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System reliably controls sand with "smart" shape memory polymer that conforms to borehole
HOUSTON, TEXAS – March 10, 2011 – Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) announced today the commercial launch of its GeoForm™ conformable sand management system with shape memory polymer (SMP) technology. A completely new approach to sand control, the GeoForm system reliably conforms to the borehole in an openhole environment—radically reducing complexity versus traditional gravel pack systems while improving efficiency, reducing rig time and mitigating risks associated with conventional techniques.
The system uses shape memory polymer (SMP) that is manufactured to a desired shape and size, placed on the outside of base pipe—similar to conventional screens—and then "compacted" to a smaller shape conducive to running in hole. When exposed to bottomhole temperatures and a catalyst, this "smart" material expands to its original shape to fully contact the borehole wall; conform to borehole abnormalities; and provide a positive stress on the formation. This positive stress stabilizes the near wellbore region and controls sand migration.
"We believe that the GeoForm system is a revolutionary technology that can deliver a step change in reliable performance for our offshore and deepwater markets," says Derek Mathieson, president of products and technology for Baker Hughes. "We developed the 'smart' materials used in the shape memory polymer in the GeoForm system while researching designer materials, and particularly how those materials from other scientific disciplines can be applied or modified for hydrocarbon exploration and production.
"We are especially encouraged by the commercial launch of our first product using this new technology and look forward to developing new products based on cutting-edge material science."
The ability of the GeoForm sand management system to conform to abnormalities and provide a residual borehole strain is designed to offer superior protection vs. standard gravel packs and expandable screens and to reduce the likelihood of plugging or loss of sand control due to compaction. These advantages can mitigate the risk of costly workovers. The system also affords better sand filtration efficiency covering a wider range of sand grains and requires a smaller installation footprint than traditional technology, which reduces equipment, manpower and rig time requirements.
Its modular design allows easy integration with existing Baker Hughes technologies such as EQUALIZER™ inflow control devices, Selectaflow™ screen isolation, or REPacker™ zonal isolation technology. Its flexibility also makes it an ideal solution for remediating existing sand control issues. The shape memory polymer can be deployed across the production interval to repair sanding problems through an existing completion.
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Baker Hughes provides reservoir consulting, drilling, formation evaluation, completions, pressure pumping and production products and services to the worldwide oil and gas industry.
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