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Taking a look at Weatherford's RSS facility

Oilfield Technology,

Earlier this month, Oilfield Technology took in a tour of Weatherford’s new Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS) facility in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK. Editor Cecilia Rehn discussed all matters technology, health and safety, and Gloucester’s rich engineering history with Weatherford’s RD & E Director RSS, Daryl Stroud.

No newbuild today can be constructed without emphasis on HSE, how has this affected the facility’s layout and general operations?

The new building provided a completely blank canvas to enable the facility to be laid out to simultaneously maximise efficiency as well as HSE. The layout and construction of this new facility was managed using our integrated management system which complies with the most stringent international standards for quality, HSE and the environment (including ISO/TS 290001:2010). In particular, the safe and efficient lifting and movement of part and assemblies were a priority.

Preparing a Revolution asset for final outbound checks.

With the new facility, Weatherford has chosen to keep its global RSS operations in Gloucester; why does this location work so well?

Just to clarify what is based in Gloucestershire is the Global RSS Technology Centre; responsible for R&D, design and manufacture of all RSS for Weatherford. As well as this, repair and maintenance of new products (during launch phase) and training of global personnel takes place at Tewkesbury. This location has proved advantageous in terms of available skilled workforce, available high quality/technology supply chain as well as cost effectiveness.

How important is inhouse training at a site like this?

In house training is critical to maintain quality during a period of relatively rapid expansion. In particular, Weatherford Tewkesbury has an impressive track record of developing staff to reach their potential. In addition, the training facility provides training for operations and R&M staff from all over the world.

Engineering and Manufacturing staff disassembling prototype tools after successful field testing.

How is the Revolution Rotary Steerable System meeting the demands of the oil and gas industry?

Revolution RSS has proved very effective in many diverse and challenging applications around the world. It is a point-the-bit RSS with proportional control and therefore drills an excellent quality borehole with low tortuosity, this provides many advantages including maximising drilling efficiency, hole cleaning and ease of completions. It is particularly well suited to the emerging unconventional markets since it has the ability to drill an entire well in a single run, ie; drill the vertical, curve and lateral without POOH to change the BHA. In addition, Revolution has amongst the highest temperature, pressure and steering deviation ratings in the industry.

3D CAD operation within the Engineering department.

How is Weatherford investing in R&D and testing?

In 2013, Weatherford invested in a new building for the main technology centre in Tewkesbury. This investment has facilitated an increase in R&D activity at the site; plus the opening of a nearby environmental test laboratory, which is used to evaluate new concepts and to ensure that new RSS designs are fit for purpose.

There is plenty of space to expand both at the facility and in the marketplace. What is in the pipeline for Weatherford’s RSS division?

Continue to refine and augment the Revolution RSS suite to provide customers with a highly efficient RSS for even the most hostile environments, thereby increasing market share. During new product launch, R&M centres will be developed at strategic global locations near to the theatres of use – enabling Tewkesbury to continue to develop a continuous stream of new technology.

CMM inspection of a Revolution outer sleeve component.


Written by Cecilia Rehn

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