Well construction specialist, DeltaTek Global develops innovative products for the oil and gas drilling industry that are intelligent and cost saving and can be efficiently implemented. ArticuLock® is a new tool designed to provide operators with longer weather windows to deploy subsea hardware and improve operational reliability by removing bending fatigue through subsea running tools and landing strings. The tool has global relevance; it is equally effective in big wave and strong current environments. ArticuLock has the potential to save operators multi-millions of pounds/dollars per year; in the UK alone, waiting on bad weather windows costs operators £400 million per year.
ArticuLock is designed to operate in harsh environments where high winds or strong currents frequently delay drilling operations. This is a regular occurrence in regions from the North Sea and West of Shetland to Australia, New Zealand, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Africa. A key component of the tool is a 12.5” x 6” pivot joint comprising a ball and socket that can be subject to extreme loads of up to 400MT, 5000psi of working pressure and 30,000ft.lbs of torque while operating in severe weather conditions. The high-wear and acute operating conditions meant that a hard-wearing coating was needed for the pivot joint body, which is manufactured in AISI 4330V alloy steel – widely used in the oil and gas sector. The complex grooved geometry on the ball of the pivot joint body presented a further challenge to achieving the necessary post-coat surface finish.
DeltaTek evaluated HVOF and Hardide-T as possible solutions and selected the Hardide CVD (chemical vapour deposition) tungsten carbide-based coating due to its ability to coat internal and complex surfaces and achieve a smooth and uniform surface finish without the need for post-coat grinding. Hardide Coatings worked with DeltaTek to coat the pivot joint body and achieve the required hardness, thickness and surface topography from coating and polishing alone, eliminating the need for grinding. With the Hardide-T coated pivot joint in place, ArticuLock was successfully field-trialled on the Stena IceMAX, the state-of-the-art harsh environment, ice-class drillship.
The trials proved that ArticuLock enables a level of articulation that allows operators to run tools in weather environments where previously drilling would have been suspended. It can increase operable weather limits for installing subsea equipment by up to 400%, increasing operable wave heights from up to 1m to up to 4 m. The tool is now proven for the commercial environment where it will be deployed on operational rigs worldwide.
Hardide Coatings is also supporting DeltaTek with an application on its SeaCure® cementing tool that will be field-tested West of Shetland in H1 2019.