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Home / Issue Archive / 2008 / August #8 / Hydraulic Fracturing Fleet from Fidmash

№ 8 (August 2008)

Hydraulic Fracturing Fleet from Fidmash

NOV FIDmash does not need to be introduced to the regular readers. This company is well-known both in Russia and abroad. In short time, it became the leading manufacturer of equipment for oil and gas industry, and now it can be proud of its brand.

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NOV FIDmash does not need to be introduced to the regular readers. This company is well-known both in Russia and abroad. In short time, it became the leading manufacturer of equipment for oil and gas industry, and now it can be proud of its brand.
Nearly half of its production FIDmash delivers to the international service companies. A quarter of its production is purchased by the CIS companies, and another quarter – by Russian oil and gas producers. Equipment made by NOV FIDmash is successfully used by such industry giants, as Gazsprom, Rosneft, LUKOIL, Surgutneftegaz, Tatneft, Bashneft, Ukrneft, Ukrgazdobycha, etc.  
The company specializes in design and manufacturing of coiled tubing equipment (used for well workover and sidetracking with steel coiled tubing) for oil and gas industry. Its coiled tubing units enjoy great reputation. Three out of four units of this kind, today working in Russia, have been manufactured by FIDmash’s design-engineering department and workshops. It should be specially mentioned here that apart from improving its traditional products, the company also masters manufacturing of new products. Its first hydraulic fracturing fleet was put into operation in November, 2007. The complete set of equipment implementing this complex and expensive technology has been made by order of Belorusneft,  the Republican Unitary Enterprise of Production Association.
Certainly, compared to those of Russia, Belarus’ oil reserves are much smaller. But having been in production for a long time, “elderly” wells of Polesye suffer difficulties, of which their West-Siberian “counterparts” have become aware only recently:  as the result of intensive production, the so-called active reserves have decreased significantly, and the share of hard-to-recover reserves contained in the low-permeable reservoirs has increased.
It took quite a time for Belorusneft to decide purchasing a  fracturing fleet. It would be naive to believe that Belorusneft gave preference to the products of the Belorussian company just because it wished to “support domestic manufacturers.” The company mostly uses equipment made by world leading manufacturers, and  purchase of domestic equipment in this case stands out as an exeption of a kind. Rechitsa specialists  had a chance to evaluate  performance of fracturing fleets made by various manufacturers. There were few unsuccessful and rather inefficient attempts to invate third-party contractors to service Belorussian wells. In 1997 Dowell Schlumberger performed pilot operations on five wells. Efficiency of these operations appeared to be rather low, as the applied technologies were not adapted to the specific conditions of Belorussian fields. The idea of hydraulic fracturing in Rechitsa was fogrotten for the next seven years, but the portion of hard-to-recover reserves was increasing steadily. Thus, in 2004 the Russian company Purnefteotdacha was contracted for eight hydraulic fracturing operations. Some of them were quite successful, but frac jobs in the intervals composed by strong sandstone (with the pay bed occurring at depths exceeding 3 200 meters) failed, as the Russian frac fleet apparently was not powerful enough.
The Polish company KROSNO became the next outsider, which succeeded in a series of operations, but also failed at the three-kilometer depth.
On summarizing important experience and thoroughly analyzing producing wells, BelNIPIneft specialists arrived at conclusion that it is necessary to perform up to 50-70 operations in 150-200 wells a year. Given the work scope, it would  make sense for Belorusneft to acquire its own fracturing fleet. Yet, the main conclusion was that the equipment should be “customer-tailored” and manufactured to suit geological conditions of the region and particular operations; in Belarus’ case it’s  significant (up to 4,000-4,500 meters) depth of rock occurrence characterized by very high tensile strength.
The institute prepared specifications for the equipment, and FIDmash specialists designed and manufacture fracturing fleet by order of their fellow countrymen.
The new equipment was delivered to Rechitsa in November of 2007. Early in December, thanks to prompt pre-commissioning, in which the manufacturer’s representatives took part, the frac fleet was put into operation and proved its efficiency. Depending on the initial production rate, the increment varied from 1 to 29.9 tons per day. Belorusneft’s frac fleet, designed and manufactured by FIDmash specialists, proved that such sophisticated equipment should be custom-made to suit particular conditions of an oil-producing region.
At present, thousands of frac jobs are performed in the wells all over the world annually. According to statistical data, in Russia alone, in the period of 2001-2006, the number of these operations increased by 26 percent a year, and in value terms services in this area grew from $189 million to $584 million. This resulted from the sharp increase of the amount of operations – on average, from 1,700 to 5,800 operations a year. However, ironically enough, quantitative growth was accompanied by the qualitative decline: from 14 million tons of incremental production (in the current declining well stock) in 2004 to 11 and 10 million tons in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Experts predict further decline: wide application of the hydraulic fracturing technology in the early years resulted in reduction of “good wells”, especially those drilled in the terrigenous rocks suitable for application of this technology. To resolve this problem, it may be necessary to produce more powerful, heavy fracturing systems.
