Equiflow Autonomous Inflow Control Devices

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 14:50

Halliburton acquired the Norwegian company Easy Well Solutions AS in 2005 with the goal of further developing one of its abandoned, but innovative technologies: the Inflow Control Device (ICD). Even though the Norwegian company had the basic idea and concept of the technology, the device created by Halliburton in 2012 was drastically different from the original model.

The creation of the Equiflow Autonomous Inflow Control Device (AICD) took two and half years to create because of various complications and unforeseen events. The first design of this technology was extremely expensive and too large – about 5 inches (12.7cm) in diameter and 2 feet (60.96cm) long – while the final version is smaller than the size of a credit card – 1/8th of an inch (3.175mm) thick and 2 inches by 1 1/4 inches (5.08cm x 3.175cm) in diameter. Furthermore, the final version, which won an Offshore Technology Conference Spotlight on New Technology award in 2012, does not have any moving parts and ultimately gives operators the ability to ease production by delaying water and gas breakthrough, reducing water and gas production after breakthrough, and increasing recovery from the well.

Since water and gas are detrimental to oil production and they take up room in the pipe, the EquiFlow AICD uses state-of-the-art technology to identify what specific liquids are travelling through a pipeline. This is achieved because the EquiFlow AICD uses an engineering system that controls the flow of fluids through three dynamic fluid components: a viscosity selector, a flow switch, and a flow restrictor. In order to send the right fluids through the

correct flow path, the viscosity selector utilizes a system that detects fluid viscosity, density, and velocity, identifies the fluid or fluids flowing through the Equiflow AICD, and then divides the total flow among two flow paths. After the fluids are divided into the different flow paths depending on their properties, the flow restrictor comes into play by limiting the flow of unwanted gas and water into the wellbore, while providing little restriction to the production of oil.

Halliburton states that the EquiFlow AICD is designed to be a simple, reliable, and cost-effective solution to the limitations of passive inflow control that maximizes reservoir performance, minimizes undesired fluid production, and increases reliability through design simplicity. The first EquiFlow AICD was installed at an offshore platform in Mexico last summer. It has been so successful not only because the device maximizes the ultimate recovery factor of fields, but also because it increases reliability through design simplicity, reduces undesired fluid production, helps reduce cost and risk associated with unwanted fluid production, and helps delay the onset of unwanted water or gas production. The EquiFlow AICD is capable of achieving all these benefits for operators because it functions autonomously, it contains no moving parts, electronics, or connections to the surface, requires no intervention and no downhole orientation, will cease flow restriction if unwanted fluid recedes, utilizes innovative dynamic fluid technology to direct flow, functions as a standard ICD prior to water/gas breakthrough, and each device works independently for precise response to the reservoir.