Lesson 101: Setting Up And Operating A Test Facility For HPHT Equipment
Coiled Tubing Drilling is increasing in demand which is creating the need for tools to have higher downhole capabilities. Specifically, the need for higher temperature and pressure capabilities. For this to happen, testing and validation of these tools needs to be performed at High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) within the workshop before going to the field.
There are several challenges in initially setting up the HPHT test facility, these are underpinned by having enough capital investment to set up the facility, cutting corners is not a good thing when dealing with HPHT. The main challenge is having enough space to set up the equipment, tools for CTD are long, (over three metres in length). A typical pressure test vessel for a complete drilling tool could be eight metres long, so having a facility with space to manoeuvre tools and vessels with lifting equipment to do this is paramount.
Introducing temperature into the mix with pressure testing, creates a potentially volatile environment requiring high levels of security and safety awareness to be observed and met. Test equipment for HPHT is expensive and the best equipment should be purchased to ensure all safety releases and fail safes work and are adequate for the potential test criteria. For example, your test pressure could be 10,000 psi (689 Bar) and temperature could be 160˚C (320˚F.) The industry is driving this temperature requirement up towards 200˚C (392˚F).
Once the facility has been established, personnel training is a high priority, to preserve life as well as your tools and test equipment. Accidents happen due to lack of knowledge and awareness. Good training can also improve long term facility cost savings and time efficiency.
Maintenance of the test facility is also a challenge because once a facility is up and running, down time can be costly. Scheduling maintenance around workloads will ultimately keep the equipment in good working order, prevent and reduce any unexpected downtime due to equipment failure. Effective planning and regular checks are the only way to ensure that downtime is not an issue.
As the industry demands more capabilities for downhole tools, the need for a test facility that can validate to the same criteria will grow. Doing this safely will always be complex but it is a priority.
Author: Jenny Bentley