Sunday, June 3, 2012

RFID Tracking in the Oilfield

RFID tracking has lots of uses in lots of places these days. A Norwegian firm is bringing a drillpipe tracking solution to market for commercial use in the oilfield. The technology was developed as part of a Joint Industry Project with ENI, Statoil, and ConocoPhillips.

For those of you who aren't sure what this means or what this is about, here are some key terms and ideas:

Drillpipe - this is the term used for the pipe that drilling rigs use to drill wellbores. multiple "joints" of drillpipe are connected together by threaded ends to create the drillstring. This conveys the bottom hole assembly (BHA) down the wellbore to drill the rock.
Drillstring fatigue - Since drillstring lengths can be upwards of 40,000 feet long, the combined weight of all of the drill pipe and the BHA can be many thousands of pounds. Running the drillstring in and out of the wellbore stretches the metal in the drillpipe and weakens it, causing drillstring fatigue.

Drillpipe is normally rented or owned by drilling contrators such as Transocean, Ensco, Stena, or Maersk. Manual tracking of this drillpipe activity gives an idea of how many times and how much stress lots of drillpipe may have been under, but is not always accurate.

With RFID tracking, companies will be able to implement "Cradle to Grave" tracking of individual joints of drillpipe, thus enabling better predictability of drillstring fatigue, since they will know exactly how many times each joint of drillpipe has been run and exactly how much strain it has been under.

You can read the original article from Rigzone at the link below.
Most land wells in "Shale Plays" are drilled to depths of 8,000 - 12,000 feet.

Wells drilled on land, inland waters, or the outer continental shelf can be upwards of 20,000 feet deep.

Wells drilled in the deepwater arena regularly are 20,000 - 30,000 feet deep, with some approaching 40,000 feet and some upcoming wells are planned for 50,000 feet. That's almost 10 miles!