Drilling: Advancing technology for down-hole inspection
New advancements are continuously being developed to improve performance and efficiencies for oil well drilling. It is important for oil companies t...
New advancements are continuously being developed to improve performance and efficiencies for oil well drilling. It is important for oil companies to stay current with the trends of advanced drilling capabilities. Saving time, keeping costs down and minimizing the margin of possible human error are all legitimate reasons why companies should take the necessary steps to ensure quality tools are being used, and make investments in certain high-tech devices.
Baker Hughes has been developing technology solutions for the oil and gas drilling industry for over a century. The Company caters to the needs of oil companies around the world and are constantly striving to come up with better, more cost-effective ways for these companies to do business. Exploration and drilling can be a dangerous, sensitive process. Having the right equipment can make a big difference out on an oil rig or in the oil field. Recovery times are quicker, efficiencies are greater and overall decision making happens faster with the right tools.
Well logging, or borehole logging, happens when drilling boreholes—the horizontal or vertical narrow shaft drilled to extract the oil or gas. Logging includes the process of surveying and recording specific details of the geologic formations that are penetrated by the borehole. Baker Hughes and other solutions-based companies have developed highly sophisticated logging-while-drilling (LWD) devices that assist with the inspection process, ensuring that measurements and other details found while inspecting the borehole are recorded accurately.
In the past, in order for oil and gas companies to be able to log measurement information from down inside the borehole, a ‘wireline’, or a type of cable, would be tied to measuring devices or other equipment, and then would be dropped down the open passage. Several devices could be strung to the wire at once for multiple functionalities. However, logging-while-drilling (LWD) technology has almost completely replaced the wireline technique of measuring data. Now specific information can be taken from the borehole immediately and virtually transmitted in real time to computer stations on site or at the office base. Additionally, workers can get an up close image of the inside of the borehole for closer inspection.
Baker Hughes invented the INTEQ AziTrak™ Deep Azimuthal Resistivity LWD System—an advanced sensing technology that allows for a more detailed and much faster down-hole view than a conventional sensor could provide. This system acts as a GPS system and was designed to allow oil rig workers to have a 360 degree perspective of the bed boundaries and oil and water contact zones. Workers are given a better scope for measuring, detecting and visualizing when inspecting a drill hole. This technology is compact and placed near the bit for advanced reservoir navigation.
Evaluation and logging of the borehole occurs in real time with this product, also identifying non-productive intervals. Through this process, the well can be guided to avoid a reservoir exit. Workers are able to make more accurate well placement decisions, resulting in higher efficiency. According to the Baker Hughes website, “The technology is particularly useful in reservoirs associated with a high degree of geologic uncertainty. Early detection of nonproductive zones enables on-the-fly adjustments.” Wellbore placement in addition to wells that are high angle and horizontal will be more exact with this technology.
The 3D eXplorer (3DeX) Service is another data processing technology developed by Baker Hughes. This tool allows for accurate measuring and computation of vertical and horizontal formation resistivity. This device is particularly useful for challenging borehole environments.
Major oil company, Halliburton, utilizes 3D visualization software for drilling operations. With Landmark’s AssetView™ and 3D Drill View KM™ software, workers can obtain a real-time evaluation for measuring and logging while drilling. The highly advanced technology empowers the user to make fast decisions since the view of the borehole is so clear and concise with the 3D model, and due to the fact that data is reviewed in real time. The visualization equipment runs on the Microsoft Windows® 2000 and XP operating systems where users can view and alter the earth model by rotating or zooming. With this technology, teams in the field and teams back at the office can share information quickly and accurately. Decision making becomes more uniform, more accurate and can happen immediately. As soon as data is collected at the drilling site, teams elsewhere can view that data.
New technology is being researched, tested and introduced every day. By having more technical equipment, oil and gas companies are able to quickly and accurately survey and measure a borehole.
Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April
Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.
The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.
Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.
In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue.
Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”
There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:
- Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps.
- Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold.
- Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice.
Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.
"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.
"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."
United Utilities picks up pipeline award
A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.
The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.
“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.
Camus Energy secures $16m funding
Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.
As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.