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OTC Technology Review: Halliburton

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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, Nathan Wyatt and Avinash Dharne, Halliburton, USA, focus on a plug system designed specifically for deepwater projects.

Halliburton has developed the SSR-III™ Sub Surface Release Plug system, designed specifically for deepwater projects and deployable in floating vessel or fixed platform operations that utilise a subsea wellhead. The technology builds on the SSR-II™ system initially released in the early 2000s and incorporates key enhancements that aim to address the higher technical requirements and challenging conditions of modern deepwater operations.

Figure 1. SSR-III Sub Surface Release Plug system.

The plug system is intended to satisfy three specific goals: enable fast drill-through times, offer compatibility across various liner hanger providers, and remove the need for a separate landing collar. To develop a combination of high performance and strong drillability, extensive research and testing were required. The selection of materials was a critical factor with regards to the performance of the plug set. The system combines two composites with targeted use of aluminium alloys to provide tolerance to pressures of up to 6000 psi and temperatures of up to 300°F (149°C) without sacrificing drillability. An integrated pressure equaliser and swivel positioned at the top of the system help relieve trapped pressure above the plug set and help reduce the overall length of the assembly. The integrated pressure equaliser and swivel is retrievable and does not require drill-out.

An elongated bottom plug helps capture and fully house the bottom dart to reduce the risk of top plug landing issues. Additionally, both the top and bottom plugs include the Halliburton high wiping efficiency (HWE®) NR plug design for greater contact area with casing, increased wear resistance over long distances, and non-rotating teeth to help improve drill-out times. A ball catcher in the bottom plug is capable of housing an up to a 2 in. setting tool ball released by a tool operation above. This prevents the ball from interfering with the bottom plug landing on the float collar below. The improved bottom plug bypass design removes the need for a separate landing collar, which in turn shortens the shoe track and results in less threaded equipment being required for a cementing operation. The system has undergone extensive testing to help ensure reliability and performance. Both plugs were flow tested for 20 hours at 16 bpm prior to release with drillpipe darts, and the bottom plug bypass was flow tested for 2 hours at 15 bpm. Both the release sleeve pressure and bump pressure tests held 6000 psi for 15 minutes at 300°F (149°C). The 9.625 in. SSR-III™ system is currently available for field trials.

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