Unconventional resources projects require a wide range of equipment, expertise, and specialized services that must be employed strategically at each stage of the process for operators to maintain profitability. Some of the challenges operators face are described below, together with the Cameron technologies to address them.
Wellheads engineered for efficiency
With current oil prices, more than ever, operators are focused on reducing spend per well while maximizing their production per well. They look for efficient wellhead designs that will suit the way they drill in unconventional fields to drive efficiencies and lower costs.
The MN-DS wellhead system is specifically designed for shale plays, with a compact design that is configurable to eliminate intermediate casing strings and enables the wellhead system to be run through a diverter riser, saving time and cost.
Fracturing operations pose technical and HSE challenges for frac trees due to bending stresses transferred from the goat head to the tree and wellhead connections below. Multiwell pads demand options for shorter and lighter frac trees. Conventional Cameron frac trees are rated up to 20,000 psi—the highest pressure rating in the industry.
Innovative frac tree designs streamline rig-up and rig-down and improve wellsite safety. For example, the F-T90 frac tree, the industry’s first horizontal frac tree, was specifically developed to complement multiwell pad completions and Simultaneous Operations (SIMOPS).
Special features of Cameron frac valves and stringent maintenance procedures have helped establish a reputation for reliability in the harsh environment of hydraulic fracturing.
Rig-ups for fluid delivery in fracturing operations can be highly complex, with multiple flowlines, mismatched equipment, and the associated leak paths and HSE risks. Conventional systems have 4–8 lines per well with 8–14 connections per line.
The Monoline flanged-connection fracturing fluid delivery technology presents a safer, faster, cleaner alternative to conventional frac iron on multiwell pads, creating a paradigm shift in the way proppant and fracturing fluid are delivered from the pump spread to the wellbore. It is faster to mobilize and increases fracturing uptime while requiring fewer technicians on location. It simplifies the rig-up procedure by arriving on location preassembled. Installation time is reduced by more than 60%.
Erosion-resistant choke for flowback
During flowback it is common to have sand and other particles in the produced fluids. This increases the risk of erosion-related equipment failure, which can endanger personnel safety and the environment in addition to potential loss of production. Chokes are exposed to erosive wear, which results in shutdowns and the need to change out the choke beans; the operator’s profitability suffers from costly washouts and choke failures.
The critical nature of chokes and their application in varying environments led Cameron to develop multitrim choke valves. Trim parts are made of ultrahard materials such as tungsten carbide, which resist erosion much longer than metal in flowback environments.
Technology to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds
Along with the challenge of drilling and completing unconventional wells effectively and efficiently, operators are being tasked with adhering to government regulations specific to the environment. These standards seek to reduce ground-level ozone in all production areas by limiting volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from wells, storage tanks, and other wellsite production equipment.
The ECO2 VOC emissions reduction system reduces the loss of produced hydrocarbons due to storage tank venting or flaring. It also helps you adhere to increasingly stringent environmental regulations—such as those set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—concerning reduction in VOC emissions. At the same time, it decreases the amount of production equipment required on site.