OTC Tech Awards: Halliburton’s new well-testing tech uses acoustics to relay information

Halliburton’s RezConnect Well Testing System, the industry’s first fully controlled by acoustics, is a bidrectional communication and control system that can send more commands downhole, and more information to the surface, than ever before.  CREDIT: Halliburton.
Halliburton’s RezConnect Well Testing System is a bidrectional communication and control system that can send more commands downhole and more information to the surface. (Halliburton)

This story profiles one of the Offshore Technology Conference’s Spotlight on New Technology Award winners.

In the petroleum industry, the thirst for downhole knowledge is almost as old as the pursuit of what’s down there. Halliburton has been involved in drill stem testing — essentially sampling the make-up and conditions of the well as it is drilled — since the 1920s.

Its latest innovation is the RezConnect Well Testing System, the first in the industry that is fully controlled by acoustics. Acoustic repeaters send information to the surface and commands down the wellbore.

The RezConnect aims to replace tools controlled by hydrostatic pressure, which can add unwanted pressure to an otherwise already highly pressurized environment.

“In the deep wells, there’s a limit to the amount of pressure to be applied on the casing; it limits the ability to activate multiple downhole test tools,” said Henk Kool, from Halliburton’s Testing & Subsea business unit, which oversees RezConnect.

Limiting the amount of downhole tools available limits the amount of information available to operators. “When we don’t get any feedback on the surface, we are operating in the dark,” Kool said.

RezConnect is a network of wireless sensors and actuators, made up of acoustic repeaters placed along the tubing string, forming a bidirectional communication and control system, sending commands from the top down, and information from the bottom up, giving operators more information faster than ever.

“It’s the ability to reduce uncertainty that was there in the past,” Kool said. “It allows operators to make informed decisions fast.”

RezConnect saved five days of rig time on its first commercial deployment, last year in 7,000 feet of water, and Halliburton executed the first North American deployment in April.

“We’re rolling it out in different phases,” Kool said. “We’re looking at opportunities in the Far East and Africa. We’re gaining momentum.”