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INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED to simplify the commissioning of oil and gas wells has been launched in Aberdeen after leading equipment developer PTC responded to a plea from the industry.


Statoil raised a major issue to PTC founding director Tom Norland – the need to pull and replace dummy valves from new wells during well commissioning, which typically incur 24 hours rig time and costing up to one million pounds when a new well is drilled or an existing well re-completed.

A replacement for the "dumb iron" dummy valve has now been developed by PTC's industry-leading well completion technology specialists – dubbed the intelligent dummy.

The intelligent dummy, like PTC's chemical injection valves, is a derivative of its high integrity gas-lift valves which are recognised as industry-leading technology in terms of their design and reliability.

With an intelligent dummy (ID) in place, a new well can be fully pressure tested before the ID is opened remotely, allowing kill fluid in the well to be circulated out and replaced with a kick off fluid, before being permanently closed-off remotely.

All the valve manipulations occur in response to pressurisation of the fluids in the well at surface, without any need for either expensive well interventions, temperamental electronics or complex hydraulic control systems

Tom Norland says: "Dummy valves are inflexible and for every one deployed you are looking at a full day of rig-time, which in cost terms could range from £500,000 to one million pounds.

"We were asked to develop a dummy which would shear-open at a certain pressure in the well annulus, then close again when pressure is held on both the tubing and annulus.

"We called our evolution of the component the 'intelligent dummy' as a nod to its static predecessor, and following testing it has proven that it is capable of answering the design question we were asked."

Established in Norway in 2002, PTC employs more than 50 people world-wide, with turnover in excess of £10mn. The company provides specialist equipment which delivers a step-change in the integrity, reliability and productivity of oil and gas wells.

Led by founding director Tom Norland, the team at PTC includes some of the best-known names in the well technology arena. Former Helix RDS founders Alan Brodie and Joe Allan, Ian Taggart who spent 30 years with Shell and Jim Hardie, who owned PECO, are among the team.

Based in Stavanger, Houston and Aberdeen, PTC designs and manufactures a range of patented equipment which delivers unrivalled reliability and performance – in-turn significantly increasing integrity, operational efficiency, productivity and lifecycle economics.

PTC also manufactures well barrier accredited chemical injection systems and hydraulic jet pump systems capable of producing more than 25,000 bpd.