InnovOil catches up with some of its previously featured companies, to see how they and their innovations have fared
Speaking with companies developing or releasing new innovations is always interesting, but it can be rare to hear from those further down the line. It is not often that we later question how the market, or whether something needed substantial modifications or changed priorities to bring its benefits to the fore. In the spirit of this, we caught up with several of our previous contributors and interviewees to find out what is new, what has changed, and how their innovations have fared in a notoriously cautious industry.
Back in Issue 4, we featured Norway’s Geomec, an independent well and reservoir specialist gearing up to launch its GeoTool (Inject) software package. Its monitoring and analysing software is designed to prevent and remediate well-injection leakages, allowing operators to monitor and identify problems in real time and alerting them to potential incidents before they happen.
Well-monitoring software is, naturally, a great asset and big business to operators. Proof of the product’s success came in the form of a raft of recent deals with UK and Norwegian operators, one of which was signed with none other than Statoil.
Geomec CEO Jarle Steen Stueflotten explained to InnovOil: “We have had a very long dialogue with Statoil; they also contributed to the development of the product. We ran a pilot with them and that was successful so we then entered into discussion for a framework agreement.”
The market is also a very different place now in comparison with 2012. “At the moment operators are very cost-orientated,” Stueflotten says. “Before, their focus was purely on safe and reliable products, but now it’s much more about cost reduction as well – that’s their primary focus on the North Sea. In the US they’re much more about added production, so it varies a little from region.”
Their product, however, has remained relatively unaltered, save for a change in strategy and a pick-up in interest. “At that point, we had software we sold as a service – now we are able to sell it as standalone software. We’re also splitting it further so operators will soon be able to buy a monitoring package or an analysis package. We’ve actually seen more interest in our product because [operators are] cost-conscious,” he continues.
Now business is good. Stueflotten cites “several good negotiations going on in the Norway and the UK,” and – perhaps nicest of all – “more and more operators are calling us,” he beams.
Leaving a trace
Since last featuring in September 2014, UK-based Tracerco has continued to expand its suite of chemical tracers for oil and gas. Research Chemist Aidan Brierley spoke to us about some of the company’s major developments over the past year.
Soluble tracers can be used to measure the movement of gas or liquid hydrocarbon phases in the well, while others can report on the effectiveness of frack water clean-out from each frack stage. Tracerco’s technology allows operators to measure which sections of an existing well are the most productive and reduce the amount of uncertainty from future development, without the need for well intervention.
The value of this added information means that customer interest has remained very positive. Even in a tough market, Brierley says that demand has been high. He adds: “We’re continuing to develop new oil and gas tracers and we now have more than we ever had before.”
Despite a slump in the US market for many service suppliers, it continues to be a substantial part of the firm’s business. Its footprint in the Middle East has grown, while unconventionals in Australia, Latin America and India has also meant healthy demand. In addition, he says that “work in China has been a fairly recent take-off. As their frack technology has come on line they’re starting to call on our services more and more.”
A key part of Tracerco’s strategy is that its research and its new products are all driven by customer needs. In one instance, this has involved improving tracer characteristics for specific well conditions such as HPHT, Brierley says. “We have developed tracer suites which allow us to serve those wells at really high temperatures and pressures, reliably and robustly and with a really good analytical system that gives people peace of mind.”
Likewise, planning an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) strategy can also be improved via the application of tracer technology. “We have methods that allow us to quantify residual oil by injecting different types of tracers and then track them across the field. That gives you loads of information about both the sweep and the residual oil remaining in the field,” Brierley notes.
This has also led the company to set up five fully mobile laboratories. These contain the full range of equipment found in the company’s onshore labs, but can be deployed to wherever they are needed – even offshore. The result is that operators can receive tracer information and results in minutes rather than weeks.
All in all, it would seem that 2015 has been a successful year. “It’s a tough environment,” he says, “But we’re managing to still flourish in it – given the challenges we’re doing really well.”
Deep Casing Tools, a firm which designs and engineers casing and completions technology, has seen international interest increase in its high-speed Turborunner™ and Turbocaser™ Express reaming system. Last featured in May 2014, the company was already enjoying success, having won the regional award for Venture Capital-backed Management Team of the Year, in the BVCA Management Team Awards 2014.
Turborunner – also previously marketed as Shalerunner – is a free-spinning turbine tool which begins rotating at low flow rates. They are designed to run on the end of a production liner or lower completion to remove well bore obstructions by circulation alone.
In addition to being free-spinning, Turborunner also offers a unique operational safety factor. When a turbine stalls, the circulating pressure reduces by several hundred psi, eliminating any risk of setting a liner hanger or packer in the wrong place, whilst at the same time providing a warning signal at the surface.
TurbocaserExpress attaches to the casing or liner below the float equipment as part of the shoe track. If obstructions are encountered when running casing or liners, circulation is all that is required to start the reamer shoe rotating at high speed to wash and ream the string to bottom.
Deep Casing Tools marketing communications director, Avril Carruthers, told InnovOil that the past 18 months had seen the company build on its foothold in the Middle East and Gulf States, with a growth in sales and orders based on its successes in the region during 2014.
In addition – and despite the oil market’s downturn – taking on new clients in Eastern Europe, and as far afield as Kazakhstan, is an encouraging boost to the company and the technology. Carruthers says that the firm’s USP is that Turborunner is “an enabling technology with a simple approach. We provide the opportunity to get the job done better.”