuth and
not be used as hoisting equipment, while “slips” is a term that inclination, weight-on-bit, vibration levels, temperature,
generally refers to the pipe-gripping mechanism used in pressure, and radiation and resistivity of the lithology. These
conjunction with a tapered bowl in the rotary table. In more data help operators assess drilling progress, the condition of
general terms, slips are wedge-shaped components that fit the BHA/bit, and the strata and fluids that are encountered.
within the tapered bowl of spiders, elevators, or the rotary The single biggest obstacle for electronic data acquisition
table itself. systems in deep wells is the high temperature encountered at
As a rule of thumb, it is useful to think of spiders as “stand-
alone” equipment that possesses their own bodies, whereas Offshore Magazine publishes an annual directory of all known
slips depend upon other equipment, e.g., the rotary bushing, to MWD/LWD tools. The 2006 review looked at a total of 239
provide circumferential support. API Specification 7K (ISO different MWD tools from 12 different vendors. Because
14693) covers, among other equipment, slips and spiders not mainstream commercial electronic components are not rated
intended for use as elevators or other hoisting equipment. for temperatures in excess of 150° C (302° F), manufacturers
Spiders capable of being used as elevators (a.k.a., must “screen” parts to obtain performance higher than 150° C
“elevator/spiders”) fall under the scope of API Specification (302° F). Screening is the process of taking lower rated parts
8C (ISO 13535), the standard that covers hoisting equipment. and testing for higher temperature capability. This process is
The requirements for elevator/spiders in API 8C and (non- expensive and can generate reliability problems. The results of
hoisting) spiders in API 7K are nearly identical, except for this review indicate that most MWD tools are still rated at
slightly higher impact values required by API 8C in the low- 150° C (302° F) maximum operating temperature. Of the 239
temperature regime. tools documented, only 23 were rated for 175° C (347° F) or
greater. The majority of the market is rated to 150° C (302° F)
Regarding API 7K, it should be stressed that the current as of mid-2006, with High Temperature product lines
requirements placed upon slips are not extremely stringent. available from a number of vendors to ~175° C (~350° F).
According to Section 9.4 of API 7K, slips are exempt from the Figure 13 shows a summary of commercially available
requirements of impact testing, traceability, volumetric NDE, MWD/LWD systems.
and NDE of welds. More importantly, Section 9.4 does not
require load rating for slips, which means that neither design Unless HT MWD/LWD tools are developed, the lower
verification testing nor proof load testing is required. sections of these xHPHT wells will be drilled without real-
Consequently, the API 7K monogram carries limited impact in time information on well location, lithology and drilling
6 IPTC 11463

mechanics. Drilling in this mode is a major step back to a applications. This project also has developed high temperature
much less rigorous drilling process. That reduced set of components for downhole data acquisition and control. These
capabilities raises potential for risks around well control, include a precision amplifier, a field-programmable gate array
wellbore stability, well placement and BHA integrity. In (FPGA), a high-resolution Analog-to-Digital converter (ADC)
addition to these risks for problematic events, the ability to and a non-volatile memory (EEPROM). A combination of
optimize drilling parameters in terms of improving ROP is design practices and process optimization is applied to
substantially limited by the lack of downhole data such as develop these SOI CMOS components capable of reliable
DWOB, DTOB, and vibrations. These drilling efficiency operation over extremely wide temperature ranges.
issues coupled with the need to have real-time lithology and
pore pressure information create a high value for HT- High temperature electro-migration (E-M) considerations are
MWD/LWD. Nevertheless, the market for HT-MWD/LWD is addressed by management of current density in on-chip
currently small and service companies are hesitant to invest conductors, either through de-rating of operating frequency or
heavily in this new capability until they see more exploration through high temperature optimized interconnect layout.
success and larger development programs underway. Temperature-compensated biasing techniques for analog
circuits are employed to maintain gain and bandwidth over an
DOE Deep Trek Program extremely wide temperature range. Design toolkits have been
updated and applied for high temperature applications. These
In an effort to assist the development of key technologies for include development of models and timing libraries applicable
deep drilling, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has funded from -55° C to 250° C (-67° F – 482° F). Laser-trimming and
numerous projects related to the development of deep high temperature wafer probing can be combined to adjust
reservoirs through their Deep Trek program. DOE initiated voltage reference temperature coefficients or for tailoring
the Deep Trek program in March 2001 with an industry other temperature-dependent circuit performance.
workshop to accelerate planning for advances in deep drilling
technologies. Deep Trek is managed by the DOE’s Strategic In July 2007, the Honeywell Deep Trek JIP was completed
Center for Natural Gas which is part of the National Energy [17-20]. Through the JIP, a number of key high temperature
Technology Laboratory (NETL). The stated goals of the components were developed using the high temperature design
program are: “…to develop technologies that lower the cost and wafer process. These components include:
and improve the efficiency of drilling and completing deep
wells. New tools and technologies that help operators safely ƒ High Temperature Dual Precision Amplifier: The
drill faster, deeper, cheaper, and cleaner will help ensure an high temperature dual precision amplifier has been
adequate supply of clean-burning natural gas for the nation”. fully verified at 225° C (437° F) with additional
The Program incorporates three phases: (1) feasibility and testing up to 375° C (700° F).
concept definition, (2) prototype development or research,
development and testing, and (3) field/system demonstration ƒ High Temperature FPGA: The Field Programmable
and commercialization. Gate Array (FPGA) was developed as a licensed
functional equivalent to a commercial FPGA, the
To date, the DOE has awarded 21 Deep Trek projects totaling Atmel AT6010. It is a re-programmable, SRAM-
over $45 million. Many of these projects have focused on based FPGA that provides up to 32,000 logic gates
developing systems needed for the development of USA deep and 204 I/O. It has been fully verified by wafer-probe
gas. These efforts are targeted to enable the recovery of an testing at 200° C (392° F). The design includes over
additional estimated 100 TCF of natural gas through year 3 million transistors. Leakage current at 200° C is
2020. under 0.5mA.

