DeltaTek – Saving rig time with advanced downhole technologies

DeltaTek has developed pioneering technologies that allows operators to optimise drilling rig efficiency. With an aim to reduce rig time and solve age old problems in the oil and gas industry, such as safety issues and weather-related downtime, DeltaTek specialises in the well construction sector regardless of water or well depth.

After having spent five years working in various drilling engineer and supervisory positions in the North Sea, Angola and the Gulf of Mexico, Tristam Horn identified a number of recurring issues, driving him to find a solution. In 2015, at age 27 he founded DeltaTek. In nine months, the Aberdeen-based company went from concept to deployment - a timeframe unheard of in the industry and has continued to grow rapidly, and now employs fifteen people based across three global locations. Drawing on inspiration from other sectors within the oil and gas industry, Tristam has developed techniques suitable for both shallow and deep-water well cementing. DeltaTek’s entrance into the drilling market has been accelerated through support from industry bodies, the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and Scottish Enterprise, that have connected the company with key industry contacts and facilitated a number of field trials in the North Sea with oil and gas majors.

Reduce costs and improves certainty 

deltatekDeltaTeks´s technology has been developed specifically to target common issues in the industry. The harsh weather conditions offshore are a significant challenge to operators as they contribute to non-productive time and increased costs. In fact, weather-related downtime costs the UKCS a staggering £400 million each year. At the mercy of the elements, offshore drilling operations can be prolonged with high winds and rougher seas intensifying rig movement which can destabilise equipment. This is a well-known problem in the industry and operators often have no choice but to wait for calmer weather conditions to continue operations.

“DeltaTek´s ArticuLock addresses this issue by extending the weather windows for deploying subsea equipment by counteracting increases in rig movement, allowing operators to save time and money. Behaving much like a camera gimbal, the proprietary system is essentially a ball and socket joint which removes bending stress from the subsea equipment. By removing the bending stresses caused by increases in rig movement it stabilises equipment and enables work to continue in weather conditions which would have previously suspended operations”, Tristam explains. 

Tristam Horn

ArticuLock has been field-proven and underwent rigorous field trials offshore Las Palmas last year. The trials were supported by the OGTC and was a result of the collaborative working group between DeltaTek, the OGTC and Stena Drilling. “ArticuLock was fitted to the drill pipe landing string and can be locked and unlocked either manually or by an ROV as and when required by the weather and stage of operations. The trial demonstrated how bending stress and fatigue could be removed from a rigid system using ArticuLock. Stress tests where adverse weather conditions were simulated were also conducted to further demonstrate how the system would perform in such conditions. The trials demonstrated how ArticuLock could be used to extend the weather window for subsea tool deployment and how it could contribute to improved certainty and safety around subsea tooling operations”, Tristam continues. 

Revolutionary subsea cementing system brings environmental benefits

In addition to saving costs and rig time, DeltaTek has developed technologies that reduce the environmental impact of subsea wells by reducing the amount of cement needed in the building process. SeaCure, DeltaTek’s proprietary technology, is a revolutionary subsea cementing system that delivers stabbed-in, inner string cementing for subsea wells. SeaCure reduces the amount of cement utilised when constructing a well, reducing the impact on the habitat around the wellsite, whilst reducing the supply chain’s carbon cost on the environment by a substantial magnitude. In a recent North Sea subsea well campaign, the combination of SeaCure and QuikCure was shown to save 168 tonnes of carbon emissions”. QuikCure is DeltaTek’s patented procedure of cementing, which is an engineered process of circulating a heated fluid after cement slurry placement to elevate the surrounding cement setting environment. Empirical field results in the subsea well construction industry have shown that QuikCure reduced cement curing/transition time by up to 70%.

DeltaTek needs support to succeed

The three-year oil price recession presented unprecedented challenges for the oil and gas industry and created a challenging environment for operators and service providers alike. Nevertheless, with the support of the OGTC, DeltaTek was able to overcome these barriers with major operators, who not only supported the field trials of these technologies but believed in them. Since then, the SeaCure tool has been adopted by more than 30% of the UKCS. 

Operators are looking for innovative solutions to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve safety but the largest challenge for service providers, including DeltaTek as they continue to develop new technology solutions, is user adoption. As the business moves into new territories and regions, they will rely on operators who are willing to take a chance on new, but proven, innovations and technologies.

The expanding portfolio of the company currently includes the ArticuLock and the Cure product range; SeaCure, QuikCure, CoreCure and ControlCure.

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By Anna Lygre Solvang on 14/01/2020