A patented system known as "Smart Skid," developed by Elmar Services Ltd of Britain, allows the operator to remotely monitor the wellhead pressure and operate a full string of wireline pressure control equipment from a distance.
The system is programed to open and close BOP rams and other hydraulically actuated string components and to control the grease injection pumps, allowing it to operate at a pre-determined injection pressure over wellhead pressure.
The system also has the capability to monitor and record wireline operating parameters such as depth, line speed, and tension. All of this is accomplished from within the wireline winch unit via a zoned touch screen connected by wire, fibre-optic cable or radio link to the main control module which is located elsewhere on the rig floor.
The control module can still be operated manually by overriding the electronic controls. The operator is able to determine the current status of the pressure control equipment from either location by viewing an LCD monitor on the module or the remote touch screen.
Integral to the success of the Smart Skid has been the development of an air-driven actuator and valve assembly which is a direct replacement for control valves already in use on standard Elmar modules. This valve assembly, in combination with the PC based "kit,"will allow users of existing Elmar Skids to upgrade their units to fully functional Smart Skids.
A mimic of the pressure control equipment indicates to the operator at all times the status of all components, such as the position of rams or hydraulic and grease pressure. The panel has been designed for ease of operation and incorporates all of the required safety functions.
Audible and visual alarms will provide warning of any impending problems, such as a low rig air supply or low fluid levels in the hydraulic or grease tanks. The alarms will activate pop-up menus providing the operator with a quick diagnostic reading and suggested correction procedure.
Depth and tension are viewed on an alternate screen. This will normally be the main screen during any wireline operation, while a reduced mimic set informs the operator of the status of the pressure control equipment at all times. There is a facility to monitor trends that occur during operations and further data acquisition developments are under consideration.
Confidence in the benefits of the Smart Skid and the ability of Elmar to conceive ideas and turn them into viable products have resulted in significant orders already being placed for the equipment. At present, a number of units are being manufac tured for the Norwegian sector for operation of wireline pressure control equipment strings, to include a triple 6-3/8 in. ID Elmar wireline BOP, to include shear/seal, and grease injection.
Elmar contends that, as with the original Elmar Skid introduced in 1981, the new technology should become an industry standard over the coming years. The firm said that current orders for Smart Skids will ensure production into the next millennium. Focusing on new equipment and innovation, Elmar says it intends to consolidate its leading position in the design and manufacture of wireline equipment. Elmar claims it has invested financial and technical resources over the last 12 months and worked closely with clients in the development of the next generation wireline control module.