Industry Article: Achieving Operational Efficiency in Unconventional Stimulations

Systematic approach can help deliver increased operational efficiencies by keeping downtime to a minimum

Achieving operational efficiency in unconventional stimulations
Publication: E&P
Publication Date: 02/01/2015

As fracturing operations have grown to large-scale proportions, wellhead equipment—out of necessity—has been expected to withstand aggressively corrosive and abrasive service beyond original design parameters.

With the majority of costs being incurred on the pump spread, any downtime associated with that large asset directly translates to high expense. A failure in the flow path between the pump manifold and the wellhead can shut down operations until a repair is completed, resulting in disproportionate cost. Frac trees are such an area; failure of a frac valve can have a huge impact on operational efficiency and therefore cost.

There exists a broad philosophy of redundancy that has proven successful in most oil and gas operations; however, when applied to stimulation operations, it has resulted in excessive tree height and manifold complexity. The number of leak paths has increased, as has the mechanical load on connections. New technologies provide the safety of redundancy without the increase in height and may reduce or eliminate working-at-height requirements.

Operational efficiency is achievable through consistent low NPT, which can be realized through use of a systematic approach to design, manufacture, and maintenance of the frac tree. The benefits are lower operating costs, more efficient use of capital, and safer operations.

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Cameron frac trees
Special design features and stringent maintenance enable Cameron frac valves to provide three times more uptime compared with other suppliers, minimizing NPT and related costs.
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