Performance, Precision, Partnership

Keeping the Cement Flowing - Halliburton

HPC DSD202 at Halliburton Great Yarmouth

The process of conveying drilling cement as part of the range of cementing solutions supplied by Halliburton, one of the World’s largest oil field services companies, has benefitted from the performance of a rotary screw compressor supplied by HPC Compressed Air Systems. Halliburton’s highly specialised cementing solutions for the oil and gas industries include amongst others gas migration prevention, heavyweight and lightweight cement, life of the drilling well, lost circulation, plug cementing and even self-healing cement.

The properties of cement, such as viscosity, thickening time and strength are of prime consideration when developing these varied solutions, which are crucial to the success of a wide range of offshore and onshore land drilling well applications. Similar challenges also apply when the cement needs to be conveyed in bulk dry powder form, transferring it from storage silos to ships and road tankers for onward distribution to the point of use. The storage and distribution stage is a crucial part of the production process especially as the loading and unloading process is subject to the additional complication of tidal movements - and time and tide wait for no man, not even cement! Consequently the conveying process needs to be achieved quickly and smoothly and this is where HPC’s expertise in compressor technology has been really appreciated.

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The Challenge

The site in question is at an exposed location on the harbour side of the River Yar at Great Yarmouth, where a 110kW HPC DSD202SFC Rotary Screw Compressor injects dry compressed air into the drilling cement dry powder which effectively ‘fluidises’ it to smooth its flow during the conveying process from silo to tanker. An appropriate power supply was an issue at what is a remote, exposed site and this was a major factor in the previous decision to select a portable diesel powered compressor with a desiccant dryer for the injection process. Unfortunately the diesel compressor had become unreliable, was noisy and was prone to breakdown which had an adverse effect on the conveying process. 

Furthermore, these issues were compounded by the need for Halliburton to hire a stand-by compressor along with the associated out-of-hours support costs.

The Solution

HPC has developed a long and successful working relationship with Halliburton over many years during which time HPC has designed and specified compressors for many specialised applications which are utilised at sites around the world. Halliburton were therefore confident in HPC’s ability to supply the right solution and the decision was taken to invest in a weather-proofed HPC DSD202SFC (SIGMA Frequency Control) Rotary Screw Compressor to replace the diesel compressor used for the dry compressed air injection process.

An important factor in this decision was HPC’s ability to prove and guarantee the performance data and electrical power of their compressor, underlined by HPC providing a declaration of power conformity, despite the limitations of power supply at the site. Crucially, alternative compressor manufacturers were either unwilling, or unable to provide these assurances.

The SFC (SIGMA Frequency Control) feature is another important benefit for this application, providing optimum compressor efficiency through the continuously variable (acceleration / deceleration) speed control and a soft start with no damaging current spikes. For example, the soft, smooth rise in motor starting current from zero to full load without current spikes leads to an almost unlimited motor starting frequency (the number of possible motor starts within a given time period without overheating occurring) and contributes toward significantly reduced component stress. 

The specification also included a fully weatherproofed cabinet with a supply pipe running from the compressor to a large containerised and fully protected buffer receiver and a heatless desiccant dryer ensuring -40ºC and therefore no remaining moisture in the air. The specialised outdoor cabinet features full weather proofing complete with heaters to provide full protection against the rigours of an exposed site which eliminated the need for an additional outbuilding or shielding along with the associated costs.

The Benefits

Following installation of the HPC compressor it has operated reliably, running continuously with less noise and without any of the problems previously experienced with the portable diesel option.

Commenting on the performance of the HPC compressor for the dry compressed air injection process, Paul Dickerson, Operations Manager at Halliburton’s Great Yarmouth site said, “We really appreciate the performance of the HPC compressor and the levels of service and commitment of the HPC team in Norwich who provide us with support 24/7 always ensuring that a task has been completed to our satisfaction”.

The technically challenging Halliburton drilling cement conveying application is a good example of HPC’s ability to provide specialist and comprehensive advice and supply the best solutions for all aspects of compressed air technology, whether it be industrial electric, portable diesel units or high volume, low pressure rotary blowers.