Best test results for the test rig
The evaluation of the recorded data, the comparative measurement of vibrations at the top drive and the subsequent examination of the entire rig did not show any abnormality or damage, so confirming the advantages of Herrenknecht Vertical’s hydraulic rig concept.
The special design of the top drive’s axial main bearings particularly contributed to this positive result. The bearings are resiliently biased and have a cushioning effect via the drill pipe in the case of impact. This means that impacts can be compensated for, as they may occur for instance in the case of a sudden loss of hook load or when using shear devices (jarring), and the top drive is protected. On conventional drawwork rigs, the top drive needs to undergo an inspection after every use of drilling jars, which is time consuming and costly.
In addition to the dynamic pull test, the indicated hook load of the TI-250 test rig was verified, since Shell had not used the rig to full hook load capacity before. For this test, the drill pipe was anchored in the well without shear devices and the hook load was gradually increased from 150 to 250 metric tons and then maintained. Also in this test, all parameters were within the normal range. The tests carried out confirm that the TI-250 test rig meets the performance parameters indicated for normal operation with no problems, and that it can also easily cope with exceptional impacts such as a sudden loss of hook load.
However, it is not only the hydraulic hoist system, which greatly increases the work safety of Herrenknecht Vertical drilling rigs. Their high degree of automation, using hands-off technologies such as the hydraulic pipe handler, minimizes personnel requirements and considerably reduces the risk of LTIs. Further advantages of Herrenknecht Vertical hydraulic rigs are the low space requirements and noise emissions, as well as high tripping speeds and simple skidding.
In addition to the test described above, Shell’s drilling experts have gained valuable knowledge from operating the Herrenknecht Vertical rig in Rijswijk. Designed in close cooperation between Herrenknecht Vertical and Shell to meet precisely the requirements for this unique setup, the test rig produced results that otherwise may have been impossible or that would have to be generated during costly interruptions of field operations. Beyond the specific R&D setup, the rig is fully capable of all “normal” drilling operations with respect to the hoisting system and top drive installed similar to rigs in the field, except that it is stationary and installed next to the R&D center for testing under constant and repeatable conditions.
The Herrenknecht Vertical rig is one of the quietest on the market. In combination with its high safety standards, it was qualified to be placed directly in the backyard of Shell’s R&D center. This, together with the advantages in terms of the precise control of the drilling process through the hydraulic hoisting and rotary system, made the TI-250 test rig the first choice for this special application.