State-of-the-Art

Wireline Technology

The best wireline equipment is a performance advantage.

When it comes to wireline services, having the best equipment is essential. Performance matters. If you’re completing a well, the stakes are always high. The best equipment always gives you a performance advantage.

As Kelly Connally, CEO of Integrity Wireline, has remarked, “Everyone wants the best of the best on their location.” Every operator wants every shift to come off without a hitch.

But it’s more than that.

Having superior equipment and tools—utilizing the most advanced technology available—means fewer breakdowns, fewer work stoppages, and less downtime. If it’s a completion job you’re doing, then “downtime” means a lot more than just wireline crew downtime. It means downtime for a veritable army of personnel on site for a frac job. We’re talking an entire fleet of pressure pumping trucks, plus all the assembled contractors and others who make such an ambitious operation happen.

No one wants a job of this magnitude to come to a grinding halt. That’s why superior technology and cutting-edge hardware always pay for themselves. It takes just one breakdown for any “cost cutting,” where a multi-million-dollar well completion job is concerned, to become a regrettable decision.

kelly-connally-ceo-integrity-wireline
Kelly Connally, CEO, Integrity Wireline

Experience Pays Benefits

The same is true where your contractor’s worker experience levels are concerned—experience always pays benefits.

Here, though, our point is technology and the economics of using advanced, high-performance hardware. After years of pumpdown stage work for some of the biggest operators in the business—EOG Resources, XTO Energy, Marathon Oil, and Mack Energy among them—Integrity Wireline has perfected its systems and its operations.

Because the stakes are so high, Integrity employs equipment that is second to none.

Here are just three examples of advanced technology that Integrity puts to use for its oilfield partners.

A modern-day hydraulic fracturing operation (what some call a “well completion”) can involve a fleet of 18-wheeler pressure pumping trucks. Sometimes there can be as many as 25 of them, or more. And there are other teams on site, besides. This is a carefully orchestrated job, and downtime, if it occurs, is extremely costly. That’s why wireline teams must have the finest equipment available, and have experienced crew members running that equipment. (Image Source Wikipedia)

Rig Latch System

Rig Latch is a device gives us what is called a “wellhead quick connection.” The technical term for the unit we operate is “hydraulic latch assembly.” It employs hydraulics to perform some functions remotely. That keeps crew members from having to work from a man-basket, in proximity to the wellhead.

Rig Latch seals the connection of surface equipment to the wellhead. With Rig Latch in place, a crew can quickly rig up or rig down their pressure control equipment. It cuts connection times by 20 to 40 percent.

Rig Latch Device
Rig Latch DeviceThis image shows the actual Rig Latch device (left) and its related hardware (right).
Rig Latch Illustration
Rig Latch IllustrationThis illustration shows the basic shape and configuration of a Rig Latch System, also known as a Hydraulic Latch Assembly.

The Rig Latch System removes any need for having personnel in the hot zone when it’s necessary to make or break connections. The system allows frac and wireline to operate simultaneously, and thus saves a lot of time each “trip” downhole. Not every wireline company uses Rig Latch, but Integrity Wireline does. It’s one more reason why Integrity Wireline has a stellar safety rating. Plus, it saves customers’ money. And makes everyone more productive.

Its holding system is fail-safe, having multiple safety redundancies to ensure safe operation. Our system allows frac and wireline to operate simultaneously and saves 15 to 25 minutes each trip. And it is one of the only field-reparable hydraulic latches in the industry—another plus on a high-activity, high-stakes frac site.

Addressable Gun System

There are essentially two kinds of gun systems used today in most wireline perforating applications. One is the old system of E.B. pressure switches, and the other is what is called an addressable gun system.
Integrity Wireline uses addressable systems.

Matt Hargett, Director of Operations

Matt Hargett
Director of Operations for Integrity Wireline

Integrity’s director of operations, Matt Hargett, explains it this way: “If you’re using pressure switches and just one gun does not fire in a gun string, the wireline team must come out of the hole and correct the issue before resuming operations,” Hargett said. That costs time.

But with addressable systems, when a perforating gun string is pumped downhole, the engineer can “address” which gun is being shot, and where it’s being shot. If a string includes ten guns and the fifth gun does not fire, the engineer, working at his console at the surface, can skip that gun and proceed to the sixth gun and fire it. And he can keep firing the remaining guns in the gun string.

Another big advantage of addressable gun systems is that they are “radio frequency safe.” There might be numerous radios in operation on a frac site, but none of the frequencies will ever accidentally denotate one of the guns in an addressable system.

Going Ballistic

Not every wireline company employs a ballistic release tool. But for those wireline companies that deal with big operators and large well completion jobs, this tool is a true “ace in the hole.”

Simply put, the ballistic release tool is an added ingredient to a tool string, and it allows the engineer to release from the bottom hole assembly if the assembly should for any reason become stuck. It’s “ballistic,” meaning that it can be detonated.

Ballistic Release Tool

Ballistic Release Tool

This “cutaway” view of a Ballistic Release Tool shows some of the inner components. (Cutaways are made using bandsaws. The wiring you see here was inserted after the cuts were made.) The ballistic release tool is an important part of Integrity Wireline’s arsenal of downhole tools. With the BRT installed in a tool string, the crew can remotely detach (at will) from a wireline run, which sometimes is necessary if the tool string becomes stuck. Subsequent recovery of the stuck tool string is then easier and quicker than if the BRT had not been employed.

Ballistic Release Tool

Why should a wireline crew ever want to release from a tool string? It’s because trying to use the wireline itself to pull free of a stuck position can sometimes be unwise. Better to make a clean break and then retrieve the stuck components using coil tubing. There’s less danger of having to do a “fishing job” to grapple out broken-off wireline (wire that may have snapped off from being stressed too hard) that remains in a wellbore.

A ballistic release tool usually doesn’t get deployed in a downhole run. But if ever the time comes for it to be deployed, the savings in time and trouble—for everyone waiting above ground, including pressure pumpers and other frac technicians—is priceless.

Another view (from a spec sheet) of a Ballistic Release Tool. The term “ballistic” applies because an explosive device, which can be fired remotely and wirelessly, is what severs the connection downhole, saving equipment, time, and expense. See text for explanation.

The Bottom Line

Wireline is all we do. As Integrity Wireline’s CEO Kelly Connally has been known to say, “We at the top of our game in terms of equipment, hands, and the ability to complete a job successfully and in a timely manner. Plus doing so in a way that saves the operator money.”

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