The Importance of Correct Running and Handling Procedures for Premium Tubular Goods
- D.E. Walstad (NL Atlas Bradford) | D.W. Crawford (NL Atlas Bradford)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling Engineering
- Publication Date
- December 1988
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 363 - 368
- 1988. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 1.14.1 Casing Design, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 3 Production and Well Operations
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Summary. The demand and requirements for tubular goods to handle deeper wells with more hostile environments have resulted in increased popularity and widespread use of proprietary sour-service steel grades and corrosion-resistant alloys (CRA's) with premium connections. Because of the great potential economic disasters that could result if damaged tubulars are run in hostile environments, obtaining maximum performance from the tubulars is imperative. Improper handling and running damage can cause (1) unnecessary and excessive damage to the threaded areas, requiring field repair or rethreading; (2) failure of the tube--i.e., collapse, burst, small leaks, or fatigue; (3) leaks or connection parting (failure); and (4) catastrophic failure--such as blowouts, loss of well, loss of equipment, or loss of life.
For adequate tubing and casing performance, equal emphasis should be focused on running and handling procedures, tubing, casing design, and materials selection.
This paper discusses all phases of running and handling for premium tubular goods and presents supportive field data from three geographic areas.
To prevent tubulars from sustaining potentially harmful damage, care must be exercised in handling and running the material at all locations--from the point of manufacture through running at the rig site. The information presented is not intended to replace previous work, but to supplement API RP 5C1 and major premium-thread manufacturers' published running procedures.
Each phase of handling and running pipe should be planned in advance and run slowly and deliberately. Slow, carefully planned, steady running of CRA material strings is completed as quickly as rushed jobs. Hurried casing or tubing runs waste time because tasks that are not necessary when correct procedures are followed must be performed-e.g., (1) laying down joints damaged while running, (2) recleaning connections for reinspection, and (3) field repairing minor mishandling nicks and dings.
Following proper running and handling procedures also lowers expenses for the operators. According to the data in Table 1, a sigificant amount of damaged premium tubulars continue to arrivat the rig site. CRA materials with premium connections are expensive ($50 to $1,000/ft [$164 to $3281/m]). Mishandling can cost operators added expenses for (1) rethreading, (2) scrapping damaged joints, (3) storing damaged materials, (4) reinspecting, and (5) trucking associated with rethreading and inspection.
Combinations of premium connections and CRA materials are capable of repeated trips when necessary, if handled and run correctly.
This paper provides an outline of handling and running procedures for premium tubing and casing and discusses common problems, the importance of these procedures, and the importance of all phases of materials handling--i.e., transportation, handling, storage, and running and pulling tubing and casing at the wellsite.
When plain-end tubulars are transported from the mills to endfinishing manufacturers by rail, bolsters should be used on the bottom row of the rail car to facilitate handling and even load distribution. Also, the pipe should be well braced and secured to avoid shifting during movement.
CRA materials or threaded materials should be stripped and blocked or placed on a rack system-especially if the tubulars are to be shipped to remote locations. Bolster and rack systems are available from several manufacturers or can be fabricated with wood. Specifications should be developed and established in writing to the mill to avoid confusion. Special arrangements for rack systems or crating need to be made as early as possible to allow time for fabrication.
When transporting by truck, all tubing and casing should be stripped when loaded and spaced so that the ends cannot whip together when large jolts are encountered. A minimum of three or four rows of 3 x 3-in. [7.6 x 7.6-cm] wood stripping placed perpendicular to the pipe direction is best. Stripping boards should be placed 2 to 3 ft [0.6 to 0.9 m] from both ends and spaced evenly in the middle of each joint. Stripping also will facilitate off-loading with a fork lift. All joints should be loaded with pins or boxes facing the same direction.
Before loading, ensure that all thread protectors are snug. Nylon straps, rather than chains, are preferred to tie down the load. Ask the driver to check the material after a short time on the road and to adjust the straps to compensate for vibration and settling. Also, identify and mark full-length crossovers at the time of loading.
Forklifts need to be used whenever possible for both loading and unloading tubing or casing at all locations. The use of padded forks is a good idea when handling CRA materials. Always use nylon straps with a spreader bar when using cranes. Do not use hooks placed in the ends of the connection. Move CRA materials one or two joints at a time if they are not crated or in a rack system.
If a forklift is not available, build ramps from the pipe rack to the truck or to the laydown/pick-up machine, and walk down joints guided with ropes one at a time. Extra manpower may be required. Tie ropes to the bottom of the pipe rack and keep personnel on the opposite side (uphill) of the moving pipe to avoid injury. Never drop sour-service or CRA materials. It may be advisable to install two rubber bumpers or doughnuts on each joint on sour-service or CRA materials. One placed on each end will prevent joints from contacting each other as they are rolled or moved. Doughnuts need to be 1 to 1 1/2 in. [2.5 to 3.8 cm] larger than the diameter of the tubes (Fig. 1).
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