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New stimulation vessel targets high-pressure operations in GOM

Posted on 08 October 2009

 BJ Services is launching a high-performance stimulation vessel for oil and gas wells in the Lower Tertiary and other Gulf of Mexico formations, the company announced at the 2009 SPE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, 4-7 October in New Orleans.

The Blue Dolphin is custom-designed to provide 20,000-psi working pressure via multiple Coflexip reeled flexible umbilical lines. Together with accommodations for up to 45 crew members, the vessel can perform large-volume, high-pressure stimulation operations with minimal downtime for multizone or multiwell operations.

“The advanced capabilities of the Blue Dolphin vessel have made it the flagship of BJ Services’ stimulation fleet,” said Ronney Coleman, vice president for North America pressure pumping services. “It is the first 20,000-psi pressure-rated stimulation vessel specially designed for Lower Tertiary conditions, which include long, multiple pay zones and intense pressure and temperature variations.

“Minimizing downtime during well stimulation in these deep environments and on multiwell locations is possible through the advanced pressure specifications, storage capacities and crew accommodations available with this vessel. We can essentially have multiple crews working around the clock to provide large-volume, high-pressure stimulation services.”

The vessel features a DP-2 system and will receive well stimulation/offshore support vessel class notation, with ABS certification under way. It comes equipped with eight skid-mounted 3,000 brake horsepower Gorilla fracturing units and storage capacity for 2.75 million lb of proppant.

When necessary, it can provide up to 23,000 hydraulic horsepower and 80 bbl/min blending rates to meet high-rate fracturing and stimulation requirements of ultra-deepwater projects. At more than 300 ft in length, the multipurpose vessel includes additional storage for up to 11,800 bbl of fluids or completion brines, 12,600 gal of raw acid and 6,300 gal of solvent. Maximum on-the-fly acid blending capacity is 50 bbl/min.

For job control, the vessel features a touchscreen control room with fully automated ratio controls for the addition of proppant and additives. Stimulation processing tanks are continuously monitored with treatment level sensors featuring indication alarms. Wireless transmission of wellhead parameters permits remote monitoring and reporting of job conditions via satellite and backup systems. Additional control room electronics enable remote critical valve processing actuation, full-flow pressure relief valve actuation, and redundant overpressure shutdown capabilities. The vessel is also equipped with fire and gas detection systems on various levels.

The Blue Dolphin stimulation vessel is expected to become operational by December this year.

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