Hardide coating solution strengthens subsea running tool

November 28, 2018

Hardide Coatings has provided a coating solution for a new tool that will save oil and gas operators millions of pounds per year by extending weather windows for drilling operations.

Well construction specialist DeltaTek Global selected the Hardide CVD (chemical vapour deposition) tungsten carbide-based coating for the key component of its new ArticuLock tool. ArticuLock provides operators with longer weather windows to deploy subsea hardware and improve operational reliability by removing bending fatigue in subsea running tools and landing strings.

The Hardide-T chemical vapour deposition (CVD) tungsten carbide-based coating was used on the key component of the tool, a complex shaped ball and socket pivot joint, which is subject to extreme loads of up to 400 tonnes, 5000 psi of working pressure and 30,000 ft.lbs of torque while operating in severe wind, wave and current environments.

Delays due to bad weather costs operators £400 million per year in the UK alone and up to 20% of drilling budgets are allocated to waiting on weather. Use of ArticuLock will allow operators to run tools in weather environments where previously drilling would have been suspended. It can increase operable wave heights by 400%, from up to 1m to up to 4m.

The severe 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.

Hardide Coatings and DeltaTek worked together to achieve the necessary hardness, thickness and smooth surface finish through coating and polishing alone, rather than using grinding.

Tristam Horn, DeltaTek CEO said: “ArticuLock will be deployed in some of the harshest oil and gas drilling environments in the world and we need its components to deliver optimal performance under extreme operating conditions. The geometry of the pivot joint body is complex and Hardide-T provided the only solution that combines the necessary wear properties with ductility and the ability to coat such designs. The Hardide coating delivers in each of these areas and is an important part of the tool’s success in offering significant cost benefits to oil and gas operators worldwide.”

 ArticuLock® was successfully field-trialled on the Stena IceMAX, a state-of-the-art harsh environment, ice-class drillship. The tool is expected to be used in regions as varied as the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Western Australia.

Hardide Coatings is also supporting DeltaTek on its Seacure cementing tool that will be field tested west of Shetland in early 2019.

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