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4 Posts authored by: singhanish

The challenge for nanotechnology-based drilling fluids is that in order to gain acceptance, they cannot simply match the industry’s conventional chemistries—they must outperform them.

Calgary-based nFluids believes it is among the first to answer that call. The 4-year-old firm is now in the early stages of commercializing its nanoparticle additive that it says is compatible with all types of drilling fluids.

Based on results from nine pilot wells and an independent study by the University of Missouri, the company reports that its nano-additive has achieved up to a 60% increase in wellbore strength, a 90% reduction in fluid losses, and a 50% reduction in friction during drilling—with the latter translating to a faster rate of penetration.

Jeffrey Forsyth, the chief executive officer of nFluids, said that since the company formed, it reduced its original manufacturing cost by about half while driving big improvements in the technology’s effectiveness.

He explained that when iron and carbon constituents are broken down into nano form “all their properties change and it’s almost as if you’re looking at a completely different material—but more importantly, most of those properties are greatly enhanced.”

Those properties are what enable the nanoparticles to form a thin, yet durable, filter cake around the inside of the wellbore. This action takes place within minutes of introducing the nanoparticles into the drilling fluid base.

As the particles move into the small pores and fractures of the exposed rock, the effective permeability is reduced, making it less likely that drilling fluids will bleed into the formation and weaken the wellbore.

With less formation damage, it also becomes less likely that wellbore walls will collapse in on a drillstring, a common problem known as stuck pipe. And when the proper balance of fluids and well pressure is not effectively managed, even worse issues can arise such as a blowout.

For producers tapping into the most unforgiving formations (think of shale or deepwater), the value proposition being offered is pretty simple: spend a little more cash on advanced fluid technologies and a lot less time remediating the issues mentioned above.

“If you look at drilling fluids—if everything goes according to plan—it is probably the smallest cost in many ways,” insisted Forsyth. “But if you lose a couple of days on a job where you’re drilling 3500 m, that’s going to amount to a lot more money than your fluid losses.”

He added that the company can redesign the shape, size, and function of its nanoparticles to address a number of different drilling conditions. This flexibility has enabled the company to concentrate its additive solution so that it represents only half-a-percent of the total weight of a well’s entire drilling fluid system.


In a promising sign for the company’s commercial prospects, it has signed a joint-development agreement with one of the majors (name not yet disclosed).

It is also exploring a broad spectrum of other applications for its technology, including conformance control in enhanced oil recovery; water cut reduction in steam-assisted gravity drainage wells; perforation diversion for refracturing shale wells; and as a magnetic reservoir tracer.

Source: SPE

Gas hydrates are clathrates of natural gases (mainly methane), which are captured in water ice crystals. These clathrated compounds have been discovered in sediments worldwide wherever low temperature, high pressure, salinity, and sediment organic concentrations are conducive to their formation.


Recent academic and industrial efforts to investigate and explore naturally occurring gas hydrates have expanded and deepened our knowledge of the distribution and occurrence of gas hydrates in deep-sea sediments and permafrost regions. Globally, it is estimated  that about 1,226 Tcm (43,311 Tcf) of natural gas is considered to be entrapped in the natural gas hydrates. Due to this vast energy resource potential of gas hydrates, many countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, India, Korea, China, and Taiwan have undertaken dedicated national gas hydrate research programs. Gas hydrates are in the research and development (R&D) stage and no commercial production is being done anywhere in the world.


Gas hydrate resources are huge in India (26.4 Tcm/933 Tcf) and potentially represent a global energy game changer if the technologies for gas production from hydrate reservoirs are techno-economically established. Several initiatives have been undertaken by NGHP in India for gas hydrate exploration in deepwater offshore. The dedicated gas hydrate coring/drilling/logging-while-drilling/measurement-while-drilling operations were carried out under NGHP Expedition 01 in 2006 in four Indian offshore areas: Krishna-Godavari basin (KG), Mahanadi, Andaman, and Kerala-Konkan, which established the presence of gas hydrates in the KG, Mahanadi, and Andaman deep offshore areas.