Honeywell Joint Industry Deep Trek Project ƒ High Temperature ADC: The high temperature ADC
targets 18-bit resolution at 100 samples per second. It
In September 2003, Deep Trek awarded Honeywell and its JIP uses a second-order sigma-delta modulator with
partners a project to develop HT electronic components. 204.8 KHz sampling clock. Digital filtering and
Original project participants included: Schlumberger, Baker control logic was synthesized and implemented using
Hughes, Halliburton, Quartzdyne, Goodrich Aerospace, a high temperature gate array design process. Test
Intelliserve (now part of Grant Prideco) and BP. BP was the results include 17.4 bits of resolution at 225° C (437°
only oil and gas operating company which supported this JIP F). The ADC on-chip voltage reference has been
and it gained valuable insights and competitive advantage tested up to 275° C (527° F).
through that process. Components have been developed using
silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology for use up to 225° C ƒ High Temperature EEPROM: The high temperature
(437° F). However, the technology requires a high degree of non-volatile memory (EERPOM – Electrically
expertise and is expensive, thus product development has Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) uses a
advanced slowly. single-poly floating gate memory cell that is
programmed and erased via Fowler-Nordheim
Under this program, an SOI wafer process, along with design tunneling. This approach required no additional
and simulation tools, has been developed for high temperature process steps. A 4K x 8 bit demonstration memory
IPTC 11463 7

