(Houston)- Grant Prideco announced the commercial launch of its IntelliServ Network, the industry's first reliable high-speed, real-time drill string telemetry system. The company reports that this technology will transform the drill string into an advanced information tool that allows for instantaneous bi-directional communication between downhole tools and engineers at the surface.
Mike Reeves, vice president and general manager of the IntelliServ division, called the new telemetry system a "marked improvement" over current mud pulse telemetry technology for several reasons. Data transferal occurs at speeds up to 57,000 bits per second, which is more than 10,000 times faster than with mud pulse. Plans are in place to increase this to one million bits per second by the end of 2006, which will allow for the transmission of images to the surface in real time, and will provide for seismic measurements while drilling.
Reeves also pointed out that IntelliServ allows for easy transmission of commands to a downhole tool from the surface, something that is a challenge for current mud pulse technology. IntelliServ will allow for real-time data transmission in the presence of any fluid medium, and the pipe does not need to be full in order to successfully transmit data. A large number of discrete tools, from standard direction and inclination sensors to rotary steerable and fishing tools, can be networked into the system.
Another important distinction with IntelliServ is that there are no depth limitations to the technology, allowing for longer step-outs on extended reach drilling projects. Grant Prideco intends to capitalize on this property, and Reeves commented that "the first niche application for the technology is long extended-reach lateral drilling environments." The system contains boosters that are placed in the line every 1,500 ft to allow for continuous data transmission in deep drilling environments.
He went on to explain that the network was designed to be robust to lateral drilling applications, and that the data cable and stainless steel sheath are extremely resistant to the inherent stresses encountered during lateral drilling.
The technology is currently limited by the operating environments in certain high temperature, high pressure wells. The system is powered by batteries with a 60-day operating life and can operate at temperatures up to 302° F and pressures of 25,000 psi. In addition, the technology is limited in that a connection failure somewhere along the drill pipe will cause a loss in signal below that failure.
While the past five years have focused on onshore field trials in Canada and the U.S. Rockies, Grant Prideco is now ready to expand the technology's reach offshore. The company has two orders for the technology in the North Sea, with more expected soon in that region. Their business plan calls for renting rather than selling the IntelliServ system to clients, and helping them implement the technology into their existing infrastructure.
Mike McShane, Grant Prideco's CEO and president, said during the roll-out: "We feel this technology, when coupled with compatible tools and software applications, can materially reduce drilling risks, improve well placement and ultimately reduce the cost-per-barrel for our customers."