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AM ultra-high-expansion bridge plug trials begin

Posted on 02 Dec 2020 and read 821 times
AM ultra-high-expansion bridge plug trials beginThe picture shows Jason Duthie, lead design engineer for the M-Bubble, with the new 3-D printed bridge plug

Aberdeen-based Pragma, an oil and gas production technology business, has combined innovative design and additive manufacturing (AM) techniques to bring the industry’s first 3-D metal printed ultra-high-expansion bridge plug to market.

The company’s patented M-Bubble bridge plug has successfully completed final lab testing and is due to begin field trials by the end of 2020.

Initially targeted at both the P&A (plug-and-abandonment) sector and water shut-off applications, the first M-Bubble bridge plug addresses a gap in the market for a lower cost, fast-turnround permanent plugging solution, with a high pressure differential capability (3,000psi).

The plug can be set without additional cement to save rig time and ‘waiting-on-cement’ time, which can accumulate significant savings for the operator especially in deeper extended-reach wells.

This capability also provides ‘barrier integrity reassurance’ when there is the possibility of a poor cement bond or cement channelling occurring on the high side of deviated wells.

A plug with a 2.625in outer diameter can be run through a 3.5in tubing string, navigate internal restrictions and then be expanded into a ‘compliant shape’ within a 7in casing.

It has been designed to be universally suited to industry standard mechanical or pyrotechnic setting tools run on ‘slickline, electric line or coiled tubing’. Furthermore, the AM process can halve delivery times, allowing products to be made on demand, resulting in less stockpiling and lower costs.

Stuart Cowen, Pragmas’s technical sales manager, said: “We are now in discussion with a range of parties that are interested in collaborating to develop the M-Bubble range further. The next stage is the addition of slips, to achieve ISO 14310:2008 V3 rating.

“The V3 trials will also test the internal mechanism that makes the plug retrievable, which is currently disabled for cost-effective P&A deployments. Introducing retrievable plugs will extend the product capability to zonal isolation applications and temporary water shut-off in horizontal wells.”