Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, Texas, United States, North America, Onshore
The SLB automated valve greasing system increased valve maintenance efficiency across 200 stages during fracturing operations without requiring personnel to enter the red zone.
Conventional valve maintenance is often in the critical path and heavily reliant on manual processes for grease injection. Personnel must enter the red zone, more crew members are required, and estimating the optimal amount of grease depends on individual skill—all contributing to higher HSE risk and NPT.
An operator with hydraulic fracturing projects in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale tried to address safety issues by keeping the grease injection equipment outside the hazardous red zone and using longer hoses. However, the grease had to travel farther, which increased the job duration. A more efficient solution was required.
SLB proposed its automated valve greasing system, which comprises a remote-control skid that houses a human-machine interface outside the red zone and a grease-injection unit that is placed in the red zone to minimize the distance traveled by the grease. The optimal volume of grease is determined at the user interface via feedback from instrumentation.
During zipper frac operations involving 200 stages, the automated system optimized grease volume and delivery, reducing greasing time by 25% and grease consumption by 11% (approximately 580 lbm). No greasing operations were performed on the critical path, and even freezing conditions had no impact on the system. A single technician was required to operate the unit, with no need to enter the red zone. The operator saved more than 18 hours during 648 greasing events, with zero NPT.