To date, three primary classes of methods have been considered for production of methane from subsurface gas hydrates: thermal stimulation, depressurization, and chemical injection. Currently, there has been limited analysis or field testing of gas hydrate production from other gas hydrate occurrence types, and production from those deposits will require development of as-yet unidentified technological approaches.


The NGHP Expedition 01 in 2006 established that huge amounts of gas hydrate deposits are present in the Indian deepwater areas, particularly in KG and Andaman deep offshore. However, the discovered gas hydrates are not producible with the current technologies as they exist in fractured shale and clay-dominated reservoirs.

Therefore, studies were carried out from 2007 to 2013 to identify the gas hydrate occurrences in sand-dominated reservoirs in the eastern offshore—namely, the KG and Mahanadi deep waters. A key partner in the NGHP, ONGC carried out geological and geophysical studies in an area of about 10 000 km2 in KG and Mahanadi deep offshore for the identification of sites for NGHP Expedition 02 with special emphasis on gas hydrate occurrence in sand facies. NGHP-02 was executed by ONGC in 2015, wherein 42 gas hydrate wells have been drilled/cored in KG and Mahanadi deep offshore areas.


NGHP-02 established the existence of a fully developed gas hydrate petroleum system in the KG basin, and producible gas hydrates have been discovered in KG offshore sand reservoirs. In view of the encouraging results, further extensive studies are being carried out to assess the gas hydrate resource potential, reservoir characterization, reservoir delineation, planning for pilot production testing, and techno-economic analysis of gas hydrate producibility. NGHP Expedition 03 for pilot production testing is planned during 2017–18.


Gas hydrate exploitation is still in the R&D stage, and global efforts for the assessment of viable technology for its exploitation are still on and will take some time for commercialization. Hydrate gas may soon prove to be the catalyst for the next surge in energy industry activity. R&D organizations around the world are defining and developing multiple techniques to explore and exploit this resource as the next addition to the expanding clean and affordable energy portfolio.


Source: SPE

Greetings from the UPES SPE Student Chapter!


Established in 2009 under SPE International’s North India Section with the objective of enabling students to contribute to, and learn from and about, the Oil and Gas sector, the UPES SPE Student Chapter has, ever since, hit the ground running; a statement reflected by the three consecutive Gold Standard Awards followed by three consecutive Outstanding Student Chapter Awards over the years. With a multitude of events, conferences, lectures and an international fest every year, the Chapter has a great outreach and an empowering vision to inculcate students into the Energy industry from an early stage, and to spread knowledge and information about the industry which in true sense, drives the contemporary world.


Pink Petro’s mission to Unite, Connect, Develop and Grow Women in Energy is reflected deeply in our Chapter’s vision- to enhance students’ industrial involvement, social outreach, and technical and professional capacity. Furthermore, the UPES SPE Student Chapter, itself ably lead by a female president, Ms. Sagarika Gangopadhaya, is keen on building a synergistic alliance with Pink Petro in order to help realize its vision. Where the importance of Women in Energy is concerned, we lead by example. We understand that the current gender ratio of the industry which we are all a part of is nowhere near desirable, or even acceptable.


Hence, with a team of nearly 50% female members in our chapter, we acknowledge the importance of equality in workforce and we’re here to do our bit to promote the involvement and upliftment of women in the energy sector, and strive for a gender neutral industry. We are thankful to Pink Petro for providing this wonderful opportunity to work alongside the stalwarts of the industry and learn from the people who inspire us and the industry, on the whole. We shall do our best to inculcate a surrounding of learning which will help the community as well as ourselves, to grow.