NOV FIDmash offers exactly this kind of systems. Focus on heavy systems is not accidental: low-power pumping units would be useless in deep wells of the Rechitskoye field which is now at the fourth stage of development. FIDmash produces the whole range of the hydraulic fracturing equipment; Schlumberger has been the main consumer of this equipment so far. The equipment package includes pumping and hydration units, blenders, manifold blocks and elements, control stations, totalling nearly 40 pieces manufactured during the last four years. However, the complete hydraulic fracturing fleet designed by the FIDmash specialists is operated only by Belorusneft so far.
It includes three mobile pumping units N2501-10 intended for deeply extending, massive and local fractures of the formation, and also for independent well flushing, bottomhole zone hydraulic jet treatment, and tubing pressure testing. Triple-plunger pumps SPM TWS-2250 equipped with the drive motors Caterpillar САТ3512В (2250 horsepower) and Аllison S9800 transmission (the motor and transmission can be from other manufacturers – at the customer’s request) are mounted on the eight-by-eight all-wheel drive chassis MZKT-652712. One of these pumps can produce the operating pressure up to 137 MPa. The maximum pumping rate is 5,700 liters per minute.
The automatic control system on the basis of standard controllers enables operators to control the operations with the help of a handy portable console, with all the information displayed on one monitor.
Another important element of the fracturing fleet is a blender for preparation of the working fluid required for hydraulic fracturing of the formation and mixtures of hydraulic fracturing fluids with the proppant, liquid or dry chemicals. The model MS-600 is one of the best blenders in the world. The unit’s maximum capacity is 9.5 cu. m/min, proppant delivery rate reaches 6,800 kg/min, and proppant concentration in the working fluid can reach 2,400 kg/ cu. m.
The blender is mounted on the six-by-six chassis MAZ-631708 and can be operated either independently, or as a part of the set of the hydraulic fracturing equipment, for example, for injecting fracturing fluid into the inlet of high-flow pumps. Starting from the next year, the customers will be able to buy a blender mounted on the chassis MZKT 65-275 or Mercedes-Benz Actros 2741 characterized by the higher cross-country ability.
And after all, the manifold machine MT4-105 and proppant batching unit T-40, powerful dump truck on the basis of the truck tractor MZKT capable to transport 20 tons of cargo and rated for 40 tons of useful load. 
The whole complex is controlled (with the help of the computerized systems providing information on a real-time basis, and with possible manual control as well) by operator, whose working place is located at the SKU1 control station; this station is equipped with power supply source, industrial computer and printer, local communication system, as well as with heating and air conditioning systems since oil is usually produced in the harshest climatic environment.
Though hydraulic fracturing operations are common worldwide, and this technology is in great demand from the side of oil-producing companies, there are not many fracturing equipment manufacturers in the world, and only few of those which are able to manufacture a complete fracturing fleet.
Competition in this area is certainly very tough. The same as in sport, where fractions of seconds and centimeters count, manufacturing companies are trying to leave each other behind using the minimal advantages (for FIDmash this includes first of all meticulous consideration of the customers’ requests and close interconnection with them). Furthermore, most of them use similar units and assemblies designed on the basis of almost identical technologies and fabricated by a limited number of specialized manufacturers.
Three factors are essential to achieve success: first is understanding of the region where the company’s equipment will be used, awareness of the specifics of fields for which the equipment will be custom-designed; geographic, language and even cultural links with those who will use this equipment and, what is even more important, their confidence in the company’s reputation.
The second factor is the present time insight. One shoud understand what technologies will be developed tomorrow and what the industry will need? Today FIDmash successfully competes with “rivals” that have much longer experience in the field. Yet, when specialists only start talking about declining efficiency of hydraulic fracturing operations and the need to use “heavy-duty” systems, FIDmash designers already offer their solutions, and they are the first in the CIS countries to develop equipment with necessary characteristics, capable of extremely high power output and pressure.
But the ability to adjust fast to the rapidly developing market situation is the most important factor. In seven years, NOV FIDmash succeeded in covering a marathon distance with sprinter speed and proved its immense potential. The company’s products demonstrate its achievements, and hydraulic fracturing fleet holds a special place in their ranks.

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