Coiled tubing (CT) has evolved from a specialized tool with limited application to one that is now used widely throughout the upstream industry. Most recently, the role of CT has been expanded by operators who deploy it as a reliable method for drilling and stimulating the long horizontal wells required to optimize unconventional resources.
As industry use of these versatile systems grows, so does the need to monitor tubing condition to ensure successful operation. Composed of low-carbon alloy steel, CT is subjected to wear and fatigue from tension, compression, and bending forces as it is wound on and off the CT reel.
The CT industry has instituted pipe management practices for treatment and handling of coiled tubing. Most management systems track tubing bending cycles and other parameters to estimate CT fatigue progression or rely on periodic pipe inspections to assess external issues.
An article in the Oilfield Review, “Monitoring and Managing Coiled Tubing Integrity,” reviews a CT inspection system that operates at the wellsite in real time. The CoilScan RT real-time inspection system uses a series of sensors that allows the operator to monitor the condition of the tubing as it is spooled in and out of the well. By establishing the location and extent of external anomalies, inspection crews are able to identify issues in the pipe and monitor how they evolve over the working life of the pipe.