A quantitative, probabilistic risk modeling tool used for more than a decade by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) might help the offshore industry prevent low-probability but high-impact incidents, a NASA safety official told a breakfast audience on 4 May at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

David Kaplan, who is in charge of partnership development for NASA’s Safety & Mission Assurance Directorate, said that over a long period — but accelerated by the 2003 loss of the space shuttle Columbia — the space agency has embraced and advanced a quantitative tool called probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) to model and manage risk in the space shuttle program and for the International Space Station (ISS). PRA was also used for the now-terminated Constellation lunar exploration program and is currently in use on the Orion capsule that will one day carry humans to Mars.

“All of NASA’s manned space programs have used PRA to keep aware of these kinds of low-probability, high-consequence events,” Kaplan said. Encompassing hardware performance and human reliability assessment, PRA models are continually updated as changes take place and milestones are met.

Origins in the Nuclear Industry

PRA was developed by the nuclear power industry in the mid-1970s. Like many new programs, it sat on the shelf for several years. But after the 1979 Three-Mile Island accident, the industry took it up and began to apply it.

“People in the industry concluded that the defect that led to the incident could have been predicted, could have been stopped,” Kaplan said. Today, the licensure of every US nuclear power plant is based in part on PRA modeling. 

NASA had “dabbled with” PRA before the Columbia disaster, Kaplan said. But the loss of the spacecraft, which disintegrated upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members, led to the agency’s full adoption of the probabilistic assessment tool. Although the future of the space shuttle program was thrown into doubt for an extended period, when shuttle flights resumed in mid-2005, NASA was able to complete its remaining missions because of PRA, Kaplan said. The NASA space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011 as construction of the ISS was completed.

The Loss of Columbia 

PRA has helped NASA understand risks that arise from small deviations from standards and that increase as the deviations become accepted, Kaplan said. Over many missions, NASA had grown used to small amounts of foam insulation breaking loose from the spacecraft during the launch phase, he said. Although this had never caused problems previously, foam that broke off of Columbia’s propellant tank just after takeoff on 16 January 2003 struck and damaged the protective covering on the orbiter’s left wing tip. During re-entry on 3 February, hot gas penetrated and destroyed the wing, which caused Columbia to lose control and disintegrate.

Kaplan described the evolution of the foam issue in the years before the disaster as “a deviation that became normalized,” resulting in a slow erosion of safety. To address these types of problems, hiring more people or redeploying them would not be an adequate response, he said. NASA needed a system that could provide leading indicators of low-probability, high-impact risks and adopted PRA for that purpose. PRA modeling also “will show you where you should spend your money,” Kaplan said. 

In suggesting that PRA could help the oil industry to improve risk management, Kaplan noted the similarity in size and isolated operating environment between the ISS and a facility such as a spar or mobile offshore drilling unit. In all of these facilities, maintenance is critical and repair of critical components is essential. They also must be regularly resupplied. 

Parallels Between Deepwater and Space

“NASA does have experience dealing with complex facilities operated in hostile, isolated environments, frankly where single mistakes can have extreme consequences,” Kaplan said. Given the nature of these operations, “failure is not an option,” he said. “In certain ways, it strikes me that the oil and gas industry, particularly in offshore deepwater activity, has many parallels [with NASA’s ISS activity].”

As a quantitative tool, PRA builds on the framework of qualitative tools used by the oil industry and NASA, such as failure modes and effects analysis, hazard and operability studies, fault trees, event trees, and bow-tie assessments, Kaplan said. 

Through last year’s SPACE Act, the US Congress allows NASA to engage in partnership agreements with the external community, including private companies, to share expertise, assets, or information potentially beneficial to both parties, if NASA has excess resources available. Kaplan noted a SPACE Act agreement with Anadarko Petroleum to study the potential of PRA to mitigate operational risks in blowout preventers. Results of the study will be made available through the American Petroleum Institute and a planned technical paper this fall. 

Kaplan said he was “certainly looking forward” to creating SPACE Act agreements with other oil industry participants to examine PRA’s applicability to industry activity. He encouraged the industry to form such partnerships. He also said that NASA has a 5-year inter-agency agreement with the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to determine if PRA would be a useful tool for the offshore regulatory bureau.

Source: SPE