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OTC Technology Review: Caterpillar

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Oilfield Technology,

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), held each year in Houston, Texas, US, is one of the world's leading upstream oil and gas events. Before OTC 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oilfield Technology contacted a range of key players in the upstream industry and asked for their insight on the latest technologies that were due to be showcased at this year's OTC.

In this submission, Danielle Wills, Caterpillar, USA, explains how the company is responding to the industry's desire for advanced well service technology that also promotes a cleaner environment. 

Today’s well service market is ever-changing, and in 2020, the US is expected to export more crude oil than it imported in 2019*. As the industry takes steps towards growth, advanced technology and equipment will be required to meet the demand and work needs. Equipment such as the new Cat® 3512E dynamic gas blending (DGB)™ well service engine, the WS255 pump and the pump electronic management system (PEMS), are allowing for increased productivity, efficiency, and lower operational costs.

Caterpillar is responding to the desire for advanced technology that also promotes a cleaner environment by releasing the Tier 4 Final DGB engine. The Cat 3512E DGB Tier 4 Final Engine offers environmental benefits that redefine operations. The new well service dual-fuel engine is optimised to deliver up to 85% diesel displacement independently to each cylinder. The engine was designed to save fuel and maintain the US EPA Tier 4 Final certification while lowering the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. The 3512 DGB engine can operate on CNG, LNG, pipeline, and field gas.

Figure 1. Cat 3512E DGB Tier 4 Final Engine.

Pump management

In the field, well stimulation pumps are essential equipment for oil and gas operations that must be long-lasting and durable enough to meet the intense field demands. The Cat WS255 quintuplex well stimulation pump, with its dimensionally compatible design, delivers a maximum input of 2500 bhp (1864 bkW). Each pump is manufactured with high-quality materials, advanced manufacturing techniques, heat treatment processes, high-performance surface treatments, and special coatings, which help to ensure long product life and strong performance.

The pump fluid end is a large consumable expense for customers, primarily because of the leading causes of fluid end wear, cavitation, and valve leaks. The company’s most recent pump monitoring technology, PEMS, not only identifies and alerts when a valve leak is occurring, but also identifies the pump bore and valve location (suction or discharge) where the leak is present. The primary function of PEMS is to analyse large quantities of of data in real time, looking for any signs of a possible fail state. A comprehensive set of sensors collects high-speed data about oil temperature, oil pressure, vibration, discharge pressure, and suction pressure. The data is then used in proprietary algorithms, and in the event a possible failure is detected, an operator is immediately alerted. Real time operator feedback is crucial to preventing expensive pump damage caused by cavitation and valve leak events. The leak location feature also reduces maintenance time by only requiring inspection and repair of specific valves, rather than a full pump inspection. This technology allows customers to maximise valve life by only replacing truly worn valves, saving time and money, and minimising downtime.

Caterpillar aims to provide next-generation solutions that enable customers to have quality, long-lasting products, promoting a successful well service operation.


  1. US Energy Information Administration.

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