has been fabricated and verified for operation up to bit control system electronics. In this project, the goal
250° C (482° F). A 32K x 8 design that can be is to produce a regulated, switched-mode power
operated in both parallel and serial mode is in supply that can operate at 275° C (527° F). This
progress. entails a buck converter based on silicon carbide
power transistors, a voltage regulator integrated
Figure 14 shows these major products deliverables from the circuit and special high-temperature packaging.
Honeywell Deep Trek program. ƒ GE Global Research: While SOI technology has been
demonstrated at temperatures up to 440° F (227° C)
Additional HT Projects by DOE / NETL advances in electronics packaging and associated
materials are needed to enable these electrical
Building on the success of the Honeywell Deep Trek JIP, components to survive such great temperatures while
additional HT components have been targeted for still being able to withstand the vibrations
development by the DOE. Recently, NETL announced 7 new encountered downhole. GE proposes to develop a
2006 projects to be funded by DOE, all of which are HT flexible, polyimide-based packaging that tests three
related. These projects are summarized below with additional different approaches to interconnect the electronics.
information provided in Figure 15: ƒ Drill Cool Systems Inc.: The objective of this project
is to extend the insulated drill pipe (IDP) technology
ƒ Giner Inc: This project entails developing an all- already demonstrated in geothermal drilling to high
solid, high-voltage electrochemical-electrolytic temperature, high pressure deep gas drilling. IDP
capacitor for operation at temperatures exceeding delivers drilling fluid to the bottom of a wellbore at a
204° C (400° F). This tiny device, which helps level much lower temperature than conventional drill pipe
and transfer power loads, would be installed on can, potentially protecting downhole equipment
circuit boards in sophisticated electronics needed for vulnerable to high temperatures.
downhole tool operation and measurement.
ƒ Hamilton Sundstrand: This project will extend work Although the Honeywell Deep Trek JIP was a very successful
from the aerospace industry to develop HT metallized collaboration of industry partners, and although the above
fluorene polyester (FPE) capacitors for the deep- projects will also hopefully succeed, more advances are still
drilling industry that, while proven durable and needed to enable future HT MWD/LWD systems. Beyond JIP
reliable, pose manufacturing challenges. This efforts within the oil and gas industry, major advances in HT
proposal outlines experiments involving four electronic capabilities are going to require collaborations
production-sized batches of FPE capacitors to across industries. Specifically, the energy industry will
determine optimized production processes with the require collaboration with military, aerospace, automotive
goal of developing commercially available, reliable industries in order to realize major advances in HT electronic
and affordable capacitors rated to 250° C (482° F) by technology. This cross-industry interaction is an area where
year 2010. the SAE can play a major role.
ƒ Electrochemical Systems Inc.: This project involves
developing a high-temperature rechargeable battery Cross-Industry Collaboration via Society of Automotive
cell to power electronics in wells where temperatures Engineers (SAE)
could reach 250° C (482° F). This capability will
have a big impact on the deep drilling industry SAE has been involved with aviation since 1916. In that year,
because it will enable many more downhole functions several government agencies recognized the need to address
for deep oil/gas drilling up to 250° C (482° F). One aeronautical issues and standards. Rather than create a new
currently limiting factor from the highest rated organization, they elected to use the existing SAE organization
oilfield compatible battery constrains battery and the charter of SAE was expanded to include aerospace and
functions below 392° F (200° C). the American Society of Aeronautical Engineers merged with
ƒ Honeywell International: Honeywell proposes to SAE. SAE is now the world’s largest program for aerospace
extend its silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process, standards, having created over 6,600 documents and 1,500
demonstrated on other electronic components it military specifications.
developed under the DOE Deep Trek program
described above, to develop a reconfigurable In October 2005, Sandia National Labs, along with the US Air
processor for data acquisition (RPDA). The RPDA Force Research Lab and the SAE Aerospace Electric Power
would combine, in a rugged ceramic package, SOI and Equipment Committee, conducted a High Temperature
circuitry together with a field-programmable gate Electronics Workshop at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Ft.
array and non-volatile memory chip. The whole Worth, Texas. This workshop was a combined government
module would be tailored to the physical constraints and cross-industry meeting to provide a technical interchange
of downhole measurement-while-drilling (MWD) for identifying commonalities of HT component design. The
and production monitoring applications. overriding intent of the meeting was to demonstrate the need
ƒ Oklahoma State University: An extremely for and to facilitate the advancement of high temperature
temperature-efficient, regulated power supply is a technology and capability.
crucial component of any well logging, MWD or drill
8 IPTC 11463

