26 May, 2024

Subsea technology to aid unconventional well demands

27 March, 2018

At the recently held Subsea Expo Conference & Exhibition in Aberdeen, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions showcased its sealing technology specifically developed to meet the demands of accessing unconventional wells.

Having recognised that subsea exploration has moved to greater depths, the company set about developing what it describes as the most sophisticated technology the industry has ever seen. The result was the XploR range of sealing materials, an entire family of advanced elastomers especially developed for oil & gas applications, each featuring low compression set characteristics.

Superior methanol resistance

The materials are claimed to exhibit superior methanol resistance and optimal chemical resistance for enhanced oil recovery applications, along with increased high temperature capabilities. Available in all standard international O-ring sizes and cross-sections, they are also suitable for custom-engineered solutions and specially designed seal profiles such as V-stacks.

Andrew Longdon, the UK technical manager for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, commented: “Unconventional wells are essentially any reservoir that requires special recovery operations outside the conventional operating practices. This means the processing technology must be able to meet high pressure/high temperature (HP/HT) conditions.

“Conventional subsea operating temperatures of up to +120degC/ +248degF increase in unconventional wells to over +200degC/ +392degF in deep reservoirs, while typical pressures have on occasion trebled from a previous standard of 69 MPa/ 10,000 psi to 207 MPa/ 30,000 psi.”

Critical element

Seals are a critical element within subsea systems, particularly valves and downhole tools. They ensure the oilfield equipment is working to its optimum capacity, as wells are the primary barrier to preventing any system fluid loss or system fluid contamination from external sources.

Longdon said: “Our specialist XploR grades include HNBR materials that exhibit exceptional low temperature sealing performance making them suitable for use within high pressure/low temperature applications, whilst further XploR HNBR materials exhibit superior low compression set performance and high temperature sealing capability.

“Additionally, high mechanical strength XploR HNBR grades provide outstanding wear and abrasion capabilities, making them suitable for use in dynamic applications. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is always one step ahead of the industry and we very quickly recognised that standard sealing solutions and materials of previous years were unable to withstand the extreme operating temperatures and pressures of drilling at greater depths. We knew specialised solutions in both material and seal profile technology would be required in order for the industry to start exploring unconventional wells.”




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