Maximum Well Cost Savings for Latin American Operators: ProOne Introduces NITRO
by Tim Wagner, ProOne Inc., for Petroleo Energia magazine
With 20-percent of all underground oil reserves globally, and one of its countries (Venezuela) overtaking Saudi Arabia as having the largest proven reserves, Latin America is well-positioned to benefit substantially from new downhole drilling technology.
With the world’s oil industry essentially being turned upside-down as prices plunged to the $40/barrel range, drilling operations are suddenly on a boom-to-bust cycle. Seemingly overnight, significant capital budget cuts, major staff layoffs and a sharp focus on saving time and money have become the norm on rigs which are still operating.
R&D Secret Becomes Game-Changer
From the labs of Houston, Texas and Orange County, California, ProOne Inc. has responded to operators concerned with reducing high production costs, stepping into this new worldwide reality at precisely the right time. Formulated with ProOne’s proprietary XPL+ Technology comes ProOne NITRO® Downhole Drilling Fluid Treatment.
This highly innovative drilling fluid treatment:
• Has a high film strength, fifty times more powerful than conventional lubricants
• Literally attracted to the most intense downhole heat and pressure, instead of being repelled by encountering heat and pressure
• Solves more than a dozen major drilling challenges and saves operators as much as $1 million per well, on wide-ranging issues from reducing torque 20-50% to freeing stuck pipe
• Can even cut an operator’s mud bill by 50-percent
From reducing torque to saving operators from expensive trips, NITRO used at only 1.5-percent reduces metal-to-metal coefficient considerably more than a major competitor’s product used at 6.0-percent or even 7.5-percent. That capability was verified by a Dynamic Lubricity test at an independent laboratory with strict standards.
Specifically designed to be compatible with all drilling fluids, this new technology offers operators the ability to change from more expensive muds to this more cost-effective solution. Today, when operators globally are seeking all possible savings in the face of major cutbacks, NITRO provides all the downhole power of XPL+ on a very cost-competitive basis. Additionally, rig site reports indicate the product’s performance as resulting in wells below the AFE.
Performance is not limited in any way by a rig’s location (whether onshore or offshore), by a rig’s total depth (TD) or by any other circumstances or geographic conditions in which a well is drilled. This lubricant works best environmentally with Water-Based Mud (WBM), but is just as effective in accomplishing downhole drilling objectives when mixed with Oil-Based Mud (OBM) or Brine. Additionally, ProOne is not limited to a single use but instead can actually be recycled for another round within the downhole system.
Achieving the impossible
ProOne has recently expanded its market to the world’s major oil-producing regions after success in more than 700 wells in North America. This international expansion, mainly through the National Oilwell Varco spin-off DistributionNOW and its 300+ locations in more than twenty countries, means that Latin America rig operators now have ready access to a product distributed regionally from Bogota, Lima, Macae and Ciudad del Carmen.
How could such an “ordinary” drill site commodity – a drilling mud additive or lubricant – accomplish anything as comprehensive as virtually eliminating friction, downhole drilling’s top problem? ProOne’s R&D scientists engineered basic changes in how drilling fluids work. Instead of just being a routine drilling mud component, the polarity of the base lubricants’ molecular structure was reversed. Creating that positively-charged structure unlocked the secret that allowed bonding to metal, no matter how intense the heat and pressure, and infused the lubricant with its extraordinary film strength.
Making sure that this exceptional lubricant was “real,” ProOne had it tested at and certified by a leading research laboratory in the southwestern U.S. However, this friction reducer discovery was so unbelievable that initially most operators were doubters – until they agreed to “just give it a try.” They did and one after the other, they have stopped doubting and immediately started ordering barrels of the ProOne product for their wells to replace the lubricant they had used for years.
Redefining the game
Drilling supervisors quickly began seeing what dramatically better lubricity means when going from spud to TD. Numerically, it reduces the friction coefficient by as much as 94-percent and increases the drilling mud’s film strength up to 200,000 psi while effective at a temperature threshold well exceeding that of any other lubricants. In an industry that unwillingly absorbs billions each year in downtime and sky-high operating costs caused specifically by inferior lubrication, this commercialized R&D is a welcome relief in Latin America and oil-producing regions everywhere.
Other major drilling challenges that this additive overcomes have surprised even oilfield veterans. The following examples demonstrates the additives ability to solve high priority drilling challenges and dramatically save money on a typical rig.
– up to $100,000 saving mud motors, drill bits, drill string repair, hard banding, straighter verticals, drilling the curve in half the time, faster case and liner setting
– up to $500,000 increasing ROP, saving trips, handling deviated wells, chopped holes and disposal costs
– up to $1,000,000 by freeing stuck pipe, minimizing twist-off risk, and helping avoid hole collapse
– reducing torque by anywhere from 20-50%
As important as any of those capabilities are, this lubricant greatly reduces excessive and extremely costly trips, which can amount to a savings of up to ½-million dollars on a well. Savings generated by the ability to free stuck pipe, one of the most devastating and costly problems in downhole drilling, and can total as much as a $1 million per well.
Other benefit of this increased lubricity is that wear, tear and corrosion on equipment has been reduced as far as possible with any lubricant in the borehole’s hostile downhole environment. Similarly, equipment in and around the rig floor and mud pit now experiences much less wearing out. Therefore, substantial cost savings are pocketed not only on mud motors and mud pumps, as their performance is extended, but on the very expensive rotary drill bits, too, since they do not have to be replaced as often.
Following the success of Nitro, and formulated with the XPL+ Technology, ProOne has released another weapon that provides pipe-on-pipe protection and performance for coil tubing applications… ProOne CoilPro Pipe on Pipe Treatment.
While matching all the benefits of XPL+, CoilPro reduces the coefficient of friction between coil tubing and casing. As with NITRO, CoilPro exhibits the advantages of XPL+ including attraction to intense hotspots, unprecedented film strength of over 200,000 psi and increasing ROP.
A particular benefit is that it mills frac-plugs faster. Typically operators cannot mill more than 50-percent of the plugs out of the line, which quickly adds up to hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars lost from this inefficiency. In contrast, at wells that have used CoilPro since the last quarter of 2014, all plugs in all wells have been pulled. On one well in the Permian Basin in West Texas, the operator saved approximately $6-million by using CoilPro and pulling all the well’s plugs.
Essentially, this pipe-on-pipe treatment helps deliver much improved drilling efficiency while lowering drilling costs in any type of wellbore – vertical, deviated and horizontal – with coil tubing fluids. In addition to pulling plugs, it lubricates the entire casing and CT BHA which increases the lateral reach. And it inhibits the hydration of clay fraction in shale, which is of key importance in today’s major shale activity.
Whether or not local or national laws mandate environmental compliance, XPL+ puts operators in a very safe mode because this additive is considered ultimately biodegradable. It quickly biodegrades by 60-percent in just 16 days and by 83-percent within one month in heading to complete biodegradation. Additionally, toxic OBM can be replaced by WBM and the ProOne additive at one-third the cost.
For offshore drilling, in which Brazil is about to become a major world player, with the Tupi and Jupiter oil fields holding a combined potential of 45 billion barrels, operators in other drilling regions are aware that this bio-stable downhole drilling fluid treatment is non-toxic to marine life. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved its use offshore in the state of California and other operators are inquiring about using it in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
As the need for well cost reduction escalates, ProOne is proving that saving time and money comes by developing a better way to solve age-old problems. With its time proven track record and achieved value, drillers have come to agree on one thing…never drill without ProOne.
Tim Wagner is with ProOne llc (www.pro1energy.com)