It should be noted that the oil and gas industry is as far ahead 3. Advanced techniques to qualify high-strength, sour
of the HT requirements curve as any other industry. Only the service tolerance materials are being developed using
military, specifically the Air Force, has as high an interest in new approaches for testing material performance.
HT development. In opening remarks, the USAF discussed the These new approaches are addressing more focused
development of the F-35 and the Air Force More Electric environmental characterization of the specific
Aircraft (MEA) program [21,22]. This program is intended to applications by accounting for effects such as low
replace existing non-electric parts with electric, such as temperature exposure and more realistic corrosive
hydraulic components, flight controllers, starters and brakes to conditions.
name a few. This will require an increase in power
management for new aircraft. USAF has stated that near term 4. Even with tubular design optimization and the use of
goals are 250 – 300° C (482 – 572° F) rated components while high-strength steels, the next generation of HPHT
longer term 300 – 350° C (572 – 662° F) rated components. wells will involve thicker walled tubulars and
Future development will include optically controlled HT consequently heavier strings than in the past. These
devices for controlled power electronics such as triggering heavy tubulars raise challenges associated with high
switches. Per the above objectives, one of the stated goals was load handling and assurance on subject equipment.
to collect information as to industry HT requirements. An Recent industry incidents have exposed areas for
initial survey was conducted with primary findings: needed improvement in the engineering, qualification
ƒ Drilling industry market for HT devices is small. and assurance on these operations. BP will continue
This market may only involve a few hundred to a few to work to enhance the pertinent industry
thousand parts per year. specifications through collaborative efforts within the
ƒ The aerospace market volume is 10 to 100 times that API and ISO standardization organizations.
of the drilling industry.
ƒ Most requirements were from 150 – 300° C (302 – 5. High temperature MWD and LWD systems will be
572° F) with a few being up to +300° C (572° F). an enabling technology particularly for the
ƒ Drilling industry not as concerned with reliability as development drilling programs that will follow
aerospace, since the consequences of failure are successful exploration in the deep gas regime.
substantially different between these environments. Currently technology limits in this area are
ƒ Automotive responses indicated the development of substantial and include fundamental physical limits
all products would be long term, meaning the HT on critical components like electronics, ICs, batteries,
applications in the automotive applications are more capacitors and other systems.
discretionary and less mandatory than those for the
drilling and aerospace industries. 6. Longer term research and development efforts are
required for the resolution of the high temperature
BP will remain active in supporting HT electronics technology limits impacting current drilling systems. Joint
and in looking for opportunities to advance this key research efforts in which government, industry,
technology for future benefits in HPHT drilling, completion academia and other parties can collaborate have been
and production operations. Even with such focus and with the and will continue to be critical in advancing these HT
strong interest from a number of industries, time will be technologies.
needed to allow the research, development and engineering
efforts required to bring the next generation of HPHT MWD 7. Ultimately, joint efforts across industries will be
and LWD tools to the industry. needed to leverage demand for specific HT
components into the commercial pull to incentivize
Conclusions the necessary investment in R&D programs to
address all the salient building blocks for future
1. The industry trend into deeper drilling has produced a drilling systems such as HPHT MWD, LWD,
significant number of HPHT technology challenges. wireline tools, and rotary steerable systems. BP will
This trend is being led by operations in the mature continue to look for opportunities to support and
US GOM region and it foretells what will happen in facilitate these collaborative efforts in order to ensure
the future in other basins and operating regions the needed technologies for the future can be
globally, i.e. deeper drilling will be a fundamental delivered.
aspect of the energy industry for many years to come.
2. Within the HPHT technology area, there are currently
at least two distinct classes of wells which are being The authors would like to thank BP management for
addressed. These are deep oil/gas plays in deepwater permission to prepare and present this paper. The authors
and the ultra-deep gas wells on shelf/onshore areas. would like to thank all the members of BP’s xHPHT
There are both common and distinct challenges Technology Team for the work reflected in this paper and for
associated with these two HPHT well types. additional work in advancing areas of HPHT technology not
yet published.
IPTC 11463 9

