Glencraft Prodrill
Pragma’s M-Bubble technology set to offer industry-leading downhole expansion capability

Pragma’s M-Bubble technology set to offer industry-leading downhole expansion capability


Pragma is developing a range of downhole expansion products, designed around a novel inflatable metal ‘bubble’, which will offer industry leading expansion ratios.

The product range will address multiple challenges across the lifecycle of the well, using patches, pack-offs, plugs and straddles and in testing to date, the new technology has consistently demonstrated over 300% expansion.

This is only possible through the use of additive manufacturing, which creates metal elements which are intrinsically stronger and more resilient. Pragma’s technology will therefore also be better able to withstand harsh downhole conditions and higher pressures. The company believes this will enable a step forward for the industry.

Gary Smart, CEO of Pragma, explained: “We have been aware for some time of the industry’s need for higher expansion downhole technology, particularly as production challenges for operators increase. Working with industry partners and harnessing advanced manufacturing techniques, our talented team of engineers have delivered a solution which we believe is a significant step change.

“Not only are we now offering a progressive product to the market, but unusually, we will be looking for ways to distribute this technology to a wider customer base via a number of service company and operator partnerships, so that the wider industry can take advantage of its benefits more quickly. Pragma is keenly focused on collaboration to deliver advanced solutions to the market, whilst reducing costs and increasing oil and gas production. This product range is great testament to that ambition.”

As the industry looks to address more demanding production challenges, there have been moves to develop products which are stronger, more able to operate at higher pressure and which have greater expansion ratios. However, the market availability of such products has remained limited.

Pragma is one of the first companies to use metal additive manufacturing for oilfield products and it lies at the heart of many of their designs, allowing them to reduce costs, fast-track prototyping, improve repeatability in manufacturing and enable solutions that were not previously possible.

In addition to the product strength and cost advantages, the unique design of the M-Bubble and its high expansion capability means that very narrow well restrictions can be overcome. The technology allows products to be deployed downhole as compact devices, using either wireline, coiled tubing or drill pipe, travelling through narrow tubing, valves and other restrictions, to reach their target location where they are then activated to expand and set into position. This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications, in both onshore, offshore and subsea wells, from drilling and completion, production optimisation and through to abandonment.

The pack-offs, patches and straddles can be used for isolating reservoir zones to prevent water, gas or sand ingress in the lower completion. The pack-off range can also be used for zonal treating operations such as scale squeezes, perforation washes or flow testing. The plug range has been developed for water/gas shut off or temporary and permanent abandonment applications. They can also be used to support the cement plug or cement retainer installation.

Published: 30-01-2019
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