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    R&D Safety

    The primary risks within the R&D department are those which are linked to the handling of heavy parts and the high pressure/high temperature tests.

    Saltel Industries has constructed secured and adapted test zones and test cells to mitigate the risks. Furthermore, each employee receives the appropriate training for any dangerous tasks such as lifting or high pressure tests. A supervisor initially accompanies the trainees during several tests, progressively giving him more autonomy.

    The “Incidents” module of the collaborative platform acts as a continuous improvement tool for all the safety procedures.

    Examples of our general recommendations for the pressure tests include:

    • All tests to be carried out in accordance with the requirements of a Saltel work permit system
    • PPE for all personnel entering and working in the barrier area
    • Tool Box Talk to be held before testing takes place
    • Clear audio and e-mail announcements to be made prior to testing
    • Pressure testing should go in steps with intermediate inspections of gauges and potential fluid leakages before reaching final pressure. Pressure testing must be done with liquid before testing with a gas
    • Pressure area should have barrier shielding to prevent personnel from entering the immediate vicinity. ONLY essential personnel are permitted into the sectioned area, and ONLY when pressure and load has been removed from the system
    • The pressure vessel will be placed in a secured and closed pit
    • Tool assembly will be oriented so all ports and plugs are pointed away from personnel, in the event of items being port fittings or plugs coming loose (a plug coming loose will have the effect of a gunshot)
    • When disassembling, personnel is to be made aware of the potential dangers of trapped pressure within the test setup.
    • Any threads that are difficult to disassemble should be reviewed for causes of difficulty before continuing.
    • Lifting operations will comply with regulations

    Products Qualification Equipment

    Saltel Industries has developed its own test equipment to qualify the products under the most severe conditions and test standards.

    • Test equipment design and manufacturing for full scale and small scale product qualification
    • Vertical Dummy well
    • Test cells designed for ISO 14310 V3 and V0 test standard (Packers and Bridge Plug qualification)

    1. Vertical Dummy well

    • Dimension:

    - Depth 6 m / 20 ft

    - Diameter 366 mm / 14.4 in

    • Pressure

    - Hydrostatic pressure up to 690 bar / 10,000 psi

    - Differential pressures up to 1,034 bar / 15,000 psi

    • Temperatures up to 220°C / 430°F
    • steel patch expansion 1
    • steel patch expansion 2
    Expandable steel patch expansion tool testing inside Saltel Industries Dummy Well

    2. Two ISO 14310 Test cells

    Saltel industries has two ISO 14310 test cells allowing for full scale products qualifications

    • Pressures up to 1,380 bar / 20,000 psi
    • Temperature up to 200°C / 390°F
    • Axial load 560 tons / 1,234,500 lb
    • Products diameters up to 508 mm / 20 in
    • Products length > 10 m / 32 ft
    • ISO 14310 1
    • ISO 14310 2
    • ISO 14310 3
    • ISO 14310 4
    ISO 14310 Test cells (top) and Expandable steel packer qualification (bottom)

    The equipment allows Saltel Industries to supply products with rated performance envelope in terms of Pressure, Temperature and Axial load according to the ISO 14310 Standard.

    performance envelope
    Example of rated performance envelope according to ISO 14310 standard

     

    Technical Expertises

    1. Elastomers

    The elastomers are key components used in most of Saltel Industries products. It is the base material of the inflatable packers and also the means of sealing our Expandable Steel Patches and Packers. R&D knowledge includes

    • Development, mixing and tests of new compounds (HNBR, FKM, FEPM, FFKM)
    • Swelling elastomers
    • Elastomer-to-metal bonding

    Many tests can be performed internally on Saltel Industries proprietary elastomer compounds such as tensile tests, compression set measurement, hardness tests, air/fluid aging, HCl compatibility, swelling pressure tests, and elastomer-to-metal bonding shear tests.

    • technology 1
    • technology 2
    New compound mixing (left) and Swelling elastomer custom-built pressure test equipment (right)

    2. Metallic materials

    Metallic materials
    Steel tensile test and elongation

    Metallic materials knowledge is crucial to develop reliable and life-of-the-well expandable steel solutions. Metallic materials should be compatible with the well conditions and the expansion process. R&D knowledge includes

    • Metallurgy
    • Corrosion (NACE, Literature, Tests…)
    • Plastic deformation
    • Welding

    As an example, elongation and tensile properties of several metallurgies with different manufacturing processes and heat treatments have been tested internally with our tensile testing equipment.

    3. FEA (Finite Element Analysis)

    Elastomer, steel, fluid and rock models are incorporated within FEA analysis to validate and improve the design at early stages. The FEA is used for

    FEA of steel expansion

    • Products general design
    • Metal / Elastomer / Borehole interfaces
    • Expandable seals for HP/HT and Cased hole / Openhole
    • Multiphysics (Thermal effects, Fluidics…)
    • Stress applied to the formation
    • Non-Liner Simulation

    4.Downhole tools design

    Design rules specific to downhole tools have been acquired through the development of the product range. This knowledge such as design rules, CAD tips, calculation sheets are put in a unique R&D Best Practice document. This document is available to all the R&D engineers on the knowledge management platform.

    • Design rules and Calculation sheets
    • Design guidelines and Best practices
    • CAD 1
    • CAD 2
    CAD (left) and R&D Best Practice document (right)
    Expandable steel patch
    Expandable steel patch downhole expansion tools

     

    R&D Objectives and Methodology

    The objective of Research and Development (R&D) is to provide new and efficient solutions (in terms of cost and results) to the operators.

    Being an innovator within the oil and gas industry isn’t easy.  The risks are great, well integrity must be ensured and the investment at stake is considerable.

    Saltel Industries works in close collaboration with oil companies for the development and qualification of new products. Product champions are the technical interface between the client and the R&D team.

    The introduction of a new product to the marketplace must follow a very strict procedure.  This procedure helps to guarantee minimum risk and provide an excellent match between the requirements and expected results for the operator in a very difficult environment.

    The process of creating a new product must rely on experienced development engineers, who impeccably understand the oil environment.

    The rigid methodology which is applied, from the customer needs definition to the product qualification, can all be followed on a TRL scale.

    Innovation is part of the company culture. Innovation and creativity of Saltel Industries’ R&D team is unquestionable. The company has applied for 38 family patents since its creation in 2004 and all the product ranges rely on strong and pioneer patents.

    Saltel industries’ R&D and Innovation team is composed of 15 people, all either PhDs, engineers, or technicians.

    The creativity of the engineers is encouraged by the management. It is considered as the starting point for technological breakthroughs for new products and applications.