Nomenclature 6. Bradford, D.W., D.G. Fritchie, Jr., D.H. Gibson,

S.W. Gosch, P.D. Pattillo, J.W. Sharp, and C.E.
ADC Analog to Digital Converter Taylor, “Marlin Failure Analysis and Redesign;
API American Petroleum Institute Part 1, Description of Failure,” SPE 74528
BHA Bottom-Hole Assembly presented at the 2002 IADC/SPE Drilling
CMM Coordinate Measurement Machine Conference, Dallas, February 26-28.
CMOS Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
DCB Double Cantilever Beam 7. Ellis, R. C., D.G. Fritchie, Jr., D.H. Gibson, S.W.
DOE US Department of Energy Gosch, and P.D. Pattillo, “Marlin Failure Analysis
D/t Pipe OD by thickness ratio and Redesign; Part 2, Redesign,” paper SPE 74529
EEPROM - Electrically Erasable Programmable ROM presented at the 2002 IADC/SPE Drilling
FPGA Field Programmable Gate Array Conference, Dallas, February 26-28.
FSU Former Soviet Union
GOM US Gulf of Mexico 8. Payne, M. L., Pattillo, P. D., Sathuvalli, U. B., Miller,
HPHT High Pressure High Temperature R. A., and Livesay, R.: "Advanced Topics for
ISO International Standards Organization Critical Service Deepwater Well Design,"
JIP Joint Industry Project presented at 2003 Deep Offshore Technology (DOT),
Kip 1,000 lbs. Marseille, France, November 19-21.
ksi 1,000 psi
LWD Logging While Drilling 9. Vargo, R., Payne, M., Faul, R., LeBlanc, J. and
MMS US Minerals Management Service Griffith, J., , “Practical and Successful Prevention
MWD Measurement While Drilling of Annular Pressure Buildup on the Marlin
NDE Non-Destructive Examination Project,” SPE Paper No. 77473, Presented at the SPE
NETL US National Energy Technology Lab Fall Conference, Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2002, San
SAE Society of Automotive Engineers Antonio, Texas.
SOI Silicon on Insulator
SRAM Static Random Access Memory 10. Azzola, J.H., D.P. Tselepidakis, P.D. Pattillo, J.F.
uHPHT Ultra HPHT Richey, S.J. Tinker, R.A. Miller, and S.J. Segreto,
USAF US Air Force “Application of Vacuum-Insulated Tubing to
xHPHT Extreme HPHT Mitigate Annular Pressure Buildup,” SPE Drilling
& Completion, March 2007.
1. Deepwater Activity in the US Gulf of Mexico 11. Spiri, S. H. and W. B. Reinhold, “Why does drill
Continues to Drive Innovation and Technology, pipe fail in the slip area,” World Oil, October 1959.
M. L. Payne, Touch Briefings 2007, pp. 56 – 58,
March 2007. 12. Vreeland, T., “Deformation of Drill Pipe Held in
Rotary Slips”, ASME Paper 61-PET-20, Petroleum
2. Cernocky, P., Miglin, B, and Rhodes, P, “Results of Mechanical Engineering Conference, Kansas City,
Combined Axial Tension / Compression and Missouri, September 24 – 27, 1961.
Internal Pressure Testing of Mini-Pipe Specimens
in H2S Environment: Discoveries of Material 13. Payne, M. L., Pattillo, P. D., Driscoll, P. M., and
Response to Triaxial Stress with Non-Uniform Sathuvalli, U. B., “Experimental Investigation of
Exposure to H2S”, Paper 06130, 61st Annual NACE Drillpipe Loaded in Slips”,WTC2005-63324,
Conference and Exposition, Corrosion 2006. Proceedings of the World Tribology Congress,
September 12 – 16, 2005, Washington, D. C.
3. MacEachran, A. and Adams, A.J., “Impact on
Casing Design of Thermal Expansion of Fluids in 14. SPE/IADC 105628, Premature Yielding Identified
Confined Annuli” SPE/IADC 21911 presented at In First Comprehensive 2,000,000 lb. Deep-Water
the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference Amsterdam, Landing String Test Program, Dale W. Bradford,
February 2-4, 1991. BHP Billiton; Michael L. Payne, BP America;
Donald E. Schultz, Nexen, Burt A. Adams, Oil &
4. Halal, A. S. and Mitchell, R. F., “Casing Design for Gas Rental Services; Kurt D. Vandervort, Mohr
Trapped Annulus Pressure Buildup,” SPE Drilling Engineering, paper prepared for the 2007 SPE/IADC
& Completion, June 1994. Drilling Conference held inAmsterdam, The
Netherlands, 20–22 February 2007.
5. Oudeman, P. and Bacarreza, L.J., “Field Trial
Results of Annular Pressure Behavior in a High- 15. Woltman, G., Fowler, R., Mosely, F., and
Pressure/High-Temperature Well” SPE Drilling & Nedorostek, D. OCS Report, MMS 2005-027,
Completion, June 1995. “Investigation of Equipment Failure Green
Canyon Block 242, Well No. 1 OCS-G 21788,
10 IPTC 11463

