Grampian oil firm pioneers world’s first go-faster, hydraulic sand-control pipeline tool in Norwegian N. Sea

CGI of the Darcy hydraulic sceen
CGI of the Darcy hydraulic sceen

A north-east engineering specialist has successfully installed the first ‘pump-free’ patented hydraulic alternative to gravel-packing in the oil industry.

Kintore-based sand control engineering firm Darcy has fitted its downhole tool in Statoil’s Statfjord oil field in the Norwegian North Sea.

The system provides ‘pump-free’ sand control delivering increased operational efficiency and simplifying logistics to reduce time and costs.

For the first time in the industry, it utilises patented hydraulic technology that is easily activated from surface to provide an alternative to gravel-packing, which is more time and labour intensive.

The mature Statfjord field faces geological and economic challenges with continuous pressure depletion and reduced margins for pumping traditional open-hole gravel packs.

In collaboration with Statoil’s completion equipment suppliers, the activation of Darcy’s ‘hydraulic screen’ took less than 60 minutes of rig time. A reservoir isolation barrier was closed and tested prior to pulling out of the hole and completion operations concluded with production flowing.

Steve Bruce, Chief Executive of Darcy, said; “Statoil recognises the use of our hydraulic screen technology as the primary sand control system in a low bottom-hole pressure environment as an industry first.

“With 70% of mature and deep water oil and gas wells requiring sand control and experiencing costly challenges, we believe there is a significant market for the hydraulic screen due to its ease of installation and ability to cope with downhole geo-mechanical and production loading through the life of the well.”

In the Statfjord example, only two Darcy engineers were needed to install and activate the system and were down-manned within 10 hours.

The company, which was founded in Aberdeenshire in 2009, takes its name from Darcy’s Law, which characterises flow in porous media. Darcy’s majority shareholder is the London-based private equity Group Epi-V.

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