Latest technologies, products on display at OTC 2012

June 2, 2012
The Offshore Technology Conference, the largest assembly of offshore drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection experts, reached a 30-year high of 89,400 attendees for the recent 2012 edition at Reliant Park in Houston.

The Offshore Technology Conference, the largest assembly of offshore drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection experts, reached a 30-year high of 89,400 attendees for the recent 2012 edition at Reliant Park in Houston.

More than 2,500 companies from 46 countries exhibited products, services, and technologies to further advance the development of offshore resources. While many technologies and products were introduced at the event, 13 new, innovative, and proven technologies received a Spotlight on New Technology Award.

Drilling technologies

New technologies and products were on display for the offshore drilling market. GE Oil & Gas introduced its next-generation blind shear ram. Designed for use in GE's 18 ¾-in. ram BOP, the patent-pending blind shear ram can both shear and seal after cutting 6 5/8-in. tool joints. The rams were tested successfully to 15,000 psi after cutting the tool joint. Centralizing arms are designed to allow successful shearing of buckled or offset pipe, and modifications to the block and blade allow greater force to be applied without damage.

(Left) In the future, a new special vessel from the Allseas Group will completely lift the platforms from their steel "jacket" and transport them onto land. Bosch Rexroth developed and engineered the drive and control system and the major components. (Right) CorDEX Instruments unveiled the UT5000 Intrinsically Safe Thickness Gauge.

GE also showcased its new MaxLift 1800 pump system, which the company says paves the way for dual-gradient drilling (DGD) in deepwater. DGD can reduce the impact of the water column on deepwater drilling. To achieve a dual gradient, flow from a well being drilled is diverted to a MaxLift 1800 pump located above the BOP where it pumps the return drilling mud to the drilling vessel in an auxiliary line. The new GE pump can deliver up to 1,800 gal/min at discharge pressures up to 6,600 psi and can handle solids up to 1.5 in. DGD helps manage a narrow pore pressure/fracture gradient hole.

Halliburton introduced a package of low equivalent circulating density (ECD) technologies. The approach combines new and existing technologies to help reach and produce reservoirs with low ECD margins, particularly in deepwater offshore wells. New technologies in the oil-based drilling fluids system package include the VersaFlex Low ECD System, the Commander 1000 Top-Drive Cementing Head, and a high-pressure shearing unit.

ECD occurs when friction in the well from circulating drilling mud and fluids during cementing operations results in increased bottomhole pressure, which can cause challenges in well integrity and safety. Halliburton's Low ECD Solution is designed to:

  • Maintain hydrostatic pressure of the fluid column below the fracture gradient but above the pore pressure, while maintaining well control
  • Reduce overall fluid viscosity to reduce frictional forces
  • Allow drilling fluids, spacer and cement to flow freely into the casing and up the annulus to avoid lost circulation, while still providing hole cleaning
  • Minimize surge in the formation while running the liner so pressure drop across the hanger is reduced
  • Increase the bypass circulation rate while not exceeding the fracture gradient of the formation due to pressure build-up.

Elsewhere at OTC, Baker Hughes unveiled the Mastiff rigless intervention system (RIS). The company says the new mechanized, self-pinning RIS provides operators an alternative method for carrying out pipe installation and retrieval operations.


New technologies and products were featured for the subsea market. Proserv displayed its next generation subsea cutting tool, which the company says provides complete well severance and reduces in-well operational time by up to 50%. The multi-string cutting (MSC) tool is a customizable internal multi-string conductor cutter that is about 3 m (9 ft) in length and 20 cm (8 in.) in diameter.

Proserv showcased its multi-string cutting tool at the Offshore Technology Conference.

Balmoral Offshore Engineering introduced two additions to its drill riser buoyancy portfolio. The new materials, Durafloat Superlite and Durafloat Superlite-X, are rated to operating depths of 15,000 ft (4,572 m); typically 3,000-5,000 ft (914-1,524 m) deeper than industry-standard drill riser buoyancy. Drill riser buoyancy provides "uplift" by effectively decreasing the submerged weight of the steel riser joints, which run between the drilling vessel and the BOP on the seabed.

Dow Oil & Gas launched the NEPTUNE advanced subsea flow assurance insulation system. The company says the dual-layer composition of this system eliminates the need for a separate adhesive tie layer, simplifying the entire application process, and reducing the potential for error.

Production and operations

A number of new products and services for the offshore production and operations market were also featured at the show. Dresser-Rand introduced several magnetic bearings that integrate the control system with the actual bearing structure for use in compressors, pumps, electric motors, blowers, and fans. With a variety of frame sizes in both radial and thrust configurations, Dresser-Rand says these magnetic bearings eliminate the need for lubrication, offer no mechanical wear or friction, and can be tailored to optimize performance. These bearings also can reduce footprint and weight to save capex on platform and FPSO construction.

The company also unveiled the DATUM I Integrated Compression System (ICS) that is engineered with centrifugal separator technology incorporated on the compressor rotor for efficiency and compactness. The system uses centrifugal force to separate oil, gas, and water from the flow, says Dresser-Rand, and this protects the compression flow-path from potential damage by removing free liquids from the gas stream.

DSM Dyneema introduced a permanent deepwater production facility mooring rope. Developed in conjunction with Lankhorst Ropes, at about 40% of the weight and 75% of the diameter of polyester ropes, ropes of Dyneema's high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fibers can install as much as twice the length of rope from a standard winch, the company says.

OTC returns to Reliant Park May 6-9, 2013.

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