September 5, 2004”, Minerals Management Service, 19. Ohme, B., Larson, M. R., and Erickson, S. R., “High
US Department of the Interior, Gulf of Mexico OCS Temperature Precision Amplifier”, International
Regional Office, New Orleans, April 2005. Conference on High Temperature Electronics
(HITEN), September 2006.
16. Simpson, B., Payne, M., Jellison, M. and Adams, B.,
“2,000,000 lb. landing string developments: Novel 20. Ohme, Bruce, Johnson, Bill, and Larson, Mark,
slipless technology extends the deepwater Honeywell Aerospace, Defense and Space Division,
operating envelope,” IADC/SPE 87186 paper “SOI CMOS for Extreme Temperature
presented at the 2004 IADC/SPE Drilling Applications”, GOMAC 21-2. Government
Conference, Dallas, TX. Microcircuit Applications and Critical Technology
Conference, March 17 – 20, 2008, Las Vegas,
17. Rogers, J. D, Ohme, B., and Normann, R. A., “New Nevada.
Paradigm in Electronics Needed to Take the Heat
of Deep Gas Drilling”, The American Oil & Gas 21. Weimer, J. A., “High Temperature Power
Reported, November 2005. Electronics for Future Aircraft”, IMAPS
International Conference on High Temperature
18. Ohme, B., Larson, M. R., Erickson, S. R., Riekels, J., Electronics (HITEC), May 2006.
Schlesinger, S., Vignarajah, K., and Ericson, M. N.,
“Progress Update on Honeywell’s Deep Trek High 22. Mehdi, I., Brockschmidt, A. E., Karimi, K. J., “A
Temperature Electronics Project”, IMAPS Case for High Temperature Electronics for
International Congerence on High Temperature Aerospace”, IMAPS International Conference on
Electronics (HITEC), May 2006. High Temperature Electronics (HITEC), May 2006.


Fig. 1 HPHT classification scheme defined by reservoir temperature/pressure (Courtesy Baker).

IPTC 11463 11

Fig. 2 Industry HPHT experience and future envelopes for deepwater and deep gas (courtesy Baker).

Fig. 3 Schematic of test specimen and environmental chamber used Fig. 4 Schematic diagram of mini-pipe frame loaded in tension.
in Method A (from NACE TM0177).
12 IPTC 11463

Fig. 5 Test frame, untested specimen with strain gages, and a tested specimen showing longitudinal cracking.

Deepwater Well Deepwater HPHT Well

4-1/2” 10ksi SCSSV 4-1/2” 15ksi SCSSV
9-5/8” 53.50 Production 10-3/4” 85.30 Production Casing
Casing 1,280 kips air weight @
535 kips air weight @15,000’ 20,000’
13-5/8” 88.20 Intermediate 13-5/8” 88.20 Intermediate

Deepwater uHPHT Well Deepwater uHPHT Well

4-1/2” 20ksi SCSSV concept 4-1/2” 20ksi SCSSV concept
lower yield strength materials higher yield strength materials
11-3/4” 126.20 Production Casing 10-3/4” 108.70 Production
2,524 kips air weight @ 25,000’ Casing
13-5/8” 88.20 Intermediate 2,174 kips air weight at 25,000’
clearances may require larger 13-5/8” 88.20 Intermediate

Fig. 6 Examples of HPHT well design challenges showing tight clearances to accommodate necessary casings.
IPTC 11463 13

Fig. 7 Industrial rupture disk used to safeguard Fig. 8 Crushable syntactic foam being run into deepwater HPHT well.
against APB well failures.

Fig. 9 Mechanical behavior of slip-based tubular handing system.

14 IPTC 11463

Fig. 10 Failed field drillpipe and pipe from investigation test. Fig. 11 Slip-based spider system ready for lab testing.

Fig. 12 Stress profile in tubular showing elevated stresses between slip segments.
IPTC 11463 15

Vendors with
Service Total No. Maximum
Rating >
Category Vendors Ratings
Directional 12 6 175°C to 182°C
7 4 175°C to 182°C
Gamma Ray 9 5 175°C to 182°C
Resistivity 8 5 165°C to 182°C
Porosity 5 3 175°C
Density 5 3 175°C
3 1 165°C
Pressure Testing
Seismic 1 0 150°C

Fig. 13 Summary of commercially available MWD/LWD ratings. Fig. 14 HT electronic products from Honeywell Deep Trek program.

Company Project Title Fund Share Total Funds
Giner, Inc HT Capacitor Development $516,814 $237,180 $753,994
HT Battery for MWD $400,000 $138,784 $538,784
Systems, Inc
Honeywell Re-configurable Processor for
$773,522 $280,251 $1,053,773
International Data Acquisition
Okla. State
275°C Downhole Power Supply $478,008 $120,140 $598,148
Drill Cool
Insulated Drill Pipe $204,924 $322,720 $527,644
Systems, Inc.
HT Capacitor Technology $543,116 $356,302 $899,418
GE Global Harsh Environment Gamma
$383,994 $95,998 $479,992
Research Detector
Total Awards $3,300,378 $4,851,753

Fig. 15 New USA DOE HT research and development programs