NOV introduces new well-service fluid ends and valves to Permian basin

National Oilwell Varco (NOV) has introduced its Patriot fluid end and Blue Thunder valves in the Permian basin.

HOUSTON -- As the intensity of completing unconventional wells continues to grow, so too do the demands on fracturing equipment. Longer laterals, rising stage counts, and increased pressures and proppant loadings per stage make hydraulic fracturing an extremely difficult—and consumptive—enterprise, particularly in the challenging wells seen in regions like the Permian basin.

During the persistent downturn of the past several years, pressure pumpers had to complete wells more economically, often cutting costs in any way possible to keep pace until the oil price found equilibrium. This meant service providers might choose less expensive, lower-performing versions of components like well-service fluid ends and valves simply to remain profitable in the short term despite sacrificing quality and lifespan in the long term. Now that pricing has begun to recover, pressure pumpers are seeking a return to quality and performance. Recognizing the need for a solution, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) has introduced its Patriot fluid end and Blue Thunder valves in the Permian basin.

The Patriot advances fluid end technology to be even more applicable in high-activity areas like the Permian. The new stainless-steel fluid end exhibits peak stresses within 5% of a Y-block fluid end, realizing low-stress advantage without higher maintenance requirements, and improved geometry yields a 40% stress reduction in the bore intersection. A two-piece valve retainer allows easier assembly and gives clear “line-of-sight” confirmation for proper alignment, which typically isn’t offered with other grooveless fluid ends.

The Patriot has a 26% increase in flow area around the suction and discharge valves, which reduces cavitation and fluid-end washouts, and a discharge flange allows full access for impact and torque wrenches. Additionally, a wing-style gauge connection eliminates the need for a cheater bar, and plug-and-play interchangeability with most manufacturer’s quintuplex power ends ensures broad applicability—a significant benefit in areas like the Permian, where there is substantial variety in product offerings.

The Blue Thunder well-service valves, available fully bonded or with snap-on insert, significantly enhance service life. Rated to maximum temperature of 180°F (82°C) and maximum pressure of 20,000 psi, the valves’ forged high-strength steel unibody construction allows greater flow area and is designed to handle even extremely high amounts of solid contents, which are commonly seen in the Permian. The new valves reduce abrasion, which results in few replacements, longer run times, and reduced cost per pumping hour, and are compatible with most fracturing pump fluid ends.

An independent oilfield service company operating in the Permian basin recognized that the value of implementing high-performance, long-lasting well-service valves far exceeded the higher initial investment. The service company’s previous valves had failed as often as every 20 to 25 stages, leading to costly cycles of downtime associated with equipment maintenance. After using the Blue Thunder valves, the service company saw a marked increase in wear resistance, with the Blue Thunder valves typically lasting two times longer, and sometimes up to three times longer, than the company’s previously used valves. The impact was immediate, as the service company was able to eliminate unnecessary maintenance cycles and associated periods of downtime from their schedule—and in demanding shales like the Permian, time is always critical.

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