Hunting, ExxonMobil move to next phase of Autonomous Project for field testing


HOUSTON -- Hunting’s Titan Division and ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co. entered into a joint agreement in 2015 to develop autonomous tool technology that creates a revolutionary step change in well completion and P&A. After meeting several development milestones, Hunting and ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co. announced that field trials for the autonomous tools will begin in late 2018. Commercialization is expected to follow shortly thereafter.

Hunting’s Milford Texas facility’s 5,200-ft flow loop. Photo: Hunting.

The autonomous tools have proprietary anomaly detection and depth correction algorithms verified in a 5,200-ft long horizontal flow loop at Hunting’s Milford Texas facility, constructed with 5-1/2-in. OD, 20 lb/ft, P110 HC Casing with Hunting’s SEAL-LOCK HT Premium Connections technology. The flow loop was designed to simulate well conditions in horizontal well applications. This flow loop allows the autonomous tool to be accelerated to velocities of up to 35 ft/sec depending on the pump configuration.

Simulated autonomous tool detection and error correction algorithms provide a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of perforation placements and other “on-the-fly” deployments at velocities of up to 50 ft/sec. Verification of the tool’s positional accuracy at randomly chosen points along the flow loop will be performed using non-destructive testing techniques. Field confirmation will be done at one of ExxonMobil’s locations by using a tubing punch fired from an autonomous tool in a vertical well.

Methods, procedures, hardware, and energetics are being developed concurrently with refinements to the autonomous tools to ensure a safe assembly and launch. Tests are currently underway on different tool configurations including jet cutters and setting tools and plugs. The Titan Division’s Energetics team is currently developing hardened jet cutters with other applicable energetics for autonomous P&A operations. The hardware designed to launch autonomous tools will be furnished by Hunting’s Well Intervention Division. Simulated tool handling and launching will be carried out at Hunting’s Milford Texas facility through a test well configured with a common North American wellhead.

Hunting’s goal for the Autonomous Project is to provide the industry a new innovative, cost-saving, and safe method of performing well completion and P&A operations.

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