22/04/2020 - Environment
This innovative environmental friendly coating applied to VAM® connections has the potential to improve operational performance for our clients, reducing costs. We talked to the Vallourec teams behind CLEANWELL® about the latest product generation and the first results in the field with one of our customers, a European leader in the natural gas market.
The initial idea for CLEANWELL® came from a customer several years ago. “We were getting requests for a more environmentally friendly way to screw together pipes”, explains Alastair Brodie, Senior Technical Manager for VAM® Field Service.
And with reason. Fitting together pipes - “running” in industry terminology – creates friction. To reduce this friction, Vallourec and other OCTG suppliers have traditionally applied a thick layer of grease to pipe ends. The issue? This grease contains harmful heavy metals. Over the years, environmental legislation has provided added impetus to find a solution.
Not only that, but the process of applying the grease creates multiple health and safety issues. Lubricating grease previously had to be applied at the customer site. Pipes in storage corrode, so a thick layer of storage grease is typically applied to them before they leave the factory. This storage grease must be washed off at the customer site before the lubricating grease is applied.
“The grease dripping onto the drilling rig floor is a safety hazard. It was clear we needed to find a better solution,” explains Alastair.
CLEANWELL®: safer, more environmentally friendly and efficient
Enter CLEANWELL®, a non-polluting innovating coating applied in the mill to threaded connections. In its latest version, the product combines two coatings – a metal alloy anti-corrosion coating and an additional thermoset layer providing lubricating properties – negating the need to apply lubrication on-site. The new surface treatment offers superior storage endurance and reduces the risk of galling. It will shortly be available also for integral and high torque connections.
Because no grease is washed off or applied at the customer site, there is zero discharge to the environment and no risk of plugging the well bore.Marcelo Costa M&D manager
CLEANWELL® also results in a cleaner, safer operating environment.
“It leaves the drill floor as clean as when we arrived, reducing risk of accident. And in a dangerous offshore environment, fewer people onboard the rig is always positive for health and safety.”
Last but not least, the solution offers major operational advantages. “It requires no specific maintenance during storage for up to three years”, says Marcelo, “and it can withstand all weather conditions.”
On the rig, CLEANWELL® improves running operations, increasing the number of joints run per hour by up to 30%.Alastair Brodie Senior Technical Manager, VAM® Field Service
First installation yields positive results
Since its launch, in limited quantities, CLEANWELL® has undergone a series of improvements. And in 2019, the latest generation of the product has been deployed worldwide. Vallourec installed it for the first time in December, on an onshore platform operated by our client, a European leader in natural gas.
A total of 229 pipes with a diameter of 9.5/8” were manufactured in our Rath mill in Germany. The thread was machined and CLEANWELL® applied in our Aulnoye plant in France and the pipes were delivered to our client. The pipes, with a total string length of over 3km, were installed vertically into the gas well.
Two Vallourec team members attended the running operation, Florian Gaudron from the Vallourec Research Connection Center and VAM® Field Service technician Jolanda Arends.
“The operation went smoothly – using CLEANWELL® gave a really good connection” says Jolanda. “The customer was pleased with how it went, and appreciated us being on site.”
As a field technician, Jolanda sees clear HSE benefits to the product.
CLEANWELL® definitely improves the working environment. It’s better for our hands and face, and we don’t have to worry about drips on the floor. It’s also easy to use and clean.Jolanda Arends Technician, VAM® Field Service
A promising future
Environment-friendly products are in increasing demand in the oil and gas industry, leading Alastair to see a strong potential for CLEANWELL®:
“Customers in the North Sea, especially in Norway, are keen on this type of solution and the market has been pushing us hard. CLEANWELL® has